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The money Rob Zavatero saved in avoiding high-rent districts like Walnut Creek goes toward buying the best meats, such as Niman Ranch pork and Mary’s chickens. It also makes for prices that defy the weighty portions. (Sides are purchased separately.) Zavatero’s keen use of oak for smoke, and apple and cherry woods for flavor, makes for a sweet, subtle perfume. If you’re looking for a combo, go for some charred ribs and supple brisket. Or if you’re after a sandwich, the pulled pork is as soft as the killer coleslaw is crunchy. And if you’re on a budget, stick with a big side of smoky beans: It has nearly as much pork as beans. Formerly Smokey D’s, Beaver Creek has turned the neglected back patio into an oasis that calls for kicking back and enjoying one of the beers on tap. This is an order-at-the-counter joint, and the cashier on duty on our visit was as sweet as the bourbon bread pudding, which has a kick to match. Lunch Mon.–Sat., dinner Thurs.–Sat.
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