Matt Horn is a self-taught barbecue man. To perfect his craft, Horn drew on his family’s Oklahoma barbecue heritage and underwent years of what he calls “research and development” with his grandmother’s grill in his native Fresno, California.

In 2017, Horn felt confident enough with his Southern-influenced barbecue to host pop-ups throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s now rooted in Oakland with an eponymous restaurant. Oakland is a wonderful example of how The Great Migration of African Americans brought, and continues to bring, Southern barbecue to the West Coast.

Horn Barbecue, Oakland

I opened my own barbecue takeout restaurant in October 2020. We open at 11 a.m., and there’s usually a line of people waiting. Some of them have been camped out for hours. Our most popular menu items are beef brisket, beef ribs, and the house made hot links. I use several cooking techniques: dry aging our meat, cold smoking, and cooking directly over hot coals.

Lois the Pie Queen, Oakland

This soul food joint specializes in breakfast and lunch. I usually get the smothered chicken, yams, mac ’n’ cheese, and the pies that they’re known for. Their banana cream pie is my favorite. This is a great place with lots of character.

Alkali Rye, Oakland

This is a fine bottle shop. I don’t want to come off as an alcoholic, but I spend a lot of time there. That’s where I go to get gifts, especially bourbon. I like what they’re doing, the story that they’re telling.

Tilden Park Golf Course, Berkeley

I like the solitude that going to the golf course affords me. You have to be patient with golf, and I like the challenge.

“Most Visited Places” is an ongoing digital and print series, underwritten by The Mountain Valley Spring Water.

Illustrations by Bridgette Blanton / Tiny Pencil Studio