By Christopher Roberson
After years of renting space in commissary kitchens, former Lynnfield residents Christopher LaBella and Jonathan Hambrecht will open their first Big Pig Barbecue location at 108 Newbury St. in the spring of 2019.
LaBella said he began his career in the catering business at Dom’s Sausage in Malden when he was 15 years old.
“I love the intensity of it, it’s a massive amount of pressure,” he said of the industry. “There’s never a dull moment, you get thrown right into the fire.”
LaBella said he met Hambrecht when they were roommates at the University of Vermont. LaBella also said he built a two-ton barbecue smoker his senior year and towed it 210 miles back to Massachusetts following graduation.
“We love what we do,” said LaBella. “That passion shows through in the work that we do.”
Now a resident of Saugus, LaBella said he and Hambrecht, who lives in Nahant, have maintained local business relationships with Dom’s Sausage as well as Connors Farm in Danvers and Calareso’s Farm Stand in Reading.
He said some of Big Pig’s more popular items include marinated steak tips, the smoked beef brisket, macaroni and cheese, corn bread and baked beans. However, LaBella said there is nothing on his menu that beats the whole pig.
“People remember going to a pig roast,” he said.
Regarding the location on Route 1 South, LaBella said Peabody has already proven to be “very business-friendly.”
“It’s a nice community, they’re willing to help us out,” he said. “We’re here for the long haul.”
LaBella also said that he and Hambrecht have been considering the idea of adding a small counter-style restaurant with outdoor seating.
“It’s been a fun project,” said LaBella, adding that the building’s interior and exterior have been completely renovated.