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Everett Jones BBQ in JLS Oakland

  • h

Ate here for the first time near Jack London Square

Beef Brisket was dry. I was disappointed. Even the brisket at Hometown Buffet at Southland Hayward was much better and moist. This is inexcusable.

Chicken was much better with crispy skin and moist meat. Smokiness was on the light side.

Service can be improved here. Our waitress was slow. Getting extra plates took forever. The bill was wrong and took forever to correct. She even forgot things.

I heard so much praise for this restaurant - did I go to the wrong branch ?

I need moist flavorful beef brisket recs - thanks !

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  1. Although I haven't been in probably about two years, I liked their Berkeley location. On both of my two visits to their JLS location, I had slow, rude service and cold sides and never went back. I usually order a two-way with chicken and hotlinks, sauce on the side, otherwise your food will be swimming in it.

    12 Replies
    1. re: adrienne156

      I did order the sauces on the side. The sauces are decent, I can vouch for that. I had the hot and the mild.

      But the smoked meats (chicken and brisket)....no way they can be called great.

      1. re: Han

        No, I wouldn't say they are great, but I have yet to find "great" barbecue anywhere in the bay area. E&J is more of a fix for me than anything. Have you tried Memphis Minnie's brisket? I recall Civil Bear and Robert Lauriston (amongst others) rave about MM's brisket.

        1. re: adrienne156

          Memphis Minnie's has great brisket, though I'm more of a spare ribs guy.

          Uncle Willie's brisket is worth a try:


          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I've always really liked MM's spare ribs also, although it's been a while since I had them.

            1. re: Mick Ruthven

              Yeah, their spareribs are some of the best I know of these days.

              I head by there with the idea of getting some fairly regularly, but usually can't find parking and give up.

                1. re: Willtryitonce

                  Last time i compared, Memphis Minnie's prices were actually about 5% less than Lilly's and Big Nate's. Judging from the other businesses nearby, retail rents can't be too high.

                  Or are you talking about E&J at Jack London Square? Uncle Willie's is not far away and is better and cheaper. The prices might be lower at the funkier E&J location on San Pablo in Berkeley.

            2. re: adrienne156

              for brisket (ribs too for that matter) in Oakland there's at least three places better than E&J--Uncle Willie's (14th St), Phatt Matt's (Telegraph, just north of the Oasis market), and Taste of Joy (eastern end of Grand Ave).

              1. re: moto

                Thanks for the suggestions! And, I totally agree on the on the first two, haven't been to Taste of Joy... I was just wondering what Willtryitonce liked.

          2. re: adrienne156

            Should I have asked for fatty cut on the brisket ? I wonder if that helps.

            1. re: adrienne156

              JLS says it all.Don't waste your hard earned money there.Berkeley one is your best choice its worth the drive. No looneys in berkeley,they serve undercooked pork ribs,(pink).

              1. re: Willtryitonce

                Not a big fan of Looney's, but smoked spare ribs should be pink.

            2. link

              Everett and Jones Barbeque
              126 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607

              1. How often do they have brisket at HB Southland?

                3 Replies
                1. re: chocolatetartguy

                  I measure all briskets to the HB Southland nowadays. It is moist and the seasonings are perfect with slightly sweet sauce on the outside. The inside is usually tender. On the net I see all kinds of better looking briskets - and that is what I am after.

                  HB Southland has briskets only on "certain days". I was told Saturday dinner which begins late afternoon. I also had it on Sundays lunch hours between 1130-130 pm.

                  BTW, their steaks are quite decent but you have to ask medium rare or they give you overcooked dry steak. This place has many stellar dishes on their buffet menu. Fried chicken, fish and soups to name a few. Not all HB's are the same but this one is the best out of 5 HB's places I tried. Fremont comes second.

                  1. re: Han

                    Thanks for tip about the brisket. Glad not to be the only HTB devotee. I have only been to the Pinole branch and I think that their forte is the fried chicken and the bbq beef ribs. I like the cornbread too.

                    As to brisket, I used to swear by the sandwiches at Saul's in Berkeley. Haven't had it in a while though . When I really need a fix, I go to Brennan's. Sometimes the brisket is quite good.

                    1. re: Han

                      You're talking about brisket in general rather than barbecue, right?

                      It's much easier to cook brisket just right if you braise. Getting it to come out moist from a pit smoker is an art.

                  2. Tried this Everett Jones once and that was enough for me. Had the ribs and sampled my wife's links--everything was tough and dry. "Not great" is putting it kindly, in my estimation.

                    I also remember the service leaving something to be desired. We had made a reservation, but could barely get anyone to even register a response when we told them so.

                    1. I'll give another enthusiastic vote for the brisket at Memphis Minnies. Fantastic, tender, heavily smoked slices of meat that needs no sauce whatsoever.
                      Bo's in Lafayette is also very good. I've only been once but I want to go back, nice smoky brisket with a salt rub sort've thing going on, definitely right up there with Minnie's.
                      If you're ever stuck at the much lauded E & J again try the home-made links, it's the only think I like there besides the sauce.

                      Memphis Minnie's BBQ
                      576 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                      Bo's Barbecue
                      3422 Mount Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: virtualguthrie

                        I''ll second this post. Bo's has the best brisket in the east bay, but nothing compares to MM's IMO.

                        I also found pretty good brisket at Pit Boss in Richmond and at Roadside in SF.

                        Still looking for impressive spareribs in the Bay Area though...

                        Roadside BBQ
                        3751 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

                        Pit Boss Barbeque
                        12889 San Pablo Ave, Richmond, CA

                        1. re: Civil Bear

                          >Still looking for impressive spareribs in the Bay Area though<

                          You don't like MM's spareribs?

                          1. re: Mick Ruthven

                            I have tried them twice, and both times they were dry and not very meaty.

                            The dilemma now is that MM's brisket is so consistently good I don't dare skip it to take a third chance on the ribs.

                      2. I go the Berkeley location of E&J's regularly for lunch, I love the home made beef links. Like many BBQ places they have good days and bad days, though more of the former IMO. Since everything is slow smoked, I figure it's hard to gauge how much food to make and if you have a slow dayt and make too much it's gonna end up dry.

                        I really like the brisket and beef rib at T-Rex.

                        T-Rex Barbeque
                        1300 10th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

                        1. Your experience mirors mine at this location. It's sad that at their flagship store nothing measures up to the quality or service of any of their other locations.

                          I still go to E&J, just not the JLS one.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Scrapironchef

                            JLS might be the flagship but it isn't the oldest or the mothership, which is Berkeley/San Pablo. I think that explains a lot. But I agree...E&J in Berkeley is better. Product turn over seems to be higher and you're not there being waited on.

                            1. re: ML8000

                              I always thought the "flagship/mothership" for E&J was the one on Fruitvale.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                In 1975 I worked at Kennedy's Bar next door to the Fruitvale location and those ribs & links were always a 10 at 2:am....

                              2. re: ML8000

                                Didn't there also used to be a E&J on Third St. in S.F.'s Bayview back in the 80's

                            2. My lovely lady and I had the misfortune of eating there on Valentine's Day. We were going to see my friend perform at a nearby bar, and stopped in for some food. We had no reservation, but we only waited 20 mins. for a table. Once sat, we ordered the combo platter to share. It took over an hour to get our food. Inexcusable. The waitress would come by every 10-15 minutes and say "Oh, you're food should be ready in just a minute" The people at the next table were sat immediately before us, ordered the same thing, and were already done and gone by the time we got our food. After 45 minutes of waiting, I began to get really angry. I've spent many years in the hospitality biz, and normally don't sweat the small stuff much, but I almost walked out without even paying for my drinks when the food arrived. The plate was absolutely swimming in sauce, wish I had ordered it on the side. Didn't like the ribs or chicken at all, the brisket was ok at best, but I did like the hot links. Terrible service (without even an apology-I didn't ask for anything comped, I just wanted to get the hell out of there as we were already late for our show), and less than mediocre food, makes me swear to never return.

                              1. I went to the JLS branch once and was really underwhelmed - the ribs were almost all gristle. The hot links were better, but not amazing - everything was a little dried out, which seems consistent with all the other reports.

                                Got the same things at the Hayward branch last night, and they were way, way better. Good, meaty ribs, way smokier than the ones I'd had at JLS, and the hot links were fantastic - really light, almost fluffy in texture. The Hayward branch is really more for takeout (all of the orders are taken at the counter, although you can sit and eat at one of the small tables inside).

                                Everett and Jones Barbeque
                                296 A St, Hayward, CA 94541

                                1. Lunched at Everett & Jones in JLS last Friday. It was my 3rd time in, oh, the past 18 months. I really didn't enjoy the place in my 1st two visits - food was dry & oversauced. But my colleagues were die-hard BBQ fans.

                                  Last Friday was different tho - the waitress was cheerful & very friendly. The barbecued ribs & chicken were perfect. Simply loved the bread that came with the entrees, too! I didn't expect myself to say this - but I really enjoyed my E&J meal. Maybe they just need to be more consistent with their cooking & service.

                                  1. My husband and I recently tasted from eight BBQ places in the East Bay to choose one for my party.
                                    Best brisket for us was Uncle Willie's BBQ and Fish on 14th St. in downtown Oakland. Tender brisket, complex sauce. Best chicken was KC's on San Pablo in Berkeley.
                                    We found Everett and Jones (JLS) to be dry and their sauce a bit too sweet.

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: ola

                                      I've had brisket from Uncle Willie's I think three times and it was consistently excellent, plus they have some of the best hot sauce anywhere.

                                      Uncle Willie's BBQ and Fish
                                      614 14th St, Oakland, CA 94612

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        Recently revisited Uncle Willie's myself, and concur on the brisket and hot sauce. I could stand a little more smoke, and prefer sliced rather than chunked, but it's tender, moist and good. The sauce as much less sweet than the average around here and has a lot going on. Generally good but a bit uneven and not as good as Uncle Willie's are Chef Edwards' and KC.

                                        1. re: twocents

                                          Hmmm...chunked? Sauce? That's how you hide mediocre brisket. But RL is usually spot on, so I'll have to give it a try.

                                          MM does have the brisket that, on a good day, is a rival for any good Central Texas brisket. They can do a nice job, but consistency is an issue.

                                          1. re: epicurious_sf

                                            The brisket at Willie's is solid -- definitely not mediocre -- but the hot sauce is the real star. Everything else we tried there was pretty terrible, though.

                                            1. re: epicurious_sf

                                              Some places will cut the smoked point cut into chunks, as it doesn't make the pretty slices like the flat will. Personally, I'll take chunks of point cut over sliced flat cut of brisket any day.

                                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                Melanie- will you be at Morgan Hill on 5/8? If so, please stop by for some "chunks"!

                                                1. re: Civil Bear


                                                  Yes, I'll be in Morgan Hill. I'm on the judging panel, so no "fraternization" until the scores are in. But I'd love to try your brisket afterwards. Looks to be a terrific contest with 46 teams so far!

                                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                    Yes, 46 teams - with at least half being rookie teams! Sounds like you are in for a treat..heh..heh..(j/k).

                                                    Please come on by afterwards....if you have room!

                                            2. re: twocents

                                              I'm pretty sure what I've had has been sliced.

                                          2. re: ola

                                            Chicken is one of the things I now rarely order and even when I do and it is fantastic I'm reluctant to recommend. The amazing chicken on one visit is bone dry on another. It is a matter of timing. The chicken I had at KC's was like leather on my visit.

                                            1. re: rworange

                                              Thank goodness they were not allowed to bring their lame game to the Lake Merrit Boathouse.

                                              Taco Tuesday rules!

                                          3. I live in the Bay Area's arch enemy city...LOS ANGELES...GO DOGERS and yes I am a Raiders fan....some one has to love them...AL Davis surely doesn't!!
                                            I come up a few times a year to visit my daughter and I cannot wait to get to Everett & Jones...it is the best I have ever had from a pick up joint..bar none! The help help is friendly and the ambiance is absolutely perfect...just plain funky. Unlike most places I have been to...E&J is consistantly great...I have yet to be disapointed.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: rmeyers

                                              Imagine how you would feel if you went to one of the *actually good* BBQ joints!

                                              1. re: rmeyers

                                                Due to your choice to live in LA and love of the Raiders, you are undoubtedly a difficult person to disappoint.

                                                In a manner somewhat similar to the La Pinata restaurants in the bay area, each individual E&J is operated by a different family member, and has its own feel. E&J in Hayward is consistently better than in Jack London Square. I imagine it's because it is smaller, with less people in the kitchen, only does BBQ, but is still quite busy.

                                                JLS has a few consistency issues... sometimes the meat seems dry and reheated. Generally, I've found manufactured ambiance to be a detriment to good BBQ. People have an image of eating BBQ at something like Armadillo Willys, but I've found the best in California to be no frills, smoky goodness.

                                                LA does have some excellent BBQ. Phillips on Crenshaw right at the Hwy 10 exit is consistently the best BBQ I've had. Busy. Take out only. rib tips, pork ribs, links and chicken. You can only order the hot or the mixed sauce. Mild is a waste of time. I've picked up the $150 catering tray, at straight out of it at the bench, and drove the rest straight up Hwy 5 home. Check it out.

                                                Jack London Square
                                                70 Washington St # 207, Oakland, CA

                                                La Pinata
                                                904 Rose St, Hayward, CA 94541

                                                1. re: Jumbo_Jack

                                                  As someone who has eaten at Willy's often over the years I find your comment a little condenscending - hopefully not how it was meant. Smokers, check, attention to cooking, check, quality meats, check, sauces on side, check, ribs, brisket, chicken, sausage at the minimum, check, occasional quality slips, check. I think for a difficult medium they are often very good. I find them better than the several E & J's that I have visited on side dishes, service, presentation, consistency and cleanliness.

                                              2. I was at the JLSq location getting some take out a few weeks ago and had a quick conversation with another guy waiting in line...he said Hayward was much better then the other branches. If 2-3 people here say so and a guy waiting in line, high probability.