A “slab of concrete” is indefinitely delaying slabs of ribs in West Oakland, as Horn Barbecue’s smoker for their brick-and-mortar restaurant has voided their permit application.
It’s great to see food truck and pop-up chefs get recognized as the Bay Area’s up-and-coming cuisiniers, and even greater to see them graduate to the brick-and-mortar permanent restaurants they so richly deserve. Such appeared to tastily be the case when the Chronicle's 2019 Rising Chefs list acknowledged Matt Horn of Horn Barbecue, which dovetailed nicely into the fact that the pop-up BBQ pitmaster was going to be opening a permanent spot in West Oakland’s former Brown Sugar space (which itself has moved to Uptown). Eater SF reported the opening would be delayed until April, but hey, no biggie. Such delayed openings are not unusual.
But now Eater SF reports that things have taken a turn for the worse at the 2534 Mandela Parkway location. The city of Oakland has denied the permit Horn needs for his genuine barbecue meat smoker, as the area on which it would sit is partially owned by the city.
Eater obtained an email from the Oakland’s Department of Transportation telling Horn, “I regret to inform you that after much discussion between Department of Transportation and Planning and Building Department, we cannot support consumption of the Public Right of Way for ground-level expansion of a private restaurant. The permit application will be voided.”
Horn tells Eater that the area is merely a “slab of concrete” in an “area where trash has been dumped; it’s an area where there’s graffiti. It’s not a natural area for people to walk.” Horn adds that he’s been paying rent on the space for months, plus paying fines whenever the place gets tagged, and making substantial efforts to beautify the neglected concrete slab in question.
The pit boss has his options, none of them appealing. He could smoke his meats offsite, or he could just eat his losses and find another location. But he refuses to sacrifice preparing his BBQ in a smoker. This puts the opening of a permanent Horn’s Barbecue indefinitely on hold, though Eater also tells us his fried chicken sandwich spot Kowbird will likely open at Jack London Square in August or September.
Image: David K. via Yelp