4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Hopster Pot and the Three-Way: a match made in New England heaven

“There’re a lot of New England transplants here. They come to us for a little bit of home.”

The guyz: NASSCO shipbuilders including Juan, Martin, Fernando and Amin.
The guyz: NASSCO shipbuilders including Juan, Martin, Fernando and Amin.

It’s that meat slicer. Whirring away. If it hadn’t been for the thin waves of blushing beef it was peeling off, I would have manfully resisted the temptation. Instead, here I am, inside Thorn’s awesome Barrio Logan beer-brewing barn with a wicked little bar hiding in the corner, and one particular IPA calling out my name.

Sigh. “Hopster Pot, please,” I say. “The hazy one.”

“Are you ordering food?” says the guy behind the bar. Luis. He has long plaited braids. Oh yeah. Food. Covid law. “I could get you a $5 ticket towards a MishMash item,” he says. I know MishMash is a burger/taco/sandwich joint not far off National Avenue here.

Then again, the meat slicer. The meat folding down in flaps does look pure pink and delicious.

Did somebody mention meat in this bun?

“Big Jim’s New England Roast Beef, $14,” says the sign.

Wow. Fourteen dollars for a sandwich? That’s the price of two Hopster Pots.

“It’s good, though,” says Luis. “Or you could spend $5 on a MishMash certificate.”

What the heck. May as well try the New England roast beef. Specially as I’m getting the “New England style” IPA, the Hopster Pot. I pay up, get the receipt, head out past two sidewalk tables filled with guys slurping and joshing away on tall stools. NASSCO shipbuilders, look like.

I show my receipt to the two guys at the white pop-up tent. One’s supervising the slicing, the other’s wrapping up a sandwich.

Except it’s not a sandwich. “It’s called a ‘North Shore Beef Three-Way,’” says the burly slicer, Jim.

“You Big Jim?”

“Yup,” he says. Has to be from the Northeast. Big on action, small on talk.

“Three-way?” says the other guy, Kevin.

Sounds a little, you know, hey hey! A little pepper in the social life. “What does that involve?” I ask.

He looks at me like, You’re not from New England, are you?

“Three-way is beef with all the toppings: mayo, white American cheese, and sauce, James River BBQ sauce.”

“Oh, right,” I say. “Sounds good.”

His name’s Kevin. He and Big Jim started this up after they were both furloughed as prep chefs because of covid. Have been buddies ever since they grew up in North Shore, Mass.

Big Jim and Kevin: Covid closure gave birth to the Roast Beef Threeway idea.

“There’re a lot of New England transplants here,” says Jim. “Refugees from lousy weather. They come to us for a little bit of home.”

He says he had four guys roll up recently. They bought 13 Three-Ways. Said these were their first for 3000 miles. That’s how far San Diego is from Boston.

“And another gent drove down from LA. Got out of his car in a Red Sox jersey and bought six. Said these were his first in three years. Jumped in his car and drove straight back to LA.”

“So you get regulars?”

“We get regulars,” says Big Jim.

Kevin hands me my — I try to say sandwich, but Jim interrupts me. “Nuh-uh,” he says. “It’s a Beef. A North Shore Beef Trhee-Way. The boys back home are pretty particular.”

I haul it off to the last table, where I left my New England-style Hopster Pot IPA. And, have to say, yes, total’s $21, but what a combo. The Beef is a massive pile, warm, as tender as a kiss, so nice and savory. The cut is top round, or sometimes bottom round that da boyz slow-cook right here for four hours at 300 degrees, then, only after you order, slice it up. “We have to be careful,” says Jim. “It gets very floppy and soft when you break down all the connective tissue. But if we full-slice it, it ends up too thick. If we set it too thin, it disintegrates. It’s an art. If we get it wrong, our regulars from Back East will let us know. But if we get it right, there’s no pull when you eat it. It almost chews itself.”

Bar guy Luis is a fan of cloudy beer and blushing beef. And Pancho Villa.

Cheese add is good, and of course, the James River sauce is crucial for its “not too thick, not too sweet, not too hard, peppery tang,” as Jim puts it. Hmm. Jim, James, James River Sauce — any connection? Kevin says it has near-legendary status around Boston and North Shore, but Jim ain’t a scion of that family.

“We got 100 gallons shipped over,” he says. “That’s partly what puts our costs up. People won’t accept a substitute.”

After the meat and the sauce, the most important umami element comes from the onion roll bun. Those savory chips of toasted root vegetable on top stop the meat from being bland.

And, have to say, the Hopster Pot IPA works well with the victuals. It is gentle, persuasive, fruity even. Luis says the Back East IPAs tend to be that way. Specially the hazies. Hazy’s a Vermont invention. That’s where boys and girls started putting in things like oats and wheat and never got around to filtering them out. All of this started five years ago. Plus, they used hops for their flavor more than their bitterness. They let you off easy.

Place

Thorn Brewing Co.

1745 National Avenue, San Diego

Whatever, this Hopster Pot and the Three-Way are a match made in New England heaven. I can see why sandwich pilgrims — uh, North Shore Beef pilgrims — make their way here.

These guys also pop up their tent at Poor House Brewing Company in North Park on Sundays from 12:30. “But we’re usually out by two, three. We just cook one round.”

I guess there is something about the gentle flavors from Back East. You get so used to being whacked about the jowls by our local flavor gods. Maybe we’ve lost something.

Overall, I leave thinking I’ve discovered not so much a pop-up as a religion. And hey, I’m a believer.

  • The Place: Big Jim’s Roast Beef at Thorn Brewing, 1745 National Avenue, Barrio Logan, 619-255-9679
  • Hours: Tuesdays, 4-7pm (also at Poor House Brewing, 4494 30th Street, North Park, Sundays from 12:30pm till run out)
  • Price: North Shore Beef 3-Way, $14
  • Buses: 901, 929
  • Nearest Bus Stops: National and Beardsley (901); Sigsbee and Newton (929)
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Why are these Zoom moms wined up?

If only we knew the cooks behind the ghost kitchens
Next Article

Oceanside police gently push homeless out of tents

“I knew you since you were a teenager”
The guyz: NASSCO shipbuilders including Juan, Martin, Fernando and Amin.
The guyz: NASSCO shipbuilders including Juan, Martin, Fernando and Amin.

It’s that meat slicer. Whirring away. If it hadn’t been for the thin waves of blushing beef it was peeling off, I would have manfully resisted the temptation. Instead, here I am, inside Thorn’s awesome Barrio Logan beer-brewing barn with a wicked little bar hiding in the corner, and one particular IPA calling out my name.

Sigh. “Hopster Pot, please,” I say. “The hazy one.”

“Are you ordering food?” says the guy behind the bar. Luis. He has long plaited braids. Oh yeah. Food. Covid law. “I could get you a $5 ticket towards a MishMash item,” he says. I know MishMash is a burger/taco/sandwich joint not far off National Avenue here.

Then again, the meat slicer. The meat folding down in flaps does look pure pink and delicious.

Did somebody mention meat in this bun?

“Big Jim’s New England Roast Beef, $14,” says the sign.

Wow. Fourteen dollars for a sandwich? That’s the price of two Hopster Pots.

“It’s good, though,” says Luis. “Or you could spend $5 on a MishMash certificate.”

What the heck. May as well try the New England roast beef. Specially as I’m getting the “New England style” IPA, the Hopster Pot. I pay up, get the receipt, head out past two sidewalk tables filled with guys slurping and joshing away on tall stools. NASSCO shipbuilders, look like.

I show my receipt to the two guys at the white pop-up tent. One’s supervising the slicing, the other’s wrapping up a sandwich.

Except it’s not a sandwich. “It’s called a ‘North Shore Beef Three-Way,’” says the burly slicer, Jim.

“You Big Jim?”

“Yup,” he says. Has to be from the Northeast. Big on action, small on talk.

“Three-way?” says the other guy, Kevin.

Sounds a little, you know, hey hey! A little pepper in the social life. “What does that involve?” I ask.

He looks at me like, You’re not from New England, are you?

“Three-way is beef with all the toppings: mayo, white American cheese, and sauce, James River BBQ sauce.”

“Oh, right,” I say. “Sounds good.”

His name’s Kevin. He and Big Jim started this up after they were both furloughed as prep chefs because of covid. Have been buddies ever since they grew up in North Shore, Mass.

Big Jim and Kevin: Covid closure gave birth to the Roast Beef Threeway idea.

“There’re a lot of New England transplants here,” says Jim. “Refugees from lousy weather. They come to us for a little bit of home.”

He says he had four guys roll up recently. They bought 13 Three-Ways. Said these were their first for 3000 miles. That’s how far San Diego is from Boston.

“And another gent drove down from LA. Got out of his car in a Red Sox jersey and bought six. Said these were his first in three years. Jumped in his car and drove straight back to LA.”

“So you get regulars?”

“We get regulars,” says Big Jim.

Kevin hands me my — I try to say sandwich, but Jim interrupts me. “Nuh-uh,” he says. “It’s a Beef. A North Shore Beef Trhee-Way. The boys back home are pretty particular.”

I haul it off to the last table, where I left my New England-style Hopster Pot IPA. And, have to say, yes, total’s $21, but what a combo. The Beef is a massive pile, warm, as tender as a kiss, so nice and savory. The cut is top round, or sometimes bottom round that da boyz slow-cook right here for four hours at 300 degrees, then, only after you order, slice it up. “We have to be careful,” says Jim. “It gets very floppy and soft when you break down all the connective tissue. But if we full-slice it, it ends up too thick. If we set it too thin, it disintegrates. It’s an art. If we get it wrong, our regulars from Back East will let us know. But if we get it right, there’s no pull when you eat it. It almost chews itself.”

Bar guy Luis is a fan of cloudy beer and blushing beef. And Pancho Villa.

Cheese add is good, and of course, the James River sauce is crucial for its “not too thick, not too sweet, not too hard, peppery tang,” as Jim puts it. Hmm. Jim, James, James River Sauce — any connection? Kevin says it has near-legendary status around Boston and North Shore, but Jim ain’t a scion of that family.

“We got 100 gallons shipped over,” he says. “That’s partly what puts our costs up. People won’t accept a substitute.”

After the meat and the sauce, the most important umami element comes from the onion roll bun. Those savory chips of toasted root vegetable on top stop the meat from being bland.

And, have to say, the Hopster Pot IPA works well with the victuals. It is gentle, persuasive, fruity even. Luis says the Back East IPAs tend to be that way. Specially the hazies. Hazy’s a Vermont invention. That’s where boys and girls started putting in things like oats and wheat and never got around to filtering them out. All of this started five years ago. Plus, they used hops for their flavor more than their bitterness. They let you off easy.

Place

Thorn Brewing Co.

1745 National Avenue, San Diego

Whatever, this Hopster Pot and the Three-Way are a match made in New England heaven. I can see why sandwich pilgrims — uh, North Shore Beef pilgrims — make their way here.

These guys also pop up their tent at Poor House Brewing Company in North Park on Sundays from 12:30. “But we’re usually out by two, three. We just cook one round.”

I guess there is something about the gentle flavors from Back East. You get so used to being whacked about the jowls by our local flavor gods. Maybe we’ve lost something.

Overall, I leave thinking I’ve discovered not so much a pop-up as a religion. And hey, I’m a believer.

  • The Place: Big Jim’s Roast Beef at Thorn Brewing, 1745 National Avenue, Barrio Logan, 619-255-9679
  • Hours: Tuesdays, 4-7pm (also at Poor House Brewing, 4494 30th Street, North Park, Sundays from 12:30pm till run out)
  • Price: North Shore Beef 3-Way, $14
  • Buses: 901, 929
  • Nearest Bus Stops: National and Beardsley (901); Sigsbee and Newton (929)
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Cobra Kai cassettes

Tijuana’s La Rola records noticed the increase in used cassette sales in 2020
Next Article

When burrito met Philly at El Pollo Grill

“You’ve never had better meat in a burrito.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close