Chilebrown at home

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Do you have a secret family recipe? There was a restaurant a not so longtime ago called “Andy’s Oak-Pit” in Richmond California. It was very popular and is fondly remembered by many. They had a special family chili recipe that they proudly served. We are friends with Carolyn the daughter of the owner of Andy’s Oak-Pit. We have asked her for years for the secret special Andy’s Oak-Pit chili recipe. Her mother has safely guarded this coveted item for many years. Carolyn and her husband Mort called us to arrange a special meeting. At this mysterious rendezvous, Carolyn presented us with this special recipe. We feel very lucky and proud to be the keepers and guardians of this very wonderful document.

Carolyn and Mort also shared some memorabilia of Andy’s Oak-Pit with us. Carolyn is the young women pictured on the left.  We also received an employee’s handbook explaining the rules and regulations for Oak-Pit employees. The hamburger image is from a matchbook cover. What a treat getting this glimpse into the past. With these gifts Carolyn also gave us a sample of already cooked chili made with her mother’s secret recipe.

We made some chili dogs to sample our original Andy’s Oak-Pit chili. This would be extra special because Carolyn made it in the original authentic form. This chili is smooth and creamy. No beans are allowed in this pot. It is rich with flavor. It is mild with a hint of chile pepper love. I would venture to say this is the perfect topping for a hot dog. What a treat.

We will guard this family recipe. Someday we will pass it on to keep this important recipe alive. We feel honored and proud that Carolyn, her Mother and Mort gifted us with something so important in their lives. The memory of Andy’s Oak-Pit restaurant will live on!!!


Greg said...

Wow! That is a great memory. I bet people at the farmers market would line up with dollars in hand to buy those chili dogs. Just saying.

Chilebrown said...

Greg, Maybe so, but not by this retired cow puncher. How about chili dogs with a photo, booth?

Zoomie said...

No beans, huh? I make what I think is really good chili, but it does have beans. In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, it makes me hungry - maybe I'll make some tonight.

Three Dogs BBQ said...

Hot dog chili should not have beans, IMHO. It it not chili for a bowl, but for a hot dog. That stuff looks good. You should be honored to get that recipe.

Now, you should try a West Virginia Hot Dog: chili and cole slaw. The slaw has to have mayo in the dressing. Very good...

Chilebrown said...

Zoomie, Competition chili does not have beans either. It all depends on what you like.

Three Dogs BBQ, We did have Cole slaw on the side. You hit the nail on the head for this chili as a topping.

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl said...

The chili dogs look amazing! Dreaming of one right now.

Chilebrown said...

Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl, Thanks. It sure was tasty.

Unknown said...

I grew up eating at the pit ..the chili was always the best as were the hamburgers grilled over an open flame .. I wish you would share the recipe sooner than later ...this article was such a tease !!

Chilebrown said...

Hello Brad Chilton, Did you ever meet Carolyn? I can always drop your name and request. It did take us years of asking and begging. Drop me a line.

Unknown said...

Hello, my name is Robert Anderson. I am Carolyn's nephew and the grandson of the founders of Andy's oak pit. I am thrilled to see that there are more folks out there with such fond memories of this wonderful place and great food. I was just thinking about making a pot of the chilli. the photos you have of my family are awesome. I wish the restaurants where still around for more to enjoy. thank you for sharing this with everyone.

Unknown said...

I'm confused. Isn't that a picture of Wanda who was waitress for Andy's in the late 60s and early 70s?

Bobby Morris/ Nichols said...

I was a 10 year old living two blocks up on Key Blvd from Andy’s my paper route finished near Andy’s occasionally I would stop and get a
Hot dog at the patio window and order from Andy, He would lean down with his white cook hat and take my order I remember him being
A very nice man always pleasant this would have been circa 1955 ... Years later we moved from Richmond to Castro valley At this time
Of my life I was driving and back visiting friends in Richmond always stopping by Andy’s... I Remember one visit finding out Andy passed away and his wife gave me the news and then took my Hot Dog order... Wow what great memories... I continued visiting back after moving
From Castro valley to Danville at times took girl friends and wives ... Along one time with the second wife at the time went to the window
To order and found out the business had been sold to a Chinese man... Ordered up my Hot dogs for two , went back to the car to Eat
Took a bite tasted the change in the mustard... Went back up to the window told the man why did you change the mustard which he
Denied ... A few months went by stopped back by ,went to the window ordered my Hot Dog went back to the car to Eat took a Bite this
Time he changed the Hot Dog, Went back up to the window said to the man Why did you change the hot dog meat, He Denied again
Never returned ... Andy would serve it on sesame bun fixes like a hamburger but the Dog was cooked in the Oak— Became a fav for my kids~~~ And still make them the same way in 2019~~~ Thanks for the memories Andy & God Bless .

Unknown said...

I remember Andy's Oak Pit quite well. I remember their burgers with fondness. To this day when I get a burger, it has to have lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle on it just like those from Andy's Oak Pit. My late brother would always got a cup of chili along with his burger. I've only had chili as good as theirs in one other place, a little local place in Wyoming, which only the locals knew about, and which sadly, is no longer in business.