Devoted followers of local pitmaster Matt Horn can soon find his popular brisket in a new, permanent home: The former Brown Sugar Kitchen space in West Oakland, from which chef Tanya Holland relocated her decade-old restaurant last year. It’s not far from the General Repair location on Center Street at which Horn began gathering steam (and generating hours-long waits) for his California oak smoked brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and hot links. The full-time Horn Barbecue should open in late fall, says Horn, starting with lunch offerings.
“It’s a dream come true for us to make this leap,” says Horn. “We understand the task before us and don’t take for granted the opportunity [not just] to be an amazing restaurant, but to be able to service our community.”
At the new, full-time location, chef Horn will keep his focus on what he calls “central Texas inspired barbecue with a heavy southern influence.” Rubs and sauces will be made from scratch, smoked brisket will remain a centerpiece, and beef ribs will return as specials. Banana pudding from Horn’s wife and business partner, Nina, will be there, too, as well as a slew of new sides and desserts.
Over three years of countless pop-up appearances in Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and beyond, Horn has steadily built toward a permanent, brick-and-mortar location. Aside from his regular General Repair pop-up spot, this year he’s been trucking his 500-gallon offset custom smoker, named Lucille, to regular appearances at SF food truck gathering Off the Grid in Fort Mason.
That tenacity has Horn’s peers singing his praises. “Matt is barbecue,” fellow pitmaster Burt Bakman of LA’s Trudy’s Underground Barbecue told Eater SF last year. “He loves what he does, he does it well, and has the best smile in a world of smoke.”
In the East Bay, Horn Barbecue joins a scene that includes favorites like Everett & Jones, Phat Matt’s BBQ, and Smokin’ Woods at 2nd Half Sports, plus longtime players like KC’s BBQ. Elsewhere, San Francisco’s 4505 Burgers & Barbecue has joined the fray, opening a large new location on MacArthur Boulevard.