There's two kinds of restaurants in this world: the ones that bring instant name recognition (in the case of the East Bay, there's Chez Panisse) and the sleeper hits that have great local buzz in the community, but not nationwide acclaim (such as Brown Sugar Kitchen.)
The "household name" restaurants are burdened with living up to great expectations as their reputations precede them; their merit is often hotly contested on an ongoing basis at Yelp and other review sites. The underground sensations just keep quietly doing their own, wonderful thing, with only those in the know appreciating these local gems.
Chop Bar, located near Jack London Square in Oakland, is one of those places that you only tell a select special circle of food aficionado friends about because a) you know they'll appreciate it and b) you want it to be popular, but not so popular that you can't get in and/or it loses its charm. It's the go-to place for me and my husband to get a burger. We'll force ourselves to go on long, arduous bike rides so we feel that we've earned that burger and not feel guilty about the bacon and cheese that's heaped upon it. (I would write sonnets about their burger if I could write decent poetry.)
Then there's their monthly spring/summer all-you-can-eat pig roasts that brings out the carnivores in full force. Using a la caja china, or "The Chinese Box," the Chop Bar folks host a big pig party on the 3rd Sunday of every month during prime porcine season. The lids of the wooden boxes are filled with charcoal and provide a consistent heat that cook the pigs to perfection.
Yesterday was their first big affair hosted at the Linden Street Brewery as the event had outgrown their restaurant space. Four big pigs from local farmer John Bledsoe were on deck for the hungry crowd. Check out photos from their fantastic feast.
Brunch 9am- 3pm
Dinner 5:30- 11pm
Brunch 9am- 3pm
Dinner 5:30- 10pm
Pig roast third Sunday of every month