I wanted to try a new restaurant for lunch and told my husband that I would do a little surfing on the net. I had to find a place that would appease everyone in the family, especially my two boys. I had suggested Auntie Em’s Kitchen in Eagle Rock. Truth be told, I really want to go there to check out the bakery items for which they are known, especially their red velvet cupcakes. My son told me that he had checked out their menu and all he saw were pictures of cakes and dessert items. While I explained that they also have a restaurant and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, my husband piped in and asked about the BBQ place that food personality Peter Dills (Dining With Dills, KABC AM 790) frequented and before I could look it up on the internet, my son suggested “The Oinkster“. He told us that he and his friend Sean had eaten there before and it was really good. He left the room and returned with his laptop to show me pictures of Oinkster’s food items. It looked pretty good, especially their pastrami and pulled pork sandwiches. So we decided to head over to Eagle Rock and The Oinkster for lunch. And bonus for me, Auntie Em’s was close by so I requested that we stop by there to pick up dessert on the way home.
We made the short drive to Eagle Rock and quickly found the place on busy Colorado Boulevard. Parking lots flank both sides of the restaurant. We were lucky and found the only parking spot available when we pulled into the west lot. It was pretty busy for a late Saturday afternoon (we arrived around 2pm). The restaurant offers seating in the outdoor patio as well as inside the restaurant. We kept an eye out for an open table while we stood in line waiting to place our order. The “decor” is diner style and my son informed me that The Oinkster was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” hosted by Guy Fieri. Owner and Chef Andre Guerrero is responsible for the hype surrounding the Oinkster and their signature sandwiches? The Oinkster Pastrami and the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich.
My hubby and I ordered (of course) the Oinkster Pastrami and my boys both ordered the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich–all combo style which included their double fried french fries with garlic aioli and a drink. Yep, you heard me right–double fried french fries with their homemade garlic aioli. Of course, if you’re a purist and want regular ketchup, you won’t find Heinz Ketchup here but what you will find are other homemade “sauces” that you can dip your french fries in (or dress up your sandwiches with): homemade ketchup, chipotle ketchup, dijon mustard and dijon-horseradish mayonnaise!
The pastrami in the Oinkster Pastrami is cured for two weeks and rubbed with Chef Guerrero’s special spice blend and smoked with applewood. The result is a juicy, flavorful meat which is dressed with caramelized onions for sweetness, red cabbage slaw for crunch and gruyere cheese to bring it all together in a soft, french roll. It’s wrapped in white butcher paper to hold it together (we’re talking generous portion of meat here) and cut in half. It was messy and juicy and now I know why they make sure there are plenty of napkins on the table.
The BBQ Pulled Pork is brined with soy, honey and other spices and then slowly roasted and smoked for that fall off the bone goodness. This sandwich is crowned with the red cabbage slaw, caramelized onions and hit with the chef’s own Carolina BBQ sauce. Just like the pastrami, the pulled pork was tender, juicy and flavorful. They don’t skimp on the meat here!
I spoke to a couple of guys sitting nearby who were also enjoying a late lunch. It was Freddie’s first time at The Oinkster and he was there with friend Herman who lived nearby. Herman had been coming to The Oinkster for years and both were enjoying hamburgers with a generous order of chili fries. Herman swears by the food and Freddie is now a fan (although he did share with me that he wasn’t too impressed with their beer selections but the food was definitely a thumbs up with him).
In addition to sandwiches, The Oinkster also serves up rotisserie chicken, salads, fries and sides, desserts and drinks such as sodas, shakes, root beer float and bottled and draft beers. It’s not your typical diner and what impressed me about The Oinkster is not only their off the dial menu but their friendly staff and quick service. Their “slow fast food” refers to the time and care the staff takes in preparing its meats for their signature sandwiches so that its customers can enjoy tender, juicy, flavorful sandwiches that keep them coming back again and again.
If you’re ever in the Eagle Rock area and you’re craving hearty, filling sandwiches, stop by The Oinkster. You won’t be disappointed!
2005 Colorado Boulevard
Eagle Rock, CA
Hours: Sunday thru Thursday – 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
Friday and Saturday – 11:00 am to 12:00 am