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Smoker @ MacArthur and MLK in Oakland

m
Melanie Wong Jun 11, 2005 10:29 PM

Driving by yesterday afternoon, I saw a billowing smoker and a table next to it stacked with buns and plates on the street corner. Wish I had time to stop, but had to rush on. Has anyone tried the barbecue here? If it's good and a regular thing, I'll make a point to return.

  1. z
    zippo Jun 18, 2011 11:53 AM

    I tried a few times to order the tamales at the smoker but just kept hitting the days when they had run out. John Birdsall of the East Bay Express managed to catch some and apparently he fell in love:

    "Actually, Gutierrez (originally from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico) operates her food stand to help support her family via sales of smoky, chewy-skinned grilled chicken (pollo al carbon), ribs with barbecue sauce she buys at Costco, and the tangy fish ceviche she spoons onto crisp, commercially fried tortillas. But her delicious tamales — those belong to God alone."
    . . .
    "I stumbled on Gutierrez’ stand earlier this month and thought the chicken tamales ($5 for two) were some of the best I’d had recently: a relatively thin sheath of masa surrounding a shredded mass of nicely seasoned chicken, even better with a few spoonfuls of Gutierrez' own tart, slushy tomatillo salsa."

    http://www.eastbayexpress.com/WhatThe...

     
    1 Reply
    1. re: zippo
      rworange Jun 18, 2011 12:53 PM

      Wow, if she grills tamales that would be great. The article makes it seem like they are just briefly heated though. BBQ'd tamales are one of the best foods I had in Guatemala, the smoke permeating the masa and meat ... fabulous.

    2. z
      zippo Sep 8, 2010 06:17 AM

      Last Wednesday, 9/1, I walked the block or so from the MacArthur BART station to the corner of the former Burley’s Detailing shop. There are now folding sidewalk signs on the corner listing, in English and Spanish, ceviche, wood grilled meat, chicken and fish.

      The bbq, as you can see, is the size of a small submarine. It’s been there about a month and there are a couple of newly-varnished picnic tables next to it. The grill was brought from Texas and according to the two women who were serving there, they don’t have another location, aren’t connected to a restaurant and weren’t familiar with Archie. They’re open everyday except Sunday.

      At about 4 pm the grill was on standby, probably awaiting dinner time to get fully stoked. Ribs were $10, sausage link was $3.50, The ceviche is made with tilapia and shrimp but they didn’t have any that day.

      I ordered the bbq chicken for $7 which came with leg and thigh, potato salad, a green salad with broccoli, cabbage and a soft roll. You’re offered a choice of bbq sauces and salad dressing. Had it wrapped up and didn’t get around to eating it until last Friday afternoon. The chicken was firm and not saturated with sauce, which I liked. Most notable was a deep, clean, wood-emparted flavor to the chicken, probably from being in the grill for an hour or more. Very appealing, as was the chunky potato salad and next want to try the grilled fish and tilapia.

      There’s also been some activity at a bbq at a car wash two blocks west, at the southwest corner of MacArthur and Market Street, which looks interesting.

       
       
      2 Replies
      1. re: zippo
        Melanie Wong Sep 9, 2010 09:46 AM

        Zippo, thanks so much for staying on top of this and reporting in. That's quite some rig! I think that in the years to come we'll look back at this economic recession period's culinary trends and call it the time of pizza and barbecue. Streetside smokers like this have not been uncommon in the East Bay, but they're popping up more often. They're a sign of the time, like the Apple Mary's of the Great Depression.

        1. re: Melanie Wong
          z
          zippo Sep 9, 2010 11:07 AM

          thanks for your remarks, Melanie. Next time I go will try and get some more of the backstory. Oakland may be more hospitable to this (and urban farms) than other nearby cities. The smoker is pretty impressive, particularly when it is at full-throttle, looking like a steam locomotive.

      2. z
        zippo Aug 18, 2010 10:27 PM

        The Burley's smoker and the signage for Burley's auto detailing have been gone for some time but recently there's been some new activity at that corner.

        Today at about 4 pm, from a passing bus, I saw a smoker puffing away with a few people around it along with wooden sidewalk signs nearby listing grilled meat and fish.

        It looks like a different grill from the one Archie had. There's also a smaller grilling or smoking operation going on at a detailing shop on the south side of MacArthur about 1 or 2 blocks west (West Street or Market Street?) of the former Burley's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: zippo
          Melanie Wong Aug 19, 2010 11:31 AM

          Thanks for the heads up, zippo. Maybe we'll hear a report soon and this thread can morph into an archive of various gypsy smokers who frequent that corner.

        2. rworange Aug 27, 2009 05:39 PM

          Sheesh ... finally ate at Burley's

          Oakland: Eating at Burley's Car Wash, baby - Archie's BBQ ... at last
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/648058

          Turns out Archie wasn't the guy who I flipped off ... so whoever that annoying jerk was deserved it.

          1. Melanie Wong May 27, 2009 11:59 PM

            Any updates?

            16 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong
              rworange May 28, 2009 01:31 AM

              Is that the one at the car wash or the one at the burger joint?

              1. re: rworange
                Melanie Wong May 28, 2009 01:37 AM

                Here's the street view Chuckles provided.
                http://maps.google.com/maps?client=sa...

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  rworange May 28, 2009 02:10 AM

                  Ah, the BBQ at Burley's Car Wash.

                  It's an interesting story. The owner would bring free bbq to the owners of the auto dealers on Broadway. They recipricated by using Burley's to wash their cars and that is how the business was built. They do some nice detailing, btw

                  Anyway the mom was trying to get the son to run the bbq about a year or so ago, but at the time, was unhappy and thinking of hiring someone to make her bbq.

                  I had eaten that day so all I got was a hot dog, not their strength. While it is nice to have a char-grilled dog, it was a Ballpark frank from the supermarket and there's only so much you can do with that.

                  I've never successfully returned. The son said it was open every day from about noon to 5 pm ... well, I found that untrue and was just as unhappy as his mom about that. Then it went into rainy season and when the carwash is closed, so is the bbq.

                  Actually, I think I may have given the son the bird about a week or so ago driving over from the tamale place. I was at a light and this guy kept yelling at me to get my attention which I was ignoring and finally turned to look. He said something I thought was a personal comment and as I drove off, a few blocks down it hit me .. dang ... that was probably the bbq guy and it was a joke. Will have to stop by ... he's a nice guy despite not always showing up on time ... or at all ... so I think he wil just think it was funny. It must be good bbq if they built a totally different business on it.

                  1. re: rworange
                    rworange May 28, 2009 02:15 AM

                    Oh yeah, I forgot. They have a really brief menu. However, they make items other than what is on the menu. If I find my notes ... good luck with that ... I'll post what they have.

                    I kept hoping to get back there before really posting anything about it, though I've made a few brief mentions here and there.

                    They also make hamburgers, so a char-grilled burger might not be a bad thing to give a try either.

                    1. re: rworange
                      Melanie Wong Jun 1, 2009 05:19 PM

                      Thanks, so you're a regular?

                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                        rworange Jun 1, 2009 05:57 PM

                        Nope. Only one visit. It was that they were just firing up the grill, so I had lots of time to chat. I get the vibe the best time to stop by would be on a weekend on a sunny day. Hopefully the stars will all align one of these days and I'll be there at the right time on an empty stomach.

                        1. re: rworange
                          Melanie Wong Jun 27, 2009 11:36 PM

                          I drove by before 8pm tonight (Saturday), but no bbq action. Maybe too late. There are at least three smoker rigs, maybe four corraled there.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                            rworange Jun 28, 2009 12:48 AM

                            We seem to be shadowing each other over this past week. I drove by today about noon ... on a sunny day like today ... on a weekend ... if they were going to hit the barbeque it would be today. Nothing.

                            Also, I've had some business down that way over the past few weeks and other than my unfortunate encounter at a stoplight ... nothing has been going on. In fact, I was wondering if the carwash itself went out of business for a while. They were washing cars today, but no bbq.

                            There's a second carwash two blocks down and they seem to also have a bbq setup. I've been keeping an eye on that but nothing so far.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                              rworange Jul 17, 2009 04:20 PM

                              I was in the area Thursday and really driving down Market St to see if the new BBQ place was open ... it isn't yet but work seems to be progressing.

                              Anyway, I was passing by the other car wash on the corner of MacArthur and Market and noticed a sign that read "Free BBQ with car wash Sunday - Wednesday". The name painted on the building is Classic & Classy Enterprise and here is one of the few references I found.
                              http://www.yellowbot.com/classic-classy-enterprise-llc-oakland-ca.html

                              There's no reference on yelp, so maybe it is just a former business no one painted over. There is still car wash activity going on there.

                              Honestly, I have yet to see signs of bbq at either Burley's or this place but maybe I'm just passing by at the wrong time. Anyway, I thought I'd pass it along, FWIW. Don't want to add a place record till I know for sure.

                              That area of Market from MacArthur to a little beyond San Pablo is just full of fried fish places. Some of them are hidden in Mexican restaurants. I forgot where I read it, maybe yelp, but one of those Mexican joints is suppsoed to have great fried fish.

                              There was a place I swear I never saw before driving down that road called BFC on 3112 Market. I stopped by to pick up a menu, but they didn't have one yet. I asked if they were new and they said no, the place was there for years.

                              Well, yes and no.

                              Digging around and backracking to yelp, it seems it was once called Emma's which people liked. In early 2009 it changed to Tastees, which people didn't like. However, within the last few months they are back up to a four star rating, so maybe the Emma's crew is back with a new name. The coconut pineapple cake got a thumbs up.

                              The cakes looked good. I asked if they made them and they said no, they had some lady make them. They looked better than the Casandra's cakes that are usually sold at these types of joints. So ... one of these days I'll give them a try. Anyone been to BFC or any of the fried fish places in that section?

                              Here's an old 2005 Chowhound report about Emma's
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/34414

                              I might have actually stopped by Red Buffalo finally for the wings or Po Boys, but they had a sign that they were closed until 4pm.

                              1. re: rworange
                                Melanie Wong Jul 17, 2009 09:56 PM

                                What's the name of the taco truck parked across from red buffalo? Drove by last weekend, was paying more attention to RB and missed it.

                                1. re: Melanie Wong
                                  rworange Jul 17, 2009 11:51 PM

                                  Will note it next time I'm down that way.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                                    rworange Jul 29, 2009 10:29 PM

                                    El Torero Tacos and Tortas

                                    I jotted down the phone and address, but seem to have misplaced it. Will update this post if I tried it.

                                    I have a good vibe about it. Pretty straight foward menu with meat choices that include lesser seen sesos (brains, right?). They had some sort of enchaladas but I couldn't read what type. norte... something.Burritos, tortas and aqua frescas complete the menu.

                                    i just picked up wings at Red Buffalo, so didn't give it a try this time.

                                    As to the carwash BBQ... I think they are discontinued at both places. I stopped by the place with free bbq with a car wash ... and though the sign was still displayed and it was Wednesday, they said they discontinued it. What ticks me off about this is that the sign is a folding sandwich sign and there is no reason they should actually be moving that sign to the sidewalk if they don't do bbq ... just carry it inside.

                                    1. re: rworange
                                      Melanie Wong Jul 30, 2009 12:46 AM

                                      There's a taqueria a little north of Red Buffalo on the other side of the street that I think has the same name as the truck.

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong
                                        rworange Jul 30, 2009 08:09 AM

                                        Found the truck address

                                        5801 International Blvd
                                        Oakland, CA
                                        510-632-1586

                                        The little taqueria sitting by itself on the triangle? I think it is a different name but I might be down that way today or tommorrow and take a look. I think it is another name.

                                        I got shut out with the system being down last night. Here's a link to Red Buffalo

                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/640631

                                        1. re: rworange
                                          c
                                          Constant Velocity Jul 30, 2009 09:52 AM

                                          The taqueria on the triange where Market and San Pablo meet is El Asadero. Earlier this month, it was reported in the Oakland Trib that someone drove their car into it at 2 in the morning . . .

                                          1. re: Constant Velocity
                                            rworange Jul 30, 2009 10:20 AM

                                            Thanks. That's it. They are actually open. The car crashed in the back of the restaurant and that looks like a mess, but I saw the open sign on going by.

                  2. l
                    lll Jun 12, 2005 08:50 PM

                    We passed it last night too, on our way
                    to Pizziaolo (which was great).
                    We made a mental note to look for it again.

                    1. s
                      susancinsf Jun 12, 2005 01:38 AM

                      I drive by there fairly sometimes in the afternoon and have never seen a smoker...will try and look for it now....and will ask my son, who lives a few blocks away, to keep an eye out.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: susancinsf
                        m
                        Melanie Wong Jun 12, 2005 01:48 AM

                        Maybe it's a gypsy smoker who shows up on Friday afternoons or weekends. Keep us posted.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          c
                          Constant Velocity Jun 13, 2005 03:14 PM

                          Their sign says "hot links." I had passed it on a Friday and vowed to go back--tried on a Saturday but it had metamorphosed into a car wash and detailing operation. So I think that perhaps it's weekdays only.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                            z
                            zippo Jul 17, 2009 07:24 PM

                            i rode past that corner this afternoon, Friday, at about 12:30 or 1 pm and someone was setting up one of several smokers on that southwest corner of MacArthur and MLK. No smoke was yet coming out. Was on a bus so didn't check it out but if Friday afternoon is one of their days, then I'll try and scope it out in the next few weeks.

                            1. re: zippo
                              Melanie Wong Jul 18, 2009 12:14 AM

                              Activity! This smoker mystery has been going on for more than four yrs now. Maybe with more eyes on the street, especially yours, we'll learn something.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                z
                                zippo Jul 31, 2009 05:57 PM

                                I went to Burley's this afternoon about 2 pm and talked to Archie who runs the bbq and he said that he would be cooking every day for the next few weeks except for Mondays. He said that he would start in the mornings but wasn't setting up today due to work problems. When I asked if I could get some video of him talking about the operation, he suggested that I come back tomorrow, Saturday. If I can't get there this weekend, will hit it up again next week. At this point, I am firmly convinced that Burley's bbq is in operation, and that the story behind it, whatever it may be, is an interesting one.

                                1. re: zippo
                                  rworange Jul 31, 2009 06:32 PM

                                  Looking forward to your report.

                                  I drove by today and it looked like the guy I remember was there (Archie). I was going to stop and apologize for flipping him the bird because I didn't remember him at the time and thought he was someone who was harrassing me ... but ... the bbq wasn't set up ... I wasn't sure it was him ... and at this point the chase has become too much for me. Did wind up with some nice Jamaican jerk chicken instead nearby on San Pablo.

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/641076

                                  Anyway, if you do report, hope you will start a new thread as this is meandering and an actual report might get buried in it.

                                  1. re: zippo
                                    Melanie Wong Jul 31, 2009 07:05 PM

                                    Awesome! And at this point, I think that video is the only proof that could be convincing. ;-)

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