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Feb 15, 2005 11:16 PM

El Sobrante – Jones BBQ Delivers – Fried Chicken

  • k

And did I order fried chicken? Nooooooo !!!. Person after person came in for their orders of fried chicken. It was pouring down Noah’s Ark type of rain and people kept coming … for the chicken.

One woman said she never tried anything else there except the fried chicken and the baked beans.

OK, here’s my BBQ judging qualifications, I am as knowledgeable about BBQ as I am about Korean food … very, very little experience. I am from New England so I know baked beans.

The beans in the soupy sauce weren’t looking good. Too much sauce I thought. However the smoky brown sugar taste was addictive. There seemed to be little pieces of some sort of greens in the beans too. The sweet potatoes had the perfect balance of sugar, butter and spice. Lovely faint cinnamon smell. Mmmm, let me take another whiff. Nice potato salad with little bits of egg, celery and olive(?). There were a few other finely chopped ingredients in there. A little on the mashed potato texture, but the flavor was fine. The sides were the most successful sides I’ve had at a BBQ joint in the Bay Area.

The four way combo had hot links, sliced beef cubes, pork ribs and chicken. This is the only BBQ chicken that was not dry, but moist and juicy. There were meaty wings and white skinless fall apart tender pieces of breast. The links were hot and good. Ribs were ok. At first I didn’t care for the beef because it wasn’t Memphis Minnie’s brisket. However, there was a deep smoke to the beef. I don’t know. Right now I just can’t think of the words that adequately describe the beef. I would definitely order all the sides again as well as the chicken. The ribs seemed to be the least successful meat. Not bad, just average.

Oh … the sauce … tomato based, nicely balanced, not too hot and not too sweet. I liked it but forgot to order it on the side. Even so, it didn’t overwhelm the meat like some sauces do.

They had a big pan of house made banana pudding topped with gently browned meringue. They gave me a free container. It was very good, not too sweet and full of bananas with a vegetable oil based crust.

The other desserts, sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, cheesecake and chocolate cake are made elsewhere.

Jones makes quite a few items:
Chicken and sausage gumbo
Fried fish: snapper, catfish, prawns and oysters
Other sides: mixed greens, cole slaw, beans and rice, macaroni and cheese, green salad, rice and gravy, French fries, corn on the cob
Sweet muffins
Sandwiches (on Colombo rolls): blackened grilled chicken, grilled spiced chicken, blackened shrimp, grilled garlic shrimp, rib, sliced beef, beef hot links, chicken, fried chicken, fried snapper, fried catfish
Salads: smoked chicken, fried crispy chicken and shrimp louie.

Tuesday thru Saturday, 10 am – 3pm there are lunch specials for $5.75 that include one side and a drink.

Jones has a wide free delivery area. The will deliver as far as Carquinez. More importantly, they confirmed they will deliver to my home. This is one restaurant menu that does not get tossed. $15 minimum order for delivery.

Jones BBQ
3550 San Pablo Dam Rd #B3
El Sobrante, CA 94803
Tel: 510-758-9227
Fax: 510-758-9228

Closed Mondays
Sunday 11 am – 8 pm
Tuesday – Saturday 11 am – 9 pm

There’s a little business profile and a picture of the owner Steve Jones in the kitchen. In this link

Can’t tell you if this was Texas, North Carolina or whatever type of BBQ. I liked the food and will return. I just can’t eat fried food for a while. This is one of the few times I wish someone really would stop by a place. Hey Gordon … are you out there? Do you like fried chicken? Any chance you would stop by and report back? Anyone?


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  1. This is a long way to get to the point that I have a second enthusiastic vote for Jones BBQ.

    Roberto is too polite to say he doesn't like something. They way I know is that the food sits in the fridge until it grows fuzz, like the Crixa cake.

    Roberto doesn't get the concept of talking about food he likes. However, when I brought home the first seeded baquette from Cheeseboard, not only did it disappear, Roberto tried to duplicate the experience by picking up a baguette from Safeway. Well, it gives me an excuse to visit Arizmundi regularily.

    Roberto I consider quite the Chowhound since his tastes usually match mine (no false modesty here).

    Roberto is a light eater so I was thinking that 4 way combo from Jones would do for dinner tonight as well. I just looked in the fridge and all the BBQ is gone as well as the large side of yams. I knew those yams were really good.

    The potato salad and baked beans are still in the fridge. Being Latino, I'm sure those sweet beans were something new to Roberto. Fortunately, that leaves those great baked beans for me for lunch today.

    I suspect Jones BBQ might really be a good place.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Krys

      The Nellie's soul food restaurant that used to occupy the restaurant side of Dorsey's Locker moved several months ago to its own new space at 1155 3rd St (off Adeline). IMHO, the food was better at the old location, although it's not bad now, just not really good. I heard that a new restaurant took over the space at Dorsey's, but haven't heard anything positive about it so I haven't actually gone back to try it.

      Have you tried House of Soul or the other one in the strip mall by American Canyon (the name escapes me now) where the Popeye's fast food joint is?

    2. Hi Krys,
      I'm still out here - unfortunately, I've been preoccupied with various matters but I have been skimming the boards. Impressed by your exploring of our neighborhood. I will check out the fried chicken at Jones' Q in the next week or so. There is a little taqueria in the strip mall anchored by the Canned Food Outlet in San Pablo that is worth trying based on the one soft taco I tried - it's called Taqueria Mendez 2031 23rd St. 510. 215-9065.

      12 Replies
      1. re: gordon wing

        With the thoughts of fried chicken in my mind, I managed to find a way to Jone's Q today. I had the fried chicken sandwich with dark meat ( a thigh & wing drummette? or a very small drumstick )
        I got the baked beans as a side and it came with wheat / wonder bread. A bottle of ketchup and a bottle of hot sauce were provided ( I ate in). The chicken was fried up to order (allow 7-10 minutes- might be good to call enroute?) - the skin was very crispy and the chicken was well seasoned - seems like it was dredged in seasoned flour (no batter) - served piping (what does that mean?) hot. Quite good....the thigh was not the meatiest one I've encountered - I was enjoying it and wanted more meat on the bone.....the baked beans were on the sweet side with a deep molasses flavor- I made an adjustment with the hot sauce and enjoyed them. (beans were tender but not overcooked and they were the small size beans) I asked for a sample of the mild BBQ Sauce - a bit tart but with heat (chilli flakes) in the background and a hint of smoke - more tomatoey than molasses -

        1. re: gordon wing

          So, uh, nice if you are in the neighborhood and better than Popeye's but other than that...

          Well thanks Gordon for saving me from breaking my diet to satisfy my fried chicken fantasy. Anything I eat fried for a while has to be over the top fabulous.

          1. re: Krys

            it's a matter of style.....I prefer the type of fried chicken that's been soaking in buttermilk and then dredged in flour and then shallow fried ... but if you like this style of preparation it could be worth the indulgence? have you tried the chicken at Miya's Place in SF? - it's on my list but not specifically for the chicken.

            1. re: gordon wing

              Haven't tried the Miya's chicken. I really don't get fried chikcen that often. The long departed Powell's place was on my list and I never got to it. Have to try that place in Orinda some day.

              So Gordon, have you been meaning to visit Miya's since the October 2003 Chowhound post? Think of my sad story and Powell's Place ... and in a differnt category ... Chaz.

              Great link to past Chowhound post about Miya's Place comlete with pictures and link to the website.

              The oxtails sound good. I'm sorry I looked at the menu. I haven't had a salmon croquette for many years and now I have a yen for one.

              Has anyone been to Miya's Place recenly?


              1. re: Krys

                You'll want to check back issues of SF Bay Area ChowNews - Oct. 22, 2004, #146 and January 13, 2005, #156/157 - for the most current comments on Miya's Place.


                1. re: Krys

                  Yup, check out our report from November. Love that place.


                  1. re: precipice

                    Well, I'm glad that Gordon has only been pining about this place for a few months rather than years.

                    I have decided it is not me, it is not Chowhound, it is a problem with Goggle. I searched both places on the Chowhound board, then used the real Google and only came up with that old post. I'm going to have to sit down and figure out what is going on with Google.

                    No need to reply, wrong board. Thanks for the link.

                  2. re: Krys

                    Yes, it's been on my radar for a long time - I've even driven by to check out the look of the place but the stars haven't lined up yet.... : ~ ) and then there the House of Soul in Vallejo.....

                    1. re: Krys


                      You may be in luck re Powell's Place. There was a message on Chowhound today that notes the reopening of Powell's Place. Here's the link:


                    2. re: gordon wing

                      I went to Jones over the weekend and was very impressed. For less than $20, my husband and I had plenty of the best fried chicken I have eaten in years, great baked beans and addictive yams. So so coleslaw but a nice balance to all the sweet flavors. The chicken was crunchy, not greasy, and we ate it all with little more conversation than expressions of pleasure. The owner was there, very nice and clearly loves what he does. He was apologetic about the chicken being too dark (not that we thought so) and insisted on giving us another to take home. So great - both the service and the thought that I have that chicken in my refrigerator! Another nice touch was that after he left, the two woman working there continued to be very pleasant and helpful and gave us a sincere, warm thanks and farewell. Thanks for the post that turned us on to this place, Krys. It's a great place to know about. We will revisit soon for the BBQ.

                      1. re: Chilton

                        Thanks for the feedback on the fried chicken. I can have my virtual fried chicken fix without the calories.

                        I'm tending to agree with Gordon on the baked beans being a tad too sweet. I think they need to be eaten in moderation.

                        I really liked them when I first tried them, but I had a small portion.

                        Roberto gave them the thumbs down by ignoring them, so I had them for breakfast one morning. All was fine until about half way through and then they got too sweet. I had that brown sugar taste in my mouth all day. Good beans, but I probably won't eat a whole lot in one sitting again.

                        Thanks for your feedback. I'm still new to the area, so if you have some favorites in the area, please share ... have you ever tried PJ's pizza?

                        1. re: Chilton

                          I have been there 3 times. Its the kind of place where you really don't want to complain, because the owner tries so hard, and I attribute the flaws to his flaky help. After reading earlier posts today, I decided to try a fried chicken dinner. It was ok. From the time I got there, until the time I received my order (there was no one in line in front of me, but phone orders were ahead) was over 30 minutes. The chicken wings were undercooked, but not as bad as the last time, then I ordered a four wing snack to go, and they were inedibly undercooked. I have found the BBQ to be a bit on the not-smoked-enough side. Ok, but not great.

                          Tonight's problems were attributable to 2 of his 3 workers not seeming particularly enthused or working well with others. I could see Steve trying to keep his temper at a cool.

                          The chicken did have a good flavor. The sides (yams and beans/rice) were tasty. The portion was overly generous.

                2. Roberto and I have pretty much been through the menu here. Here’s the hits and misses in our opinion on anything not mentioned in the original post.

                  The two standouts:

                  Rice with Gravy

                  Don’t even like rice and gravy elsewhere. Don’t need this calorie-wise. Order it every time. Delicious gravy and moist flavorful rice.

                  Smoked Chicken Salad

                  The lettuce doesn’t matter. Focus on the chicken. Moist white meet permeated with smoke. Great, great, great. Low calorie. Use your own dressing for the standard greens.

                  I’ve never got the large salad. The small is more than generous for a meal.


                  All the desserts. While the chocolate cake probably isn’t the stuff of a chocolate lovers dreams, I like the home made taste to it.

                  Hamburger. Actually a nice burger with some bacon strips on it.


                  The fried chicken. I wasn’t wowed. To me it wasn’t worth the calories.

                  Sweet muffin. Uh, tried it once. Forgot what it tasted like. Just wouldn’t order again.

                  Chicken and sausage gumbo. Really just spicy rice with generous chuncks of chicken and sausage. It is good in that context, but not what I’m expecting from gumbo. It made me pass on the seafood gumbo bowl.

                  NEVER AGAIN

                  Any fried fish. The batter is different and heavier than the chicken coating. The quality of the snapper and catfish was ok. Prawns and oysters … no.

                  If you have them deliver, they always tell you 30 minitues. It always takes one hour and 30 minutes.

                  1. Link

                    Jones BBQ
                    3550 San Pablo Dam Rd, El Sobrante, CA 94803

                    1. Recent experience suggests a down hill alert might be in order. The two item combo was very very small as compared to past experience. Beans were okay but the mac n cheese was actually spoiled. Seemed like it came out of the fridge from a week ago, grainy and sour smelling.