We were very sad to hear that our favorite local BBQ joint Hog Heaven will be closing forever on November 27, 2019.
Spirit of Nashville was created to celebrate the history and charm of Music City... to showcase and honor the iconic people and establishments that make Nashville unique. One of our first posters in the original Spirit of Nashville collection featured Hog Heaven—a tiny little BBQ shack 2 blocks from Anderson Design Group. We started our company in 1993 and moved to our current neighborhood shortly after that. From the beginning, we were drawn to the aroma of hickory smoked ribs and the cozy, informal atmosphere of a BBQ joint that opened to Centennial Park. Below is a photo circa 2004 of ADG founder Joel Anderson and his team living high on the hog in Centennial Park.
After numerous delightful meals, Joel struck up a friendship with Hog Heaven proprietors Katy and Andy Garner. That friendship evolved into an unconventional business relationship when Andy & Katy decided to start bottling their famous sauces. Joel and his talented team of artists went to work at creating a new logo, signs, BBQ sauce labels, and more. The design fee was about $2,000 more than the Garners had on hand, so Joel agreed to trade out a gift card for the balance. ADG happily ate off of that card for almost 2 years! (Yes, we work for food!)
Food Network took an interest in doing a story, so we worked fast to give the shack a make-over. Below is a photo of the original alley-side wall which was repainted with a slightly more professional look.
In honor of a truly unique and iconic Nashville establishment, we found it only fitting to do an interview with Katy and Andy one last time...
Q: When did you get tangled up with Hog Heaven?
A: We bought Hog Heaven on October 31st 1989. We were the 4th owner in 3 years. We worked for other people in the restaurant industry and wanted to work for ourselves. Once we took over, we loved how much people raved about our BBQ and the white bbq sauce. It felt good to please so many people. We also loved the challenge of growing the business. We started catering for large clients like Vanderbilt, HCA, so many different businesses and of course family events like weddings and reunions. We think the main thing that kept us going all these years was that people loved our food and that made us happy. We were very proud to say we were the owners of Hog Heaven.
Q: Anderson Design Group has a special connection with y'all. We LOVED doing your branding and packaging and poster art—truly one of our favorite projects of all time. How was it for you guys on the receiving end?
A: Anderson Design Group was very flexible and sensitive to what we wanted in our design. They created the logo and branding for us to look more professional without steering away from our casual feel. We love our fight club characters so much as well. They are very original and we believe the art work is one of the reasons they were picked by Williams Sonoma to be featured in their regional sauce promotions. We loved working with Anderson Design as well and recommend it highly to anyone who asks.
Q: What has been your favorite thing about owning and running Hog Heaven? What will you be glad to leave behind on November 27 after the Hog flies to heaven?
A: One thing we loved about owning Hog Heaven is hearing all the great comments about our BBQ. We also love that through the years, we have been able to meet so many great people and be on many shows like Steve Harvey and Food Network. We also have employed many people over the past 30 years. They have gone on to become business owners and prominent people in the Nashville community and friends.
Some of the things we will be glad to leave behind is the day-to-day running of a restaurant, equipment repairs, hiring/firing, and everything it takes to keep a restaurant running.
Q: Will people still be able to enjoy your amazing sauces? Where will they be available?
Q: Is there anything you'd like to say to all the Hog Heaven fans out there?
A: We are so grateful for everyone who supported our business and recommended us to friends and family. We are true believers that word of mouth advertising is the best kind of advertising. We will miss our regular customers who came once or twice a week. We will miss being a part of people’s special occasions. We know that good food is a big part of celebrations and we were honored to be included.
Thank you Nashville for being a huge part of our lives!
Joel Anderson poses with Andy and Katy Garner in front of the iconic Rib Shack.