Listen up, La Mesa. All right, listen up, La Mesa. Got a question for you. Who loves really good barbecue?

Well, in our effort to support local business in La Mesa and her surrounding communities, I want to introduce you to a place here on Lake Murray Boulevard, right over the La Mesa line in San Carlos, where they’re serving up some really great meat combined with some really great service.

I want to introduce you to The Pioneer. All right, everybody. I’m here with Katie. She is the general manager here at The Pioneer. We’re right off of Lake Murray Boulevard, almost to Navajo.

Almost, yeah.

We’re just over the La Mesa line. Thanks for meeting with me.

Yeah, thanks for coming.

All right, so why don’t you tell a little bit about The Pioneer? You know, how long have you guys been a business? Everyone wants to know that.

We had our year anniversary in June. We kind of did a huge, fun anniversary party for everyone in the community, so it’s been a little over a year now, kind of focusing in on what’s working best for us, and best for the community, and kind of tallying them.

So, trying to figure out, like, what works best. So, barbecue joint. Now, there’s a lot of them in San Diego, so what do you think makes you guys different from a lot of the other places?

Our chef. Our chef is Hanis Cavin. He’s amazing. He’s from San Diego, born and raised, and he’s been a staple here. We’re called The Pioneer because of chef. That was his nickname in San Diego, so back in the day he was one of the openers of Tornado Snack Shack.

He was the guy, and they called him the pioneer of pork.

Did he have, like, a coonskin hat and everything?

I wish he did. I really wish he did.

Because that would be funny.

That’d be great to see.

Probably not as good in the kitchen to have that on.

Right. A little hot back there.

Yeah. What would you say is your signature dish or meat? Or what … ?

Brisket and ribs.

The brisket. I’ve had the brisket, and I can’t describe it.

Brisket’s fantastic. It’s cooked for 12 hours. It’s smoked overnight, low and slow. We actually cook it upside down.

Upside down?

Yeah, so that way the … because the fat cap’s at the bottom, so we cook it upside down, all of that fat and juices run all the way through, and make it delicious and great.

I’m getting hungry right now.

Yeah. Ribs are dry rubbed, it’s a little different. All the sauces are on the table. Well, not right now, they’re in the cooler. But we have spicy Carolina, which is a mustard based kind of sauce, and then our sweet, which is a traditional St. Louis.

Okay. Now, I mean, you’re a full bar. You have how many taps?

14 handles.

Craft beer?

Yeah. Of course.

And full bar, so you know, you have liquor. You can make any kind of drink.

Liquor, beer, wine, all that fun stuff. We have a decent sized cocktail menu. This book right here is a full liquor list. We have flights. We have beer flights, we have beer buckets. We actually do kind of a … we have a couple wines in a can, so we can do a wine bucket, too, which is a little different.

But 14 handles. We always have a seasonal rotating handle, and then chef has a handle too, so whatever he thinks pairs well with the food, or is kind of into that.

Oh, okay, so he can too. That’s cool. You know, I’ve noticed, also, the service.


It’s important for restaurants. It differentiates you from other places.

It just goes hand in hand. You can have an okay meal, but a great experience, great service. You’re always going to come back.

We have about a week before football starts. Now, if you notice all these TVs around here, and I’m sure most people do. We’re going to be showing football on Sundays, and tell us a little bit about what you did to upgrade the whole system so you can have a good experience.

What we’re going to do this year, we got a upgrade on our televisions and receivers. We’re going to be able to show eight games at once. Sundays are going to be great. We’re actually going to open for brunch on Sundays, so we’ll open at 9:30 A.M. Chef put together a really good brunch menu, and we’re going to do some fun drinks for that.

We’re going to do bottomless mimosas, we’re going to do a Monster Mary. It’s going to have, like, a skewer, with a slider, and all that fun stuff on it. And then Sunday night, whatever teams are playing, we’re going to feature food from that city.

But kind of do our version of it, so, say Chicago’s playing Sunday Night Football. We’ll do our version of a Chicago dog.


Kind of fun stuff like that, just to kind of keep everyone engaged. We don’t want to turn anyone way, and so it’ll be a lot of fun.

Okay. Now, are people allowed in here who like The Chargers?

Yes. Of course. Of course. The only team we are partnering with is San Diego State.

Okay. Aztecs.

Yeah, go Aztecs. A lot of people come before the games, they come after the games. We’re going to have all the games here on Saturdays. As long as they’re on, we’ll put the sound on, and anyone in Aztecs gear is going to get a five dollar mug of Coors Light.

Are we also focusing on catering, as well?

Yes. We have a great catering menu. We can do, all of our meats we do by the pound, all of the sides we do by the pound. Chef actually did one last weekend where he smoked a whole pig for them, so it was really fun. It’s really affordable. We’ll come do full service, we’ll come set it for you. You can come do a pickup. We’ll do delivery.

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