Local couple Paul Montgomery and Christina Goehrig opened their restaurant Pig Candy BBQ on March 26, but the idea has been marinating for a little over five years.
Montgomery and Goehrig bought the Kellogg Avenue building in which the restaurant sits — near Dead Low Brewing and the Lunken Airport bike path — five years ago. Built in 1913, it served as the local California, Ohio jail for many decades. Montgomery says that the 9-foot ceilings in the basement, where the police horses were kept, have enabled them to put in a commercial kitchen.
Montgomery and Goehrig have restored the structure by uncovering the floors, exposing the original brick and putting the metal black-framed windows back in.
Pig Candy specializes in smoked, barbecued meats with pulled pork, smoked and sliced turkey and grilled bone-in chicken thighs on the menu. Certain dishes have a Mexican-influence, like the pulled pork posole, barbecue quesadilla and grilled salsa; Montgomery says that each of these are his brother-in-law’s father’s recipes.
The name “Pig Candy” comes from their specialty: a fluffy gluten-free waffle pressed with pulled pork and topped with peach maple glaze.
Unlike some other barbecue joints, though, Pig Candy offers alternatives for those with dietary restrictions, including housemade vegan goetta and gluten-free waffles.
“I think people are getting a little more health-conscious these days,” Montgomery says. “I didn’t know how popular the healthier items and gluten-free selection would be, (but) they’re wildly popular. People are loving them.”
Montgomery, now in his 40s, got his first restaurant job at 14. He worked as a restaurant manager for decades, and the experience inspired him to start his own restaurant.
“I wanted to (open) the type of restaurant that I’d want to eat at,” he says. “I’ve played around smoking meats in the backyard for years, (but) this is obviously a whole different scale.”
Chef Luke Trinosky, an Indianapolis native, help the couple craft Pig Candy's menu.
“He’s amazing,” Montgomery says. “The most passionate food guy I’ve ever met.”
Pig Candy also offers brunch from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Smoked salmon, pulled beef hash and berry pancakes with maple bourbon whipped cream are some of the options. Daily specials include spare ribs on Mondays, barbecue corn tacos on Tuesdays, brisket on Wednesdays and smash burgers on Thursdays.
“We (created) a place where folks feel good walking in and even better walking out,” Montgomery says.
Pig Candy has indoor and outdoor dining, a full kitchen and a grab-and-go space.
Pig Candy BBQ is located at 5901 Kellogg Ave., California. For more info, visit pigcandybbq.com.