A hidden treasure at the water’s edge in East Bay
On the other side of Richmond, all around the point of land that launches the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge towards Marin and houses the Chevron refinery, is a hidden cove with a small marina. Here you will find brightly painted barges alongside more typical marina dwellers; giant sculptures scattered around; a small farm with cattle and yurts; and a waterfront barbecue where, as likely as not, you’ll hear live music floating above the water.
The place is the Port of Point San Pablo, and the restaurant is called – aptly – Black Star Pirate BBQ (1900 Stenmark Dr., Richmond). It opened in September and has been drawing crowds for months to this sleepy little community, which has the distinct Burning Man-esque feeling of an artists’ colony, from the oversized sculptures to the common library in the bathroom. from the marina.
Casual dining on the terrace of the Black Star Pirate BBQ | Photo: Laila Weir / Hoodline
Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and with live music every afternoon, Chef Tony Carracci serves Southern-style barbecues, all locally sourced and organic. Visitors will find a mouth-watering selection of meats alongside vegetarian options and a dizzying array of side dishes, from coleslaw and greens to all manner of potatoes to oatmeal and mac and cheese. And then there is the bar.
The food is tasty and the drinks cold, but the customers come for the setting at least as much as the food (at least the first time). The casual and colorful outdoor patio overlooks the harbor and calm waters where the bay meets the delta, a particularly serene and unspoiled section of the Bay Area waterways.
View of the barges from the restaurant terrace | Photo: Laila Weir / Hoodline
Probably few guests manage to visit the restaurant without wandering around the rest of the harbor (neither should they), discovering the art, the farm, the small beach and the boats. You can walk a bit along the coast along old railway tracks or go watch goats, chickens and pigs meandering around the small farm.
The restaurant is located on the water’s edge at the entrance to the marina. | Photo: Laila Weir / Hoodline
It’s a quirky, beautiful, and tucked away haven that feels secluded from the rest of the Bay Area, although it’s only a short (and very scenic drive) north of the bridge. Richmond-San Rafael. But with the advent of the Black Star Pirate BBQ, that’s anything but unknown. The crowds don’t take anything away from the experience – in fact, the hubbub increases the feeling of discovering a hidden, bustling party you never knew was there – but it does mean future diners should plan a waiting.
Visitors climb onto and into a mosaic-covered sculpture of a huge lizard. Photo: Laila Weir / Hoodline
In keeping with the relaxed atmosphere of the place, the restaurant is independent. You order at the counter, then hang up a picnic table to eat. During particularly busy hours, guests can relax on an infinity patio and sip a drink until they are notified that their food is ready. There are lots of scenic views and lots of atmosphere to soak up while you wait.
The queue for the barbecue is getting longer on a recent Sunday afternoon. | Photo: Laila Weir / Hoodline
Customers can order platters ranging from one meat and two sides ($ 19) to four meat and four sides ($ 73) or a la carte. Current “meats” are brisket, three tips, pork ribs, pulled pork or chicken, smoked turkey, and grilled portobello mushrooms.
Customers wait at the entrance to the restaurant. | Photo: Laila Weir / Hoodline
Point San Pablo Harbor and the Black Star Pirate BBQ are located at 1900 Stenmark Drive, Richmond. For more information: www.blackstarpig.com, (510) 680-1221