Big Daddy O’s Beach BBQ   
2333 Roosevelt Blvd.
Oxnard
984-0014  
$10 and under


The community of Silver Strand, with its beautiful beach and charming houses, is a delightful place to spend any morning or afternoon. And when a stroll on the sand stirs up the appetite, a big plate of barbecue is the perfect antidote. Big Daddy O’s Beach BBQ, just steps from the beach, has exactly what you need.

 

Set back in a tiny enclave on Roosevelt Boulevard, it’s definitely the kind of place you need to keep an eye out for — we nearly passed it by ourselves. But once you spot it, it’s unmistakable: A surfboard sign, a big barbecue, a bench and, maybe, a bike or two mark the entrance. The tongue-in-cheek signs “No morons allowed” and “Sorry we’re open” attest to the owner’s irreverent sense of humor. This is no pretentious bistro catering to the tourists, but a neighborhood joint by and for locals.

 

Inside it’s equally unassuming. A little shabby and thrown together, perhaps, and definitely not a lot of space, but full of color and character. Ordering right from the counter, we decided to try a mishmash of the specialties: pulled pork, chicken and trip-tip combination plates, which included salad, beans and rice and a choice of sides. It was a veritable feast, and came to our table with surprising speed, served on no-nonsense stainless steel plates.

 


Pulled Pork Plate

The pulled pork was every bit as moist, tender and rich as one could hope. The tri-tip was done medium and maintained its juiciness. The chicken breast was fine, but perhaps not as expertly grilled as its counterparts. Regardless, all made excellent bases for the sauce — which is intended to be the star of the show at any barbecue spot. The menu described the meats as “slathered,” but they actually arrived bare — and this turned out to be a good thing, as we could add homemade sauce or salsa to taste. Truthfully, the barbecue sauce wasn’t to my taste: on the thin side with a vinegary tang, it lacked the thick, smoky sweetness I tend to crave.

But that’s OK, because I was more than satisfied by the hot habanero salsa, bright red and thick with chili seeds, served in a big pot in the center of the table. Not for the faint of heart or tender of tongue, but full of flavor as well as heat. I found myself making tacos with my pulled pork and tortillas, which made for a tasty lunch. The beans and rice, I should note, are also made from scratch, and are good enough that I might be going for one of Big Daddy O’s Mexican specialties next time. A quick note on the cole slaw: really good, and I’m not normally a slaw kind of gal. Kudos to Big Daddy for the tasty sides.

 


Bowl of Chili

On a drizzly Sunday afternoon, a hot serving of chili just sounded good, and at the last minute I added a bowl to my order. Very glad I did — it may have been my favorite item on Big Daddy O’s menu. Beef, beans, tomato sauce and just a little spicy, it was delicious, on its own, wrapped in a tortilla, or gobbled up with a hot plate of french fries. I can only imagine how good a chili burger might be here.

Barbecue might be in the name, but Big Daddy O’s is possibly more famous among locals for breakfast. The morning menu is standard fare, but the tri-tip breakfast burrito and biscuits with sausage gravy are rumored to be particularly good. As are the prices, which are incredibly reasonable, particularly for a restaurant so close to the beach. Most everything is under $10 and the portions are generous — we got a whole mess of food for around $35, with plenty of leftovers to take home. Takeout is a popular option, and Big Daddy O’s caters as well. They do a lot with this small shop.

 

Those looking for a fine dining experience won’t be coming to Big Daddy O’s anytime soon. On the other hand, this Silver Strand hole-in-the-wall’s funky vibe is perfect for barefoot beach culture. Come in sandy, fresh from the surf or off the boat — no one will care, and the barbecue (and more) will taste just as good.