BBQ Wars: Owner Of San Diego’s Grand Ole BBQ Accuses Incoming Barbecue Restaurant Of Ripping Off Menu

September 23, 2022

In a since-deleted social media post, the owner of San Diego's hit Grand Ole BBQ accused incoming barbecue restaurant Carbón of ripping off its menu.

"A bbq joint with smash burgers and root beer floats right down the street from a bbq joint with smash burgers and root beer should stay in your lane pizza boy. #carboncopy," posted Grand Ole BBQ founder Andy Harris in popular Facebook group Eating and Drinking in San Diego, which has over 17,000 members.

San Diego native Andy Harris founded Grand Ole BBQ y Asado on the southern outskirts of North Park in Fall 2015, quickly gaining a loyal following of patrons lining up for tastes of the restaurant's Central Texas-style barbecue. In early 2019, Grand Ole partnered with San Diego's Social Syndicate restaurant development group, known for such projects as Bootlegger, Resident Brewing, Wonderland, The Rabbit Hole, OB Surf Lodge, The Local Downtown & Pacific Beach and the second location of Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill. Together, they launched a 15,000 square-foot, second outpost of Grand Ole BBQ in San Diego's East County community of Flinn Springs. Around the same time, in February 2019, Grand Ole BBQ y Asado closed in North Park, citing a need to perform renovations on the quaint building. In 2021, Grand Ole BBQ opened a location inside Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. After a long dormancy, Grand Ole BBQ y Asado officially reopened its North Park location this past spring. 

In the next few weeks, Carbón BBQ will unveil less than a mile away from Harris's original Grand Ole BBQ location on the border of North Park and South Park. Carbón is the product of Italian-native Matteo Cattaneo's Buona Forchetta Restaurant Group, which got its start in 2013 with the opening of the first award-winning Buona Forchetta restaurant in San Diego's South Park neighborhood. Cattaneo has since opened many offshoots of his Italian restaurant concepts, as well as a non-profit bakery Matteo in South Park. Carbón BBQ is set to open mid-October with a Texas-style barbecue menu executed daily by Executive Chef Hanis Cavin, who previously founded the Carnitas Snack Shack brand and opened Pioneer BBQ in before leaving San Diego for Spokane, WA for a brief period.

"I've never been to a barbecue restaurant with smash burgers and root beer floats in San Diego, "continued Harris in comments on his Facebook thread. "Or really anywhere...But now there's one a mile away". "I don't own the rights to Bbq... it's not what I'm saying here dude. But the menu and proximity is classless".

Harris has been outspoken in his criticism of Buona Forchetta's choice to open a Texas-style barbecue restaurant near his establishment since news of Carbón BBQ's incoming arrival broke way back in November 2018. We reached out to Buona Forchetta founder Matteo Cattaneo for comment on the criticism but did not receive a response by the time of publishing. 

Carbón BBQ is expected to open mid-October at 2314 30th Street in San Diego's South Park. Grand Ole BBQ y Asado is located at 3302 32nd Street in San Diego's North Park. Chime in on the drama by emailing [email protected].