Foodies in the Bay Area are counting down the days until a much-talked-about barbecue joint opens in Oakland.
After one year of jumping through hoops, Horn Barbecue is set to open next week.
Pitmaster and owner Matt Horn was supposed to open his first brick-and-mortar restaurant last October at a West Oakland space that used to be Brown Sugar Kitchen. But then came the red tape. Horn said Alameda County required the restaurant to install an indoor smoker.
"This sort of cooking is done outside," Horn said. "This is a wood-burning pit. It's supposed to be outside."
Horn complied. He then had to get it certified, which required flying out an inspector from Texas.
"We’re in maybe over a few hundred thousand dollars in this whole project," Horn said.
Then the pandemic hit. In a sick twist, Horn said the outdoor smokers he wanted to use all along were given the green light.
"If it wasn’t for the people in the community, I don’t think we’d be here," Horn said.
The Alameda County Public Health Department did not immediately respond to NBC Bay Area's request for comment.
Meanwhile, Horn said his restaurant is just one inspection away from opening its doors next weekend.
"We are now here one year later, finally to the finish line, and seeing that light at the end of the tunnel," he said.