Big Hoffa’s Big Changes
Popular Westfield Barbecue Restaurant Is Expanding Its Dining Space, Menu & More
Photographer / Ellie Sophia Photography
Adam Hoffman’s decision to expand the dining space, menu and drink selection of Big Hoffa’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, his Westfield-based eatery, is the result of 13 years of steady growth and city-wide customer dedication to his concept.
Hoffman’s culinary journey began back in 2003, when he decided to relocate from his native Los Angeles to set out on a career path that aligned with one of his personal passions — food.
“I was tired of L.A. and the hustle and bustle,” he says. “I was making good money at my job but I wasn’t really going anywhere. I decided to move to Indiana and I’m glad I did.”
Back in California, Hoffman had become known amongst friends and family for making tasty ribs and barbecue sauce, and, upon moving to the Hoosier state, he began operating a food truck in Anderson. He soon ran into zoning issues with the city, which, unbeknownst to him, prohibited food trucks.
“It’s funny that I almost opened the restaurant here in Westfield out of necessity because I was kicked out of Anderson since they didn’t allow food trucks back then and then moved to Noblesville where I worked at a custard stand for three years and had zoning issues there too,” Hoffman says with a laugh. “So, by 2007, I realized I needed a place to stay put.”
That year, Hoffman wandered into Main Street Shoppes, a Westfield antiques and collectibles spot that closed in late January, and eventually asked the property owner about taking over a former coffee shop space in the building to operate his own restaurant. Since then, Big Hoffa’s (Hoffman’s nickname among friends) has been offering an extensive and ever-evolving food and drink menu for all ages.
In addition to classic barbecue fare — namely ribs, brisket and pulled pork — Big Hoffa’s offers specialty dishes like the Davey Jones (mac and cheese topped with pulled chicken and ranch dressing) and the Barbecue Sundae (brown sugar baked beans topped with choice of meat and barbecue sauce), as well as sides like potato salad, seasoned fries, slaw and more. There are also family-sized meals on offer, and a “Little Hoffa” menu for youngsters that includes mini sandwiches, mac and cheese, ribs and applesauce.
“We have a lot of specialty items on our menu with different ingredients like pickled veggies and Vietnamese-based sandwiches,” Hoffman says, adding that everything on his menu including dressings and sauces is made from scratch. “Since early on we’ve made some pretty bold moves like that, and we weren’t sure when we opened that the area was ready for it, but once we opened we were glad to find that it was.”
Last year Hoffman purchased the entire two-level, 16,000-square-foot building on Main Street where Big Hoffa’s is located, and he’s currently in the process of expanding both his dine-in and kitchen spaces.
“We started with about 1,200 square feet, and increased to 1,500 and then 2,000 a few years later, and now we’re at 3,000,” Hoffman says. “It was pretty much a decision whether to buy the building we’re in or find another spot, so we bought it. We’ve grown so much with our customers and our following that it was the right time to go for it.”
Since the purchase, Big Hoffa’s has been under construction for the past year, and the restaurant itself will occupy 7,000 of the 8,000 square feet on the building’s lower level. Hoffman is constructing a scratch kitchen where menu items will be produced fresh on a daily basis, and he’s tripling both his refrigeration capacity and storage space.
“Everything’s being upgraded tremendously, and it’s good timing because we’ve grown so much over the years and our catering side with weddings and those kinds of things is extremely busy,” says Hoffman, who plans to complete the expansion by the end of 2019. “We needed a bigger production kitchen. We’re going to create new menu items and add to our local craft drink menu.”
Hoffman says it’s his genuine love of the food industry and willingness to adapt his menu to remain both unique and classically barbecue-centric, that have kept his Central Indiana customers coming back.
“People get into the restaurant business for many reasons, whether it’s to make a lot of money or for the glamour of it, but I did it because I enjoy making people happy and bringing them together through creating food,” he says. “I think that attitude has, more than anything, contributed to our success.”
Big Hoffa’s is located at 800 East Main Street in Westfield. For more information, including hours of operation, catering details and a full menu, visit bbqindianapolis.com or call 317-867-0077.