It’s been almost 5 months since a popular Battle Creek restaurant caught fire, and Hogzilla BBQ Smokehouse has been closed since then.  When will it re-open?  A lot of impassioned fans are asking that question, but the news hasn’t been encouraging.

If you drive by 889 West Columbia Avenue, the place looks kind of normal from a distance.  The Hogzilla Truck is parked right where it always is.   But there’s also the ominous site of that big Caterpiller crane parked there, signaling that there might not be a rehab project in the works.

Hogzilla BBQ Smokehouse and Crane-TSM Photo by Tim Collins
Hogzilla BBQ Smokehouse and Crane-TSM Photo by Tim Collins

Fans were wondering about that, prompting a short and not-very-encouraging message from Hogzilla owner Sonny Singh.  “It’s a long process, the cost of a rebuild is way higher than expected because of lumber prices. That’s all I can update without going into details.”

We don’t have much more to go on, but Hogzilla fans see the problem.  Lumber prices are about 230% higher than they were a year and a half ago.  If you had a place insured for, say $100,000, you’d need $230,000 today to get the job done.  Prices have stabilized a little, but not much, and industry experts are saying they’ll still probably settle at a much higher cost than before.

GoFundMe Page to Help

Kerry Johnson started a GoFundMe page for Hogzilla owner Sonny Singh, shortly after the fire in January.  The goal was and still is 10,000.   To date, the page has raised $4,048.   Johnson told WBCK, “Sonny and I have been friends for a long time.  He’s didn’t even know I was starting the page.  When I let him know about it, he said he was going to give most of it to the employees and was hoping insurance would take care of the rest.”

The page states:  “Fundraising for Sonny's Hogzilla to provide support for the Hogzilla Crew. Per Sonny's request, all funds go to the Hogzilla crew employees.  Have been a friend of Sonny's for many years. Sonny has helped many veterans, truck driver’s fundraisers, and many others in the Battle Creek community.”

A History of Food at that Location

The location at 889 West Columbia has a history of serving tasty treats.   It was once the site of Rudy’s Drive-in, Moss’s A&W, TCBY, Garpike’s, Nisker’s Char-Broiled Foods, Kirkham’s Pizza and Grinders, Armando’s Pizza and Grinders, Sonny’s Pit Stop, Singh’s BBQ, and Hogzilla.   Back in the 1980s, it was even Battle Creek Ford’s Discount Outlet.  In the 70’s it was a VFW Club.

Hogzilla BBQ Smokehouse-TSM Photo by Tim Collins
Hogzilla BBQ Smokehouse-TSM Photo by Tim Collins
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