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May 31, 2004 02:13 AM

Pack Jack's BBQ up in smoke!!

  • s

We tracked all the way up there with high hope and left with empty feeling in our stomach.

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  1. I learned about it when I drove by on Friday afternoon. Here's a link to the news story.


    1. Looking for more info about Pipkins Pit in a newly revived thread, I stumbled across Pack Jack BBQ at Pipkins old address and phone number. I tried calling, but there's no answer. At least the phone number is still connected. Does anyone know whether our beloved Pack Jack's in Sebastopol has moved to Vallejo? Can't stop thinking about the lamb ribs, the Texas pit style spareribs, the smoked chicken . . .

      Pack Jack Bar B Que Restaurant
      1624 Fairgrounds Dr, Vallejo, CA

      6 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong


        I drove by on the way home and it still says "Pitkins Pit". It wasn't open at about 6pm on a Monday night. I was going to peek in the window, but the activity in the area was a little scary ... and I've been hanging in West Oakland lately ... and not only the pretty parts.

        There's a grocery store next to Pitkins and as this woman comes out one of a group of guys calls out "Hey, baby, let me have some of that thaaang".

        And surprisingly this line worked. She went over to the car to socialize. One guy looks at me and says "Working it old school, mama". If I had been on the way back from happy hour with a few drinks under my belt rather than on the way TO happy hour, I would have whacked him on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.

        1. re: rworange


          What's the latest on your unfortunately postponed, prolonged trip to Guatemala? Any progress? As the old C&W song goes: "How can I miss you if you never go away?".

          1. re: dlglidden

            Follow her adventures by clicking on her name. How about the scoop on the Walmart in Vera Cruz?

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          Well, Biteclub says that Pack Jack has an outpost in Vallejo.

          Even better news, the Sebastopol original will reopen. I'd noticed some intermittent work on the exterior over the last year, but as the article describes, they don't seem in any hurry on this.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Two weeks ago I drove by Pack Jack's to see what's up for myself and to try to figure out when it would re-open.

            There's a new concrete pad in front that will provide disabled access.
            The area in the back will be opened up for more parking, accessible from this driveway.

            The interiior had just been painted but there were no fixtures, equipment or furniture in place yet. I talked to the contractor who said it shouldn't be too long before it's ready to open. He said that Donnie's son had a place in Vallejo, but it closed a couple years ago.

            The pit will be outside now, to avoid having another fire.

            Then Donnie came out and I asked him if Pack Jack's would have lamb ribs on the menu again. He said that was the plan, to keep the old customers happy. He said that his son would be operating the place.

            I hope that the 'hounds who hang out closer to Sebastopol than I do will keep us posted on the progress.

        3. Shh don't tell anyone I said anything but I happen to know that are opening their doors June 15th

          3 Replies
          1. re: misstmarie85

            Yes, talked to them yesterday. Soft opening June 15, weekends only for a month or so, then grand opening. Said they don't want any press coverage or a lot of people till they work out kinks. I was happy to hear that lamb ribs will still be on the menu, my favorite item there. I have some photos to share when I land.

            But don't tell anyone! :)

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              >I was happy to hear that lamb ribs will still be on the menu, my favorite item there.<

              I'll try the lamb after the place opens, on your rec :-) I had it once before it burned and closed, and the lamb was the toughest meat I've ever encountered; pretty much inedible to me. I mentioned how tough it was and the woman said something like that's why we gave you more of it, because it's tough and you won't be able to eat all of it because of that. Was that your experience with the lamb?

          2. Last weekend I took a detour on the Gravenstein Hwy to avoid slowdowns on 101 taking me right past Pack Jack. Almost exactly two years since my last look-see, when I got out of the car, I detected the faint smell of smoked meat. In progress the last time I stopped, the brick pit was complete and had been broken in. These photos show two sides of the pit.

            Looking through the glass, I could see that the interior had been outfitted with booths, tables and chairs.

            Around back, the main sign was on saw horses and a new phone number, 827-3665, painted on.

            No one was around then, and after a week of calling that number and not getting through, I stopped by again this Friday afternoon. This time Donnie Harris, Sr, came out and I learned from him that Pack Jack would re-open on June 15. The beer and wine license had just been renewed and the health inspections were done. He said his two sons will be running the place and he’ll still have some involvement.

            Then on my way out, I spoke to one of the sons. He said that the soft opening would be the 15th and they’d be open weekends only for the first month reaching out to the local community, neighbors and old customers. He said the menu would be the same. Since he emphasized that he wanted the opening to be on the down low without any announcements to the press, I was trying to figure out what to do with this information. But since “misstmarie85” whispered the news, there you go, that’s everything I know.


            Obituary for Marie Theresa Harris

            1. Opened for real today. Donnie Harris's grandson just took my order. Martin is cooking.

              Hours today: 11am to 10pm as long as the food lasts.


              I'm customer #4.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Chicken is sold out. No hot links, beef ribs or pies (or menus) today.

                Edited to add: next batch of smoked chicken coming up. I'm getting one to go. A family member is working on menus at next table.

                  1. re: misstmarie85

                    Thanks for letting us know. Here's the full report,

                    I'll be checking back when that century plant blooms. And I wanna see some pies! I mentioned to Donnie Harris that it would be very cool to bake them with the eggs from his chickens that are scratching around the yard. Can't get more local than that.