Carolyn S. Alexander, the co-owner of and chef at Oakland’s The Brick Pig’s House comes from a family of entrepreneurs. Her work is a source of abundant pleasure and pride, drawing on nearly 100 years of family tradition that traveled from Arkansas to California decades ago.
It’s no wonder, then, that her barbeque is both steeped in the tastiest barbecue sauce you might ever taste in your life and a whole lot of love. Love imbues every line and gesture of this warm-hearted woman, as it does the simple lines of the cozily-built Brick Pig’s. As a customer you feel it, in ways big and small.
“Hi, darling!” Carolyn greets a patron who comes through the door, ready to pick up his lunch order. Turning back to me with a warm smile, she says, “You gotta give love for everybody.” There, in a nutshell, you have the business philosophy of Brick Pig’s. In current entrepreneur-speak, you might call them a “benefit corporation” of sorts, well before the business world ever branded that phrase and idea.
Carolyn and her husband of 43 years, Barry Alexander, the co-owner and manager of Brick Pig’s, have been offering up their love and singular Southern-style BBQ to the Oakland community and surrounding Bay Area since they opened their doors in 2006. They serve pork ribs, halal beef brisket (Yes, you read it right. The surprising and oh-so-tasty offering is a recent addition because, as Carolyn puts it, “Once you know better, do better.”), chicken, cornbread, potato salad, sweet potato pie, apple, blackberry, and peach cobblers and so much more. Absolutely all of it is mouth-wateringly, lip-smackingly, finger-and-plate-lickingly good. The reviews on Yelp attest to it.