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Much-Acclaimed Oakland BBQ Restaurant Subject of Myriad Workplace Complaints

Plus, the Fatted Calf set to close (then reopen) and more food news

Overhead view of a tray of barbecue — brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and tubs of mac and cheese and cole slaw — on a paper-lined sheet tray Patricia Chang
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Oakland pitmaster Matt Horn is under scrutiny following allegations concerning work conditions at his original restaurant Horn Barbecue. At least 10 current or former workers at the restaurant told SFGATE about ongoing payment issues, sourcing woes, and on-the-job hazards. Workers, who retained anonymity or told the outlet they were subject to NDAs, say Horn’s restaurant closed without warning twice this year, and paychecks sometimes came weeks late or bounce. Horn told SFGATE this happened only a handful of times, and workers confirmed Horn squared up with them eventually.

Regarding sourcing, Bay Area butcher Golden Gate Meat Company sued Horn for $87,877.90 in August 2022, claiming Horn refused to pay debts to the company for overdue meat payments. Horn told SFGATE the lawsuit came without prior notice, but Golden Gate Meat Company co-owner Jonni Graves said Horn had a heads-up two months in advance. The on-site safety concerns came from overnight workers, often manning the smoker alone. A number of incidents allegedly involved strangers approaching and harassing workers; in July, Horn bought the staff bear mace. According to SFGATE, though, workers desire to see the restaurant get better, not go under. “I want to see Horn Barbecue succeed,” one current worker said.

Legendary Hayes Valley charcuterie outlet to close

Fell Street’s Fatted Calf is closing at the end of October. Tablehopper reports store owners Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller opened in 2010 and cite a “variety of logistical reasons” behind the closure. Thankfully, the store will move into the former Lucky No. 13 space in the Ferry Building, hopefully by early November.

San Francisco workers sue international steak chain

STK Steakhouse employees on October 7 filed a class-action lawsuit against the popular restaurant chain. The workers claim wage theft, illegal tip distribution, and toxic workplace culture including instances when staff allegedly worked 14-hour days with no overtime pay. The San Francisco Chronicle spoke to six current and former workers, three of whom are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The restaurant opened in September and did not respond to the Chronicle’s request for comment.

Popular restaurant group’s newest outpost opens for breakfast

On October 17 Rad Raddish, Back of House’s Hayes Street plant-based restaurant that opened on August 15, will debut a breakfast menu. Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon, the restaurant will serve frittatas, french toast, breakfast sandwiches, and Vietnamese coffee.

Napa Valley resort to screen Sally Schmitt documentary

Carneros Resort and Spa will present a complimentary viewing of Oscar-winner Ben Proudfoot’s documentary “The Best Chef in the World” at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 21. The movie showcases Sally Schmitt’s life before and after opening the French Laundry, which she sold to Thomas Keller. Reservations are not required in advance, subsequent screenings will be shown at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., and the screening is open to all.

Horn Barbecue

2534 Mandela Parkway, , CA 94607 (510) 225-6101 Visit Website