Bites: Horn Barbecue finds a permanent home; World Famous HotBoys heads to Uptown

Texas-style smoked meats and Southern sides from Horn Barbecue.
Texas-style smoked meats and Southern sides from Horn Barbecue. Photo: Horn Barbecue/Facebook

HORN OF PLENTY Popular pop-up Horn Barbecue, credited by some with starting Oakland’s recent BBQ revival, has found a brick-and-mortar location. Bay Area News Group first reported that pitmaster Matt Horn and his wife-business partner Nina Horn will take over the former Brown Sugar Kitchen space in West Oakland. Since 2015, Horn has been a mobile operation, hawking Texas-style ‘cue — expertly smoked over California white oak for about 18 hours in a 500-gallon custom smoker named Lucille — at farmers markets, festivals, food truck gatherings and his best-known pop-up location — a former service station in West Oakland — where he’d draw hours-long lines of hungry people via announcements on Instagram. At the restaurant on Mandela Parkway, Horn Barbecue will offer slow-smoked meats, including its famous brisket and ribs, with housemade rubs and sauces, along with Southern-influenced sides and desserts. Horn Barbecue aims to open in late fall, starting with lunch service. Horn Barbecue, 2534 Mandela Parkway (at 26th), Oakland

A Nashville hot chicken sandwich from the World Famous HotBoys in Oakland.
A Nashville hot chicken sandwich from the World Famous HotBoys in Oakland. Photo: World Famous HotBoys/@dudewheremytaco

HOT HOT HEAT Victor Ghaben and Wallace Berkley Gibbs (aka graphic artist Berk Visual) are the duo behind World Famous HotBoys, a Nashville hot chicken outfit that’s currently operating out of Forage Kitchen before it opens a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Uptown Oakland this fall. Owner-operator and chef Ghaben said he was first introduced to the Tennessee-style chicken — which is fried and then doused in a spicy sauce made with cayenne pepper and, traditionally, lard — by friend and business partner Gibbs, who went to college in Nashville.

For HotBoys, Ghaben starts with 100% pasture-raised chicken and adds a little local flavor imparted by spices sourced from Oaktown Spice Shop. The resulting chicken is served as is (bone-in), on a sandwich or as tenders at five heat levels, ranging from mild to hella hot. Southern sides like collards, pimento mac n cheese and “Bo-nuts” (deep-fried biscuit dough rolled in cinnamon sugar) round out the menu. World Famous HotBoys currently operates 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Friday at Forage Kitchen, but Ghaben said they’ll likely add more days to the schedule next month. He also added that the full menu is not always available at pop-ups, and food often sells out before closing time. Your best bet would be to follow the HotBoys on Instagram, where they share available menus and future appearances.

The World Famous HotBoys restaurant takes over the I.B. Hoagies & Cheesesteaks location. Ghaben said they’re currently in construction and hope to open in late October or November. According to Eater, Ghaben is part of the family behind Batch & Brine in Lafayette, and both Ghaben and Gibbs helped in the branding for that restaurant. For their own spot, Gibbs will create a mural on the building’s exterior. World Famous HotBoys is currently operating at Forage Kitchen, 478 25th St., Oakland. The brick-and-mortar restaurant will be at 1601 San Pablo Ave. (at 16th), Oakland this fall.


RFC (REVIVAL FRIED CHICKEN) While we’re on the topic of fried chicken, chef Amy Murray at Revival Bar & Kitchen got in touch with Nosh to say she’s added a new fried chicken special to the summer menu. Using organic chicken that she dredges in buttermilk and “a secret ingredient to make it crispy,” it’s finished with a sweet and spicy gastrique made with blackberry and Aleppo pepper. Murray said it’s the best fried chicken she’s ever made. Twenty dollars gets you the said bird, served with a buttermilk biscuit with blackberry butter, corn succotash and Calalloo greens. Revival is offering the plate on Sundays through Sept. 22. Revival Bar & Kitchen, 2102 Shattuck Ave. (at Addison), Berkeley  

Fettuccine con Pesto from Flavia Osteria in downtown Berkeley.
Fettuccine with pesto from Flavia Osteria in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Eric Wong

CENTER STREET ITALIAN Earlier this month, Nosh reported that a new eatery called Flavia was taking over the space on Center Street in downtown Berkeley, recently vacated by Collective Bar and Kitchen. On Monday, it opened as Flavia Osteria, an affordable Italian pasta and pizza restaurant that dishes out a fairly large menu with comforting, accessible eats — like spaghetti and meatballs, fettuccine with pesto, shrimp Alfredo, chicken piccata and even mac & cheese — that cost no more than $10.95. The restaurant is counter-service, but boasts a full bar, serving beer, wine and cocktails. Flavia is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily. Flavia Osteria, 2132 Center St. (between Oxford and Shattuck), Berkeley

DORA’S MOVES IN WITH BLUE’S Downtown Berkeley bakery Dora’s is now sharing digs with sister business Blue’s Chocolates. A sign on the window at 1966 University Ave. points customers to Blue’s, found next door at 1964 University. Both businesses are run by chef Christopher Blue, who opened the pie shop in 2014 under the name A Dora Pie. In 2017, he changed the name to Dora’s, added 12 beer taps and started offering bunza stuffed sandwiches to the menu. Blue’s Chocolates, which specializes in filled confections, was founded in 2007. At one time, Blue’s had two other locations on Fourth Street in Berkeley and in San Francisco, but currently the University Ave. shop is its only retail presence. Dora’s and Blue’s Chocolates, 1964 University Ave. (near Milvia), Berkeley

FENG CHA BERKELEY We got a tip this weekend from Berkeleyside reader Sean Rouse that international China-based tea chain, Feng Cha, is opening a new boba shop on Durant Avenue. According to the company’s website, Feng Cha expanded beyond China in mid-2016, opening more than 700 franchise locations around the world, including in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, other countries in Asia, and the U.S., where there is an East Bay location in Newark.

The brand purports to use quality ingredients, like freshly brewed tea from real tea leaves and fruit teas made with real fruit. Drinks can be customized with different tea bases, flavored milk foams and additions like boba, jelly and red beans. Feng Cha’s most popular offering is the Dirty Boba, made with caramelized brown sugar boba and a creme bruleed topper. Along with drinks, Feng Cha offers milk foam cakes, light and airy cakes topped with flavorings and toppings like sea salt and boba pearls, matcha, taro and chocolate, and strawberries and cream.

Feng Cha Teahouse Bay Area franchise owner May Liao told Nosh the Berkeley location will soft open Sept 3. At the time, it will feature many, but not all, of the drinks available at the Newark store. Liao said Feng Cha will roll out the complete menu at its grand opening (date TBD, but Liao said it will probably be a week or two after the soft opening). She also said more Bay Area locations are in the works. Feng Cha Teahouse, 2528-A Durant Ave. (between Telegraph and Bowditch), Berkeley

Fast-casual bibimbap restaurant Mad Seoul has added Korean tacos to the menu.
Fast-casual bibimbap restaurant Mad Seoul has added Korean tacos to the menu. Photo: Aaron Kim

MORE TO GET MAD ABOUT Berkeley’s fast-casual bibimbap restaurant Mad Seoul has made some tweaks to its menu. After about five months in business, owner-operator Aaron Kim told Nosh, “We’ve taken advice from customers, colleagues and critics like yourself and methodically improved our product. It’s been quite the journey but I feel like we’ve come a long way since our opening.” Aside from making some changes to the recipes, Kim said Mad Seoul has added a Korean-style spicy pork as a protein option and now offers Korean tacos, which come on corn tortillas topped with a protein of your choice, shredded lettuce and diced onions. Mad Seoul, 1801 Shattuck Ave. (at Delaware), Berkeley

Red Bay's International Headquarters at 3136 International Blvd. in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood.
Red Bay’s International Headquarters at 3136 International Blvd. in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. Photo: Red Bay Coffee/Facebook

RED BAY’S NEW HQ Oakland’s Red Bay Coffee Roasters is growing. Since founder Keba Konte started the wholesale coffee business in 2014, roasting high quality, responsibly sourced beans out of his home in Fruitvale (what he calls the Coffee Dojo), Red Bay has expanded by leaps and bounds. First, Red Bay opened a 7,800-square-foot public roastery, coffee bar and beer garden on East 10th Street in 2016, followed by a shipping container coffee bar in Uptown’s Hive complex, a location in San Francisco and this summer, a new Richmond location in a food hall.

Last week, the company announced it has moved its HQ into an even bigger space — a three-story, 11,000-square-foot former bank building, at 3136 International Blvd — “to house a growing team and offer a diverse set of coffee experiences.” The building features a coffee cupping lab, the company’s design studio and a “space for community story exchange” built in the former bank vault. According to Red Bay’s marketing specialist Christina Mitchell, there is not a public coffee bar at the space yet, but it is in the works.

Konte is one of the few black coffee roasters in the country, and was one of the earliest in the industry to advocate for diversifying the primarily white world of specialty coffee. Since the beginning, Konte hired and trained locals, notably those who haven’t traditionally been included in the third-wave coffee world, including women, people of color, and the formerly incarcerated. As Red Bay expands, Konte has stayed true to his Fruitvale roots. In a press release he said, “It’s exciting to expand again in our own neighborhood and to partner with more mission-driven companies and sustainable farmers around the world.” Red Bay Coffee Roasters‘ International Headquarters, 3136 International Blvd. (at Fruitvale), Oakland

Cocktail glasses designed by Creative Growth artist Dinah Shapiro.
Cocktail glasses designed by Creative Growth artist Dinah Shapiro for The Kon-Tiki. Photo: Tarik Kazaleh

BETTER OFF UNDEAD Downtown Oakland’s tropical-themed The Kon-Tiki has commissioned Creative Growth artist Dinah Shapiro to design a set of zombie-themed cocktail glasses to be sold at the bar. One hundred percent of proceeds from the glass sales will go to Creative Growth, the Oakland-based non-profit studio for artists with developmental, intellectual and physical disabilities. On Thursday, starting at 6 p.m., The Kon-Tiki will host a kickoff party celebrating the collaboration, featuring drink specials, DJs and the glasses for sale. Kon-Tiki co-owner Matt Regan said they’ve made about 600 glasses, but if the glasses sell out quickly, they’ll consider printing another run. The Kon-Tiki, 347 14th St. (at Webster), Oakland

A GOOD NITE A Cambodian meal from celebrated chef Nite Yun of Nyum Bai is just part of a multi-disciplinary evening presented by the Matatu Festival of Stories. The festival, in its seventh year, takes attendees to different parts of the world, highlighting the diasporic experiences of varied cultures. This year, the focus is Cambodia, India, Laos and the Caribbean. In addition to Yun’s feast (featuring tempting dishes like prahok ktiss, ground pork belly simmered in coconut milk; ngoum chicken salad; and fried tilapia with tomatoes, ginger-lime sauce and seasonal vegetables), the event will feature poets Bryan Thao Worra and Kaysone Syonsea performing “LAOMAGINATION,” comedy by Hari Kondabolu and Tropitaal: a Desi Latino Soundclash, a dance party with DJs Anjali & The Incredible Kid. The program starts at 7 p.m., Sept. 27. Tickets are $90 with the meal. Starline Social Club Ballroom, 2236 MLK Jr. Way (at West Grand), Oakland