Big Boiler to Close, Reopen as Hop Hog

A popular Lowell restaurant will be closing temporarily as it prepares to relaunch with a new name and menu.

Sunday, June 23, is expected to be the final day for Big Boiler Brewing, according to co-owner Brent Slagell. The restaurant and brewery has been a mainstay of Lowell since opening in 2017.

While the Big Boiler name and menu are being retired, Slagell promises something just as good – some may say better – will be opening in its place.

Hop Hog Coming to Lowell

When the restaurant at 318 E. Main Street reopens – on a date tentatively scheduled for July 8 — it will be as Hop Hog. That won’t be the first eatery in the area with that name either.

Slagell and his business partners previously purchased Castle Brewing in Greenville in 2020 and rebranded it as Hop Hog. “Since we’ve opened Hop Hog, the concept has really taken off,” Slagell says.

Now, his team is bringing that same winning concept to Lowell with a menu that includes sandwiches, burgers, BBQ and a long list of “gluten-friendly” appetizers, entrees and sides. The only thing that won’t be coming to Lowell initially is the wood-fired pizzas and breadsticks since the Lowell building doesn’t have the proper oven to cook those.

The change to Hop Hog offers some business benefits to Slagell and his team as well. They will no longer need to print separate menus, marketing materials and gift cards for each restaurant.

“We get some economies of scale,” Slagell says. And speaking of gift cards, Slagell says Big Boiler gift cards will be honored at Hop Hog.

The menu changes and emphasis on gluten-friendly foods mean some Big Boiler favorites are going on hiatus. Those include cheese curds and wings. Both contain gluten, and the restaurant management doesn’t want to risk any cross contamination in fryers. However, once staff is trained and some good systems are in place, those menu items might return, Slagell says.

Same Feel, Faster Service

The rebrand of Big Boiler means new signs, a new menu and a Southern Pride smoker out back. However, the building footprint will remain the same and the big boiler on the wall isn’t going anywhere.

“The restaurant will feel very much the same,” Slagell says, adding that he would have liked to do more updates. However, that isn’t possible given the quick turnaround planned before reopening as Hop Hog.

One difference that customers will likely notice, though, is faster service. BBQ meats are cooked in advance, and Slagell says many items on the menu are “scoop and serve.” That means customers won’t have to wait for items to be custom cooked and reduces the possibility of backlogs in the kitchen.

If the Lowell restaurant proves successful, Slagell says there is a possibility that Hop Hog could be expanded to other locations in the area.

For more updates and news about the change, watch the restaurant’s Facebook page.

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