Celebrity-Favorite Meatless Barbecue Joint Coming to Sonoma County

Actor Danny Glover's favorite vegan barbecue and soul food spot is opening a location in Santa Rosa.

Actor Danny Glover didn’t mince words when it came to his favorite vegan barbecue and soul food spot in Oakland. In an impromptu video plug in 2020 for the city’s much-buzzed-about Vegan Mob walk-up shop, Glover telephones the chef and former rapper Toriano Gordon and asks, incredulously, “You sure you didn’t put any meat in this sh-t?” as he licks his fingers.

“I know what vegan is,” Gordon responds in the ad. And his fans agree. Named one of the Top 10 vegan barbecue spots by USA Today (yes, meatless barbecue is a thing, and it’s growing) and celebrated by Food & Wine magazine, Gordon’s East Bay shop will soon expand north, to Santa Rosa.

“We have a lot of Santa Rosa fans — I call them Mob Members — who used to drive to Oakland. They’re excited we’re setting up shop,” said Gordon, who plans to welcome a new crowd of Mobsters to his west Third Street location in late September. The former garden supply store at 13 W. Third St., he said, is being transformed into a family-friendly place with indoor and outdoor seating, a movie screen, art gallery and arcade.

The menu looks comfortingly familiar if you love smoked meat. But — plot twist — there’s no meat or dairy on the menu. Brisket, fried chicken, shrimp gumbo, burgers and cheese steaks all substitute plant-based ingredients for meat.

The result is an unlikely mashup of traditional meat-based barbecue culture and Gordon’s lifestyle transition to a meatless diet five years ago. Missing the saucy, soulful food of his youth, Gordon created his own versions of ribs, brisket, links and burgers that satisfied his cravings, leading to a food truck and the Oakland outpost. Gordon also plans to sell ready-to-eat versions of his barbecue at Whole Foods and other grocery outlets. veganmob.biz