By Shirley Everett-Dicko and Yvette Jones-Hawkins
There was a place in Oakland at 3605 Market Street where Flint’s, Everett and Jones, Carmen’s and other BBQ business owners gathered to socialize; usually in the morning, way before the sun could melt the dew off the meat trucks. We would park our business trucks, vans and cars at the back door and casually gather inside the back of the store, behind the heavy sliding door that made a loud bang when it met the wall. A family of butchers in starch white smocks greeted you on those cold mornings with free coffee an occasional donut, lots of smiles and bad jokes. Like men in a barbershop-laughin’, gaggin’ and raggin’ on one another, Fair Deal Meat Market was the barber shop for BBQ joints with its old time charm and friendly faces.
While we waited for our meat orders to be filled and loaded into our vehicles we would catch up on the families, the comings and goings and share our experiences of running a small business. To the public we were competitors, but at Fair Deal Meat Market we were friends. At the head of this rag-tag group of professional business owners was Harry Mock, the owner of Fair Deal. Born in 1919 in Mainland China, he would be sitting at his desk in the middle of his small cubby size office; only big enough to fit a small ledge to write on and a stool to sit on. Above his head were numerous ticket books neatly stacked in alphabetical order displaying all the company’s names written with a black or red marker. Fair Deal was closed for business on Sundays but would not hesitate to open up just for you if you needed extra meat; who does that? They were awesome!
Fair Deal Meat Market opened January 24, 1934; Harry began working in the store in 1937. Chances are if you have eaten at local BBQ restaurants in Oakland and the East Bay Fair Deal Meat Market supplied the meat. After 84 years in business, Fair Deal Meat Market, an institution for wholesale and retail meats for barbecuing has closed its doors. It had provided meats for barbecuing to all the legends of Oakland style barbeque, including Jenkins Original Bar-B-Que back in the day. October 6, 2018, was its last day of operation.
Harry had often shared his stories of being swept up in raids and forced to live in a concentration camp during World War II. He’d say, “see I’m just like you I’m not special.” In 1995, Harry died and in 2001, his lovely wife Helen passed away. The couple had six daughters. Harry’s son-in-law Ron ran the business after Harry’s death with help from his brother Gary. Ron and Gary were cool-ass straight up homeboys from McClymonds High School. They are our brothers from another mother. The only difference was they were of Asian descent and we were not. I have fond memories of this store and the people who worked in it. The late Mr. Fong was the hard working butcher, who delivered the meat to the restaurants and Brian his young trainee. Mr. Fong didn’t say much but he sure smiled a lot.
Harry and my mother, Dorothy Everett, were friends since 1964. I remember when I met Harry for the first time, I was 13 years old helping my mom out at Jenkins Original Bar-B-Que on 7th Street in West Oakland. He would come rolling into the restaurant with his hand truck full of meat; cheerful with his white smock on. Harry always gave my mom a Peking duck for Christmas. When mom left Jenkins and went to Flint’s Bar-B-Q her friendship with Harry continued and they added a business relationship. When Mr. Flintroy of Flint’s Bar-B-Q died Harry convinced mom that if she decided to strike out on her own, he would continue their business relationship in her new venture. Mom took him up on his word and Everett and Jones Barbeque opened in 1973.
Photo from Yelp www.yelp.com/biz/fair-deal-meat-market-emeryville
In an Oakland Tribune article dated June 1993, Tribune librarian Steve LaVoie said one of Harry Mock’s first BBQ customers was Sam’s BBQ which opened in 1949, located in a social club in Emeryville (The building at 1036 36th Street was razed in 1996). Mock is quoted saying, “If Jenkins (Jenkins Original Barbeque) is the father of modern day barbecue, then Dorothy Everett (Everett and Jones Barbeque) is the mother.”
Fair Deal Meat Market is the thread that ran through just about all BBQ restaurants in Oakland and the Bay Area. Before Jetro, Cash N’ Carry and Smart and Final, Fair Deal was the place to go for fresh meats and specialize cuts. The personalized service you got from this old school, wholesale and retail butcher shop was incomparable. There you were always treated like family. Heck, we were family. Come in for the meats and leave with smiles, friendships and a promise to come back. 84 years what a legacy! Farewell my friends, you will be missed!
Happy Retirement Ron and Gary!
What was Everett and Jones Barbeque like in the 70's?
If you hear any noise, it ain’t the boys getting down; it’s the sisters running thangs! These nine beautiful, classy, sassy, sexy, big-legged (they got it from their mama) queens made history and have come to take their rightful place on the throne.
(C) 2016 Everett and Jones
All Rights Reserved