Farewell Fair Deal
By Shirley Everett-Dicko and Yvette Jones-Hawkins
Read more about Harry Mock and Fair Deal here http://www.everettandjones.com/saucy-sisters-blog/bay-area-barbeque-hall-of-fame
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, farewell-fair-deal.htmlthe 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.
11/12/2018 08:24:35 am
Thank you for such a warm tribute to a great man, father, business man. I never knew he was quoted in the Oakland Tribune; he never mentioned it. You touched on a lot of details that brought back such fond memories. Thank you!
11/12/2018 04:19:57 pm
We simply love your family period! I could not let the city of Oakland not acknowledge your families legacy. Your family may be contacted by reporters from Bay Area newspapers. I told everyone lol. Love you guys always!
11/12/2018 08:46:13 am
What a beautiful story, thank you for the memories. I love the details and the bit about the morning gatherings in the back of the store...I can totally picture that. I even remember being home and getting the phone calls about someone running out of meat and dad saying, "I have to go to the store again". I had no idea my dad gave you guys a peking duck for Christmas - how special. And just love all the pictures. Sharing this article with my kids so they get to know more about their grandfather. Hope you and the family are doing well!
11/12/2018 04:44:01 pm
Your comments are bringing tears to my eyes. We simply love your family. Your family may be contacted by reporters from Bay Area newspapers. I told everyone lol. Love you guys always!
11/12/2018 08:54:28 am
thank you so much for such a warm tribute to my father harry mock and my brother in law ron sato.
11/12/2018 04:50:17 pm
Hi Lana this is Shirley I sat next to you when Bill Clinton came. Your family may be contacted by reporters from Bay Area newspapers. I told everyone lol. Love you guys always!
11/13/2018 07:14:05 pm
hi shirley.. i thought that might have been you.. so much has happened since then..
11/12/2018 02:22:38 pm
Thank you for etching our family legacy into the history books of Oakland and it's finest BBQ establishments. I always knew my Grandfather was a great man, but these stories and the memories that my aunts are now sharing are so precious to me. Thank you for acknowledging the success of Fair Deal Market and it's contribution to the best BBQ places around.
11/12/2018 04:17:54 pm
Your comments are bringing tears to my eyes. We simply love your family period! I could not let the city of Oakland not acknowledge your families legacy. Your family may be contacted by reporters from Bay Area newspapers. I told everyone lol. Love you guys always!
11/12/2018 05:33:43 pm
I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes too! Thank you so much for your beautifully written tribute to my dad, Ron, and Fair Deal Mkt.
11/12/2018 09:49:36 pm
Gene Anderson who runs the Facebook group page "Oakland History" with over 23,000 members posted the story on the Facebook page. Go read some of the comments from the community, they loved you. The African American Museum of Oakland posted the story on their Twitter page also.
11/13/2018 01:49:21 pm
11/13/2018 06:49:28 pm
Wow that sounds awesome1 Let me check with my family also. One love
11/18/2018 01:40:43 pm
My maternal grandmother loved Fair Deal Market. I loved Ron Sato, too young to remember the founder.
12/11/2020 10:26:14 pm
I didnt realize FAIR DEAL MARKET had closed. I started going to the market before I could walk or talk. My babysitter (same side of the street from the market The Big Brown house on the corner next to the car wash) would take my sister and I to get meat for dinner. My Aunt made a kick-ass pot of gumbo. My Aunt would only get the sausage from Fair Deal, no sausage NO GUMBO.. 84 years wow shoot, I started going there since 1963..Beautiful memories.
7/28/2021 05:48:10 am
Really a very informative blog I have read since long Thanks for taking the time to write the blog.. and really this is useful for everyone and a thumps up by my side to subscribing to your blogs to get the same forever and enjoy the reading.
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Looking for an agent/publisher for a proposed new barbeque book from a Black woman's perspective 50 years in the game.
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