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Barbecue pit opening in Barcelona

May 19, 2016
By Jill Santi - Westfield Barcelona Community Chamber of Commerce Coordinator , Westfield Republican

You may know him from the many Food Network and FOX TV shows - including "Hell's Kitchen" with Chef Gordon Ramsay, "Beat Bobby Flay" and "Chopped" to name a few - now you will meet celebrity Chef Robert Hesse here in Westfield any day of the week starting May 25, as he settles into his new venue, "When Pigs Fly BBQ Pit," on the shores of Lake Erie at 8254 First St., Westfield-Barcelona.

After Chef Hesse took one look at the beautiful beachfront location, he made the decision to leave his then current position as the highest paid chef in Erie, Pa., and come to Westfield, bringing his big ideals with influences from working under Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay, while keeping the small-town sensibility intact.

Chef Hesse said, "Westfield is already on the map; I'm just going to enhance it."

Article Photos

Submitted Photo
Celebrity chef Robert Hesse is opening a new venue, “When Pigs Fly BBQ Pit,” on the shores of Lake Erie at 8254 First St., Westfield-Barcelona. A celebration for the fledgling restaurant will be held May 25 from 4 to 8 p.m. Pictured is a smoker made for the venue named “Large Marge.”

The current establishment is undergoing a fast-paced, major aesthetic renovation, getting ready to serve every walk of life with Texas-style dry-rub BBQ cooked on a smoker made for the venue and named "Large Marge."

His goal is to bring people together in the most unique atmosphere - the decor of natural wood, simple clean black and white backdrops with tastefully hand-painted animals on the walls and tables, completed with a hot pink accent, make a rustic appearance with chic on the side.

Set to open May 25 with a celebration from 4 to 8 p.m., Chef Hesse will offer free food, a live band, pig roast and a raffle giveaway, including: a weekend stay at KOA Kampground, dinner package (with many extras) and a smoker grill, and remaining open after 8 p.m. with a cash bar, indoors and out.

Then, on May 26, they will be live and ready to serve at 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, hosted by the Westfield Barcelona Community Chamber of Commerce, at 6 p.m., time dependent on traffic flow.

Chef Hesse said with a smile, "The novelty will bring you in, the food will bring you back. If you look at Westfield as the dry rub meat, I am the sauce."

As he shared his success story - letting it be known he started with nothing, including no family, growing up in the foster system, then leaving at 16 years old to be on his own, only finding more trouble than he wanted to remember but shared anyway - his humble nature never dissipated.

Despite his professional chef stature and successful track record on various food network shows, having the distinction of being a celebrity chef to Mick Jagger, Bon Jovi and Michael Jordan, to list a few, and then undergoing a major self-transformation by losing over 400 pounds, Chef Hesse, now a single father to his four-year-old son Ayden, understands the need for families to have a place to go out to eat while having the ability to enjoy great food.

He added, "Now families will have that with an unbeatable location and affordable prices. When Pigs Fly BBQ is for everyone, this will be good for the community as we will have the sense of southern hospitality and comfort, while bringing value, employment and tourists into Westfield."

Future plans are already in the making for nationally televised cooking shows and competitions, and Chef Robert Hesse is looking forward to taking part in local events and has expressed he is ready to help promote what is already here.

When Pigs Fly will be open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day and year-round.

To take the opportunity to work alongside success, call 814-323-4957 to inquire on job opportunities.



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