Brisket, pulled pork, chicken, ribs, and sausages will soon be smoked around the clock in East County at The Pioneer, which is opening this week San Carlos after a quick redo. Serving lunch and dinner daily, the barbecue restaurant and bar should be a welcome addition to the area. Pioneer is planning to do brisk takeout businesses as well as offering catering service.
The project is a partnership between Willie DePasquale (Moceri Produce) and longtime friend Hanis Cavin, executive chef and founder of Carnitas’ Snack Shack. With consulting help from Ivan Munoz (The Deck at Moonshine Flats), their menu includes smoked meat combos served with Texas toast and sides, brisket-topped burgers, whiskey-glazed meatloaf sandwiches, and a twist on classic burnt ends using pork belly.
Cavin, who’s known for his penchant for pork, sports a tattoo of a whole hog on his arm; a large-scale replica decorates the front of the new eatery, which was redesigned by Philippe Beltran (BO-beau kitchen + caché, Draft Republic, Tacos Libertad) in a rustic style that includes vintage lamps, crates, and wheelbarrows and an American flag assembled from balloon mold grids. A circular bar, which holds 14 taps of beer, will also be an oasis for craft cocktails. The list, overseen by bar manager Ren Perakis, includes a broad range of cocktails, from frozen rosé with vodka, peach, and strawberry juice to Pale Face, a mix of fat-washed bourbon, Old Overholt Rye, amaro, grape nectar, and cracked black pepper.