The wait is over. Chef and pit master Matt Horn will be opening the doors of his highly anticipated Horn Barbecue stationary restaurant in Oakland, California on September 26, 2020. Over the past five years, Horn has built a cult following for its food, including the media, food critics, and other pit masters and chefs with fans from across the country attending its iconic pop-ups in the Bay Area and beyond. At a time marked by Black Lives Matter and the need for hope in the dark, Horn readily recognizes his legacy as the legacy of the great cuisine of Black Pit masters and generations upon generations of unannounced southern chefs. Horn Barbecue starts in West Oakland, the ultimate destination of the Great Black Migration. It stands for the commitment to craft and tradition, community and excellence. All are welcome.
The Horn Barbecue is open for outdoor dining, takeaway, and delivery as per Alameda County’s Public Health Policy. Horn Barbecue follows government-prescribed cleaning and safety protocols.
THE HORN BARBECUE STORY
Grilling is in Matt Horn’s DNA. It is a cuisine and tradition that was handed down to him from his ancestors. Matt began his journey in his grandmother’s backyard, honing his craft on his grandfather’s grill. After hours of experimentation and hard work, Matt developed and perfected his unique style of West Coast Barbecue, inspired by the barbecue in central Texas, the foodways of the Black South, and the innovative spirit of his native California. Horn Barbecue started modestly at Tracy Farmers Market in 2016. What started as small gatherings quickly turned into massive pop-ups that drew crowds of over 1,000 people. With each pop-up, the legend of Horn Barbecue grew, with guests, many of whom had traveled from across the country and ready to wait over 4 hours for the opportunity to meet Matt and taste his food. The reward for waiting was a one-of-a-kind dining experience – beautifully smoked ribs and brisket, hot limbs that snapped in the ear and tongue, and side dishes that were reminiscent of generations of love. His co-conspirator in barbecue excellence is Lucille, a Matt-designed and well-groomed smoker with an offset of 500 gallons. Matt and his restaurant are referred to by other mine supervisors and chefs as “the future of barbecuing” and are built to last.
ON THE MENU
Guests can expect to see many of Horn Barbecue’s most popular pop-up favorites on the menu, including smoked Brisket, ribs of beef, pulled pork, spare ribs and turkey, all sold for a pound and served on curated made-in sheet pans specially designed for the restaurant. Along with the classics, Horn and his team will add new items, including half and whole quartered chickens, homemade hot links, and a variety of sandwiches. A whole pig is roasted with every Saturday Oxtails and shoulder of lamb on special rotation. As with his pop-ups, Matt Horn will be at the counter, cutting meat to order. In addition to the meat, Horn Barbecue’s southern-inspired sides also include pit Beans, cabbage, black-eyed peas, potato salad, coleslaw, grandma’s potatoes and cornbread. The desserts created by Matt’s wife Nina Horn include: Banana pudding, bourbon bread pudding, and rum cake. The drinks menu includes bespoke sodas, sweet tea, and a curated beer and wine list featuring local breweries and vineyards.
The interior of the restaurant tells the story of Horn Barbecue through photos and media stories. There are a number of cowhide leather bar stools at the counter, all of which lead to a large glass wall. Behind the wall is a 750-square-foot pit room that houses California’s first indoor smoker. You can purchase Matt’s new all-purpose seasoning flour, as well as horn barbecue merchandise like hats and shirts. There is a well-designed seating area on the street just behind the restaurant for al fresco dining. Finally, the drama of the room comes boldest with a hand-painted mural by local artist Steven Anderson of a bull pointing north.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and Horn Barbecue restaurant opening were put on hold, Matt and his team launched the Horn Initiative – a philanthropic effort that aligns with Matt and Nina Horn’s lifelong commitment to helping those in need by showing love to people through food and serving others with a heart of gratitude. In a time of uncertainty and hardship, Horn shifted his attention from opening his restaurant to returning it to the community. In two months, the Horn Initiative raised over $ 20,000 and prepared and served over 4,000 meals to those most in need through pop-ups and hospital donations to feed families as well as frontline workers and key workers working against the pandemic . The Horn Initiative will continue to support the Oakland and Bay Area community by serving food and educating the next generation about how it can make a positive impact.