By Mike Kinney
BBQ beef brisket cooked for 14 hours, spare ribs in which the meat falls right off the bone and candied sweet potatoes are now all mainstays at Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor in Richmond.
On Saturday, Oct. 3, Black Star Pirate BBQ will celebrate its grand opening at the harbor located at 1900 Stenmark Drive. The eatery is operating in the space formerly occupied by Nobilis.
Black Star Pirate BBQ is a relatively new venture by owner Tony Carracci, a colorful industry veteran who owned Cha Cha Cha on Haight Street in San Francisco in the 1980s and well-known San Francisco nightclubs like Cat Club, Pounds-SF and Fat City in the 1990s and 2000s.
Throughout his career, whether he’s owned a restaurant or worked in one, he’s kept cooking. In fact, he’s been cooking since age 7.
“When I was growing up my family was very poor,” Carracci said. “So, I started to learn how to cook when I was about seven years old and my mother would show me what to do. I would be cooking for a family of five. I figured when I came out of school, if I got a job in a restaurant, I wouldn’t go hungry.”
Perhaps this is the reason his customers don’t go hungry.
Carracci launched Black Star Pig Company earlier this year. The business began as a food truck operating in Marin County, and it would roll over to Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor to serve at events.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, both Nobilis and Carracci’s food truck business were unable to operate at the harbor. Eventually, Carracci learned Nobilis had closed for good and the space was up for grabs.
Carracci took over and brought his BBQ to the space, but with the adjusted name Black Star Pirate BBQ, named for its harbor location.
“We have two huge decks where we can serve our BBQ to our patrons that can serve 40 people with safe social distancing,” he said. “We also have an outdoor art gallery next to the restaurant and a small private beach where our customers can take their BBQ. Everything is outdoors. Perfect for these times, it is tailor-made for social distancing.”
Carracci says his most popular BBQ brisket dish is “without a doubt” the most popular, along with candied potatoes that his customers say “are to die for.” He also recommends his Cowboy beans made with pinto, black and kidney beans.
And don’t even try asking for baby back ribs.
“That’s for wimps!” Carracci said. “I do the best spare ribs. They fall right of the bone. When I cook a full pork, I use vinegar, mustard and beer, it really gets the job done. When I do the BBQ rub on the meat, I use 12 different spices.”
The BBQ sauce is house made, and customers can choose between Original, Spicy, Jerk, Mustard, Blueberry and several other sauces.
Menu prices for brisket or tri-tip can run around $22. The candied sweet potatoes are $7 and a sandwich served with brisket and cowboy beans served on a Ciabatta roll is $16. All of the sides that Carracci serves are vegan or vegetarian.
Black Star Pirate BBQ’s grand opening event on Oct. 3 will run from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and feature, naturally, BBQ, as well as New Orleans-style Blues music.
Whether it’s cooking for his family, or cooking for the community of Richmond, Carracci’s goal remains the same.
“Our real goal is we put a lot of love into what we cook, and we like to feed people,” he said.