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Restaurants & Bars 14

Pinole - BBQ smoked meats . . . smoked franks with 50 toppings.

rworange | Dec 4, 200511:32 PM

There are just times when I don’t have my chowhound collar on and don’t pay attention. While it was interesting that a BBQ-like a train with the number 9 was smoking up a parking lot in Pinole … well … too many stops at too many average places.

So I wasn’t prepared when the owner warmed up on the subject of hot dogs “I love everything about hot dogs” he said and proceeded to have a long discourse about the perfect bun. I wasn’t really taking mental notes and by time I woke up another customer walked up.

Prepared for the usual boiled Miller dog, I asked if the dog was just boiled or actually smoked … it was smoked by default since the dogs sat inside the smoker and according to Wily were baked. Not sure about the method, but the Miller skinless dog picked up a nice smoky flavor.

The buns are from Athena bakery in Oakland and according to Wiley he is the distributor of this bun to many of the local restaurants and sporting events. You can’t buy this bun retail. Apologize for missing the details on the perfect bun.

Wiley also makes tri tip, ribs and, he said dreamily, sometimes pork loin. A plate of ribs with mashed potatoes and some other side was $6. Dog was $2 and Polish sausage was $3.

When he asked me what condiments I wanted, I declined since I wanted to focus on the smoky frank, but asked if he had sauerkraut, Wily said he doesn’t get a lot of requests for kraut but he loves the stuff and his kraut is cooked in beer.

That’s when he started talking with enthusiasm about his dog train (cart?) and the 50 toppings. When he gets this up and running (soon) he will be cooking the franks in beer. He then proudly pulled out a picture of the dog train.

Since I didn’t order a condiment, he gave me some free homemade macaroni salad on the side. At first I thought it had a mashed consistency with too much mayo … then the chili and pickle kicked in. Neither flavor dominates but gives some interesting notes. I’d order this next time.

The bun was too large for the dog, but that was because I ordered it naked. This is a bun that revels in toppings and gladly takes them on.

Biggles – Shep . . . assignment if you are in the area. Certainly seems like it is worth a special trip from the areas you live in to check it out.

I’d be interested in Biggles opinion on the Q. I think you’ll find a kindred spirit here. It is one of those black drum smokers that look like oil cans.

And if you are interested, a block up is a great little Mexican meat market at the corner of San Pablo and Apian Way. Nice home made sausages. Haven’t tried the tamales yet, but they whisper my name ever time I drive by.

Wiley said that the BBQ was part of The Villa Bar. Again, not really paying attention until too late. I know for sure he is there on Sunday afternoon but it seems like he may be there almost ever day since he told one woman that the only day he was closed was Thanksgiving.

You can probably get more info by calling The Villa. If you guys don’t check it out, I’ll stop by next week. Hopefully the dog train will be there with the 50 toppings.

Oh yeah, good news and bad news. Bad news … RIP Moon doggie in Pinole that hot dog shrine to Elvis. Good news … it remains a dog house and Sam’s of El Sobrante is expanding its empire. Moondoggie is now Sam’s 2. Wiley sells the buns there.

Also, the El Sobrante Red Onion seems to have re-opened. Not sure who the new owners are or if it is still a Red Onion. Even though that particular Red Onion wasn’t my favorite, the sign that said ‘closed forever’ made me sad.

The Villa
1299 San Pablo Ave
Pinole, CA 94564

(510) 724-4522

If traveling up San Pablo from El Cerrito toward Hercules and you hit Apian way, you missed it and turn around.

It’s really stupid, but I actually went out of my way for the hot dog. Spotted it on the way to church and stopped by afterward, but no one was around … just a smoking BBQ. I just kept focusing on the possibility of the only non-boiled dog in the greater San Pablo area and made a special trip back later to check it out.

Maybe I can talk him into carrying Fearless franks. He didn’t seem tied to the Miller frank, only the Athena bun.

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