Abandoned and vandalized vehicles have become a common site along Mandela Parkway (Photo: @HornBarbecue Instagram).

Horn Barbecue opting not to reopen Mandela Parkway location following devastating Fire

1 min read

Chef Matt Horn announced that he has opted to not reopen Horn Barbecue following a devastating fire last November.

“After deep reflection and prayer with my family, we have made the difficult decision not to reopen Horn Barbecue at the Mandela Parkway location,” Horn shared in an Instagram post calling the business climate along Mandela “untenable.”

“This decision, though made with a heavy heart, stems from a multitude of challenges that extend beyond the initial devastation of the fire,” Horn explained.

Horn detailed the multitude of challenges he’s faced at the location since the fire. According to Horn, the building has been the subject of break-ins and squatting as well as stripping of the building’s interior piping and electrical systems. The site has also experienced persistent vandalism and theft including having the engine of their delivery van removed.


These many challenges were mirrored by the previous tenant Brown Sugar Kitchen who fled the location in 2018.

Horn Barbecue began as a humble pop-up operating from local farmers’ markets. After opening their “Brick and Mortar” location in 2020, the restaurant was frequently the site of long lines that extended for blocks and received national media attention despite the challenges created by the pandemic.

The restaurant was a beacon of activity along Mandela Parkway that has suffered from its share of abandoned cars, RV fires, bike chop shops and tagging. The area has struggled to contain the blight that seems to have escalated since the pandemic despite efforts to contain the many encampments along the corridor including the vast Wood Street encampment.

West Oakland’s District 3 that includes Mandela Parkway is represented by councilmember Carroll Fife. Fife is being challenged this year by more “moderate” candidate and Urban Planner Warren Logan.

Horn indicated that he was not giving up on the business and would pursue reopening in another location. “These challenges have galvanized our determination to find a new beginning, to continue serving and supporting the Oakland community that has stood by us. Our commitment to providing a space where love, service, and community thrive remains as strong as ever.”

Horn also operates Kowbird just a half mile down Mandela as well as Matty’s Old-Fashioned in Old Oakland.

The East Bay Times detailed some debts and additional legal issues that Horn is experiencing that my be impacting his decision to not reopen.

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for the update. Very well written post by Matt Horn. Wishing the best for his other establishments, as I am big fan of them both, and hoping he can reopen Horn bbq at another location. Appreciate you listing the other factors that may have also contributed to the closure and vandalism.

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