Former Zeke’s space transforms as new BBQ joint prepares to open

Published 1:56 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2022

DOWAGIAC — An iconic downtown building has gotten a facelift – inside and out – ahead of the opening of a new restaurant. 

After taking over the former Zeke’s Restaurant space last year, OAK + ASH BBQ is inching closer to opening as they continued renovations this week. The new restaurant has updated its façade by taking down the Zeke’s awnings, adding a fresh coat of paint and installing its official OAK + ASH signs on the front and back of the building.  

Additionally, they installed a smoker in the outdoor space behind the restaurant Tuesday, and continue to update the kitchen and restaurant interior. 

Owned by Haunt of Hounds, LLC – which consists of Tim Tinker, Jordan Mullins, Austin Cabello and chef Alain Helfrich – the restaurant intends to focus on Texas-style BBQ, featuring smoked meats, tacos, sides, sandwiches and a full bar.  

Ownership paid homage to the Zeke’s façade by keeping the building a similar color, as well as basing their signage on the original Zeke’s sign. According to Mullins, Tinker hand-painted the OAK + ASH signs that were hung Tuesday. 

“It’s very neat to see our name go up on the building,” Mullins said. “Tim did a phenomenal job. It means that we are getting really close to opening. We’re excited for the city and community of Dowagiac.” 

According to Mullins, the interior décor is still not installed, and the tables are not in their final position, but the restaurant is nearing an opening date announcement. 

The restaurant is currently hiring staff. Applications can be picked up Monday through Friday from 10am-2pm at the restaurant, located at 109 S. Front St., Dowagiac.