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Jan 4, 2008 11:05 AM

Oakland - Elves BBQ & Soul Food

This area of Martin Luther King in Oakland has a few barrel BBQ joints – those large, black metal barrels that are cut in half.

I was on my way to the BBQ at Burley’s Auto Detail (McDonald & MLK) but they are only open on sunny days and that day it was too cloudy with a few drizzles.

Continuing down Martin Luther King … I was trying to find the 1/4 burger joint that has barrel BBQ, I saw Elve’s and decided to stop.

Elve’s has been around Oakland in various locations over the years, at one time called “LV’s” Here’s a report from when they were located on San Pablo.

The links are house-made so I went with a half-order that comes with two sides ($7.49)

Links – Sliced on the diagonal, the fine grind had a meatloaf-like satisfaction to them. They had a mild smokiness. Ask for the sauce on the side or they come sauced.

Medium red sauce –sweet, smoky, with a touch of heat. Mild and hot sauce is also available.

Greens - nice coating of pork fat with a piece or two of pork. The link to the previous report mentions the good greens.

Yams – Buttery, soft, sweet yams that seem fresh rather than canned.

Cornbread – dry, but in a good way. I think it is meant to be. It allows you to break pieces of it into the sauce, yams or greens to soak up the goodness. Nice butteriness to it.

The owner is really an nice guy. It’s a tiny space with a few tables, two video games and a shiny juke box with some very cool music. Bright art from a local artist covers the walls. It is a hard-core Oakland neighborhood, so go with those expectations.

I enjoyed the meal and want to try the fried chicken someday. The first link has the rest of the menu.

Elves BBQ & Soul Food
3214 Martin, Luther King Oakland, CA 94620

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  1. MENU

    BBQ - Ribs, links, chicken, beef (Half order /2 sides corn bread or garlic bread $7.49. Full order $13.95

    Soul Food: Steak, pork chop, smothered chicken, fried chicken

    Fried Fish – snapper, fillet of sole, catfish, prawns combo plate $8.95 half-order, $14.95 full order

    Sides: baked beans, greens, red beans and rice, spaghetti

    Pies and cakes

    Chicken specials – wings $3.99, leg/thigh w/fries, $3.99, 3 piece mixed breast/leg/thigh w/fries $4.99 and on up to 20 pieces for $24.99 with mashed potatoes and slaw

    Links and sliced beef also available by the pound. Chicken can be ordered whole of half. Slabs of ribs are available.

    They even have a value menu ($1.15) - corn dog, chili dog, hamburger, taco or fries. The regular hamburger is $3.75

    2 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Do you happen to know if they are open for lunch as well as dinner? It would be a longish walk for me, but some days I can use to have a break from work.

      1. re: Marc Wallace

        Yup. I was there in the early afternoon. I forgot to ask the hours, but I'll bet they are the same as in the linked 2002 post. If you go and remember would you ask the hours. I don't think I'll be down that way again soon.

    2. The description of the greens & cornbread take me back to my childhood in SC. I'm definitely heading there as soon as I can. Fried chicken too, huh?

      1. The original comment has been removed