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Sneaky’s BBQ Shuts Down After 12 Years

Carolina-style BBQ no more. Sneaky’s closes after serving up BBQ to bar-goers since 2008
By - posted 7/20/2020 No Comment

Another one bites the dust. In an email to its mailing list today, the Bay Area’s Sneaky’s BBQ announced that it was closing for good after 12 years in operation.

Thank you for your years of support” – Ben, Sneaky’s

Having started in the underground food scene, then moving to Rebel and Southpaw, the Carolina-style BBQ, served SF and the greater Bay Area since 2008 with catering, home delivery, and pop-ups.

Please note the closure was announced via an email to their mailing list on July 20, 2020 at 3:13pm but there isn’t any mention yet on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook as of press time.

Sneaky’s is closing

July 20, 2020 – 3:13pm

Hello, everyone. I hope this finds you as well as can be, given everything that is, and has been, going on. I am writing to officially announce that after 12 years of operation, Sneaky’s is closing. There are many reasons for this, but I would like to take this opportunity to instead focus on the positivity of the last dozen years.

I have held off on sending this email for longer than I should have, because the situation is sad and frustrating. At the same time, I am extremely thankful and grateful, because we would not have been able to do what we had the pleasure of doing were it not for you. Thank you for your years of support and patronage, for spreading the word to your friends and family, for coming to one of our pop-ups or events, for coming to the early days of Rebel or the late years of Southpaw BBQ, and for just generally being a part of the community we so loved serving.

Sneaky’s started with Pat Wachter, one of my best friends, as we made BBQ in various back yards and kitchen spaces in San Francisco and Oakland. In those days, it was all late nights. early mornings, and long days spent smoking and cooking, followed by a day or two of delivery each week. We got to know our supporters personally, and we were able to grow because so many people took a chance on two dudes making Carolina-style BBQ. Through sheer dumb luck, we started at the beginning of what became a burgeoning underground food scene in the Bay Area, one that produced establishments that are still going today (Pizza Hacker, Bicycle Banh Mi/Little Window, Wes Burger, Salty Sweet Baking, Native Baking, many more). We learned a lot in that first year, and made some great friendships. Jumping into full service with our friends at the bar Rebel, we learned even more, sometimes the hard way. Restaurant work isn’t easy, but it can be incredibly fun and rewarding, and that’s what I will always remember about those days. (That, and the go-go dancers using our locker area as a dressing room after we had closed down the kitchen for the night.) As our operation grew and shifted in scope, we embraced larger, more diverse, and more frequent events, popping up at bars and clubs all over the Bay for years and years. This eventually led to sharing a kitchen with Bicycle Banh Mi, Salty Sweet Baking, and Voodoo Van. I was lucky to be able to collaborate with Bicycle Banh Mi on many pop-ups, feature Salty Sweet’s excellent cookies in our weekly offerings, and work with Phil and his Voodoo Van crew, eventually bringing him on to run the ship while I focused on running Southpaw. As we incorporated Southpaw into our service, we were finally able to present our food and dining experience in the way we had always dreamed, working with amazing people and serving our home neighborhood of the Mission. Those last 4 years, through the closing of Southpaw in June of 2019, were some of the best years in Sneaky’s existence. I learned so much about food, hard work, service, and humanity. Through it all, we were able to offer food that we took pride in making and serving alongside some of the best people I will ever meet. That’s what makes this so hard: I am going to miss the people, those who served alongside us and those that we served.

Thanks to our old housemates and roommates for being relatively understanding when Sneaky’s 1.0 took over kitchens and refrigerators; Andi/Hot Mess Baking/the Scheves for incredible baked goods and friendship; Ben, Duncan, Paul, and the staff and crew at Rebel for giving us the chance to step up and expand our reach; Eduardo and the crew at Vinyl; Murdo, Rodolfo, and Jose; Heklina, Darcy, Geoff, and the crew at Oasis; Walter, Sunni, May, and Salah; Brian and the crew at the Verdi Club; Lynne and everyone at El Rio; Heklina, Tom, and Stanley/Daytime Realness; Peter B.; Lila, Tom, Gill, and everyone at Virgil’s Sea Room; Chris and everyone at Old Devil Moon; Public Works and the Moth; Mark and Dr. Teeth/Cease and Desist; Jess, her mom, and Bicycle Banh Mi (I’m going to miss the collaborative pop-ups); Walker; Wes and Wes Burger; Phil, Kevin, Big John, Brian, Brandon, and the crew from Voodoo Van; Mike and Savage Tongue Hot Sauce; Mark, Paul, Dave, and the crew at Standard Deviant; Adam and Rice Cracker Sushi; everyone that organized Folsom Street Fair, Burger Boogaloo, Outside Lands, and the other festivals and events we served; DK and Workshop SF; Greg, Chopko, Oli, Adam, Nicole, Andre, Lucas, and the original Sneaky’s crew.

Special thanks to everyone involved in Southpaw: Elizabeth, Zack, Ross, Hermilo, Miguel, Peter, Josh, Vanessa, Lisseth, Mariella, Esperanza, Mimi, Alex, Jesse, Katya, Cornelius, Michelle, Christi, Chandra, Dod, Jenn, Jacob (the worst), Melissa, Stef, Pat, Nadia, Brandi, Jhovany, Isaac, Gabe, and Lauryn. You were my family for years, and you will continue to be, no matter what. Thanks to everyone who sat at the bar with us, ate with us, and spent time with us. You made our neighborhood feel like home. No thanks to wee little Seamus.

Extra special thanks to Pat, Phil, Eric, Garrett, Francisco, and Alex. I could not be more proud to have worked with you, and I would not have been able to do this without you.

Okay, I think that’s it. My sincere apologies to anyone I may have left out. Thank you so much for supporting Sneaky’s BBQ through the years. I’ll never forget it.


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