The Pit Opens Today

Ed Mitchell and Greg Hatem’s new venture, The Pit, opens for dinner today at 5:00. I just received a copy of the menu, and it’s an interesting selection. This most definitely is high end barbecue, at $12 a plate (including 2 sides). I don’t mind paying 50% more than other places if the quality is good and they continue to use hogs raised in a sustainable fashion. I’ve heard several people compare this concept with Danny Meyer’s and Kenny Callaghan’s Blue Smoke in New York, which is amazingly successful, and the prices here are about 30% to 50% less than Blue Smoke’s. I can see The Pit becoming a place where business people and politicians hang out. I really, truly hope it succeeds. I’ll have a report after I give it a try.

Anyhow, the menu’s after the break.



BBQ Shrimp Cocktail $8

Beer and cumin poached shrimp (6)

with BBQ cocktail sauce and a hint of horseradish and lemon.

Brunswick Stew with Jalapeno Cornbread Crackers $5

House made with local beans and vegetables in a rabbit broth

Fried Green Tomatoes $5

With roasted red pepper chutney

Smoked Turkey Fritters $5

House smoked turkey and country ham fritters fried to order

served with whole grain mustard broth

B.B.L.T. $5

Romaine lettuce, tomato,

and house cured barbeque bacon on a fresh made biscuit

House Smoked Chicken Wings $8

Slow smoked chicken wings

with choice of three house sauces for dipping


Classic Caesar $7

With parmesan reggiano and cornbread croutons

Wedge $7

A wedge of Bibb lettuce with blue cheese dressing,

house cured bacon and cooked red onion

Chef’s Bean Salad $5

A unique salad of seasonal beans prepared by our chef

Marinated Tomato, Cucumber and Onion salad $7

Tomato slices in herb marinade with greens and thin sliced onion and cucumber,

drizzled with balsamic and served with house pulled Mozzarella

Poached Apple Salad $8

Wine poached apple slices with toasted pecans and aged gouda

served over winter arugula tossed in a roasted shallot vinaigrette


Mother Mitchell’s Fried Chicken $12

Served with mashed potatoes, gravy and a biscuit

Smoked Pork Chop $18

Served with a whiskey peppercorn glaze,

sweet potato home fries and red russian kale

Grilled Ribeye Steak $25

Served with twice baked potato,

roasted Brussels sprouts and braised mushroom sauce

Herb and Blue Cheese Crusted Beef Filet Mignon $29

Served with sautéed winter squash,

roasted potato rounds and a red wine demi-glaze

Roasted Half Chicken $16

Pan seared and roasted, served over a white bean, tasso ham and rosemary ragout,

with a warm vegetable ‘slaw’ and natural pan jus

Crispy Fried Tilapia $14

Served with cilantro rice, grilled corn rounds and spicy chili mojo

Grilled Salmon $18

Served with roasted new potatoes, peppers, corn and spinach

drizzled with salsa verde

Pit Cooked: All selections are served with a choice of two sides

Chopped Whole Hog $12

Pulled Pork Shoulder $12

Baby Back Ribs (½ rack or whole rack) $8/$14

Ribs 3 ½ Down $16

Beef Brisket $16

Chopped, Smoked BBQ Turkey $12

Combo Plate choose 2 of the above $19

Combo of 3 $21

Family Style – a sampling of everything from the pit $30

Pig Pickin’ – ½ hog or whole hog


Candied Yams

Corn Bread

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Collard Greens

Hush Puppies

Black Eyed Peas

Steamed Cabbage


Potato Salad

Mac N Cheese



Blue Potato Salad

Ricotta Ravioli

Horseradish Slaw


17 Responses to The Pit Opens Today

  1. VaNC says:

    Well, seeing that the place was opened tonight, hubby is out of town and I had four kids to feed, all of whom love good Q, I piled them in the car and was there by 5:30. I have to say I LOVE THIS PLACE! They brought out five biscuits very quickly , which our table devoured just as quickly. We got our dinner Family Style, which, included chopped AND pulled pork BBQ, chopped turkey que, pork ribs, bbq chicken, hush puppies, hush puppies, Mac and cheese. Unbelievably, I took home a packed take home container and the meal was only $30. The kids were chowing too, although they were two 9 year olds and two 5 year olds, so it would not be the same with five bigger eaters.

    I must first say that the service was great. I know in my last post regarding Fins, my biggest complaint was the service and our server tonight, Dexter ,showed just how great and responsive service can be (and with 4 kids, it isn’t always easy to keep up).

    All the food was great. The big girls and I chowed on the chopped q. I will wait til Varmint gives his more knowledgable opinion…but we gave it three thumbs up. The little ones loved the chicken which was tender and yummy. The pulled pork needed slaw, sauce and a bun, which I didn’t have…so I asked for some slaw to take home and will have it tomorrow. What I did eat there was also tender and moist. My least favorite was the turkey q. I just don’t think it is my thing, no so much the preparation. We got two slabs of ribs…one which was moist and tender, one (and end piece?) which was too hard to chew. The big girls rated the rub at the “one Fireball” level of heat (gotta love those Indian Princesses) and were sucking on the bones while I was trying to get them to go home and do their homework.

    The side were all great too. The hush puppies were crunchy on the outside, like I like, but a titch sweet for my taste, but it did not overpower the corn meal taste.

    So, overall, I love this place. And again, feeding my kids good food for $30…. I will be there once a week.

  2. Varmint says:

    I saw that family style option and thought that it could be a bargain. I’m going to try it on Thursday.

    Was there much of a crowd?

  3. Scott Luetgenau says:

    I went at around 7:45pm last night and there were probably 20 guests in the restaurant. Tried the house smoked chicken wings which were perfectly smoked, nicely seasoned and retained a very nice level of moisture; however I wasn’t offered one of the three dipping sauces. We decided to try the whole hog chopped pork which also retained a nice level of moisture, was very tender and had the perfect amount of smoke. It was probably the best bbq I’ve had. I tried it was coleslaw, hushpuppies and collards. Each were simple and excellent. A person I was with tried the ribs which were offered dry or wet; he chose wet and they were very good however slightly drier towards the smaller end pieces. They also offer a small focused selection of draft beers that are all stellar. I was very impressed in the quality of the food being their first night open, even in the slower condition of business. I really hope they do well because it was some seriously good bbq.

  4. treznor says:

    Just stopped in to try the place myself. Overall, I was very impressed.

    I started with the turkey fritters. The smoky and salty (from the country ham I’m guessing) taste was interesting and overall these were good but not great. The broth didn’t really have any zing to it. I had thought about getting the brunswick stew as I’m a sucker for brunswick stew but at the last minute went with the fritters. c’est la vie.

    While waiting for my barbecue, Ed Mitchell came around with a plate of cracklin’ skin to try. A nice gesture and nice to see him out talking with people. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to talk to him all that much as the NC State game was on TV and it was the first game of the season I’d gotten a chance to watch.

    Next was the chopped pork plate with mashed potatoes and black eyed peas. The pork was chopped well instead of shredded (as you see some places) which I like as you get some chunks in there along with the smaller bits. It was some of the juiciest barbecue I’ve had without being just straight out greasy/fatty. The spicy eastern NC sauce (they had spicy and mild eastern NC sauce as well as western NC sauce) was a nice counterpoint for the pork and overall the barbecue really impressed me.

    The mashed potatoes had some large chunks in them which I like but overall they weren’t all that special. The black eyed peas had a nice salty taste from the side meat that was cooked in with them. Basically cooked exactly like you’d expect black eyes peas to be cooked.

    For dessert (seriously I had no room for dessert as the portions were large, but wanted to try it anyway) I had the banana rum pudding torte. There was a nice meringue on top dusted with (I believe) espresso powder, a nice custard with bananas with graham cracker crust mixed in. I didn’t see the advertised caramelized bananas but it was very good nonetheless.

    I did notice that the pricing on the family style dinner said it was $24/person, which is much different than what is posted above. Not sure if I had a menu they printed prior to changing the price or if that’s the new price. I was mainly interested in the chopped pork so I didn’t ask the server about it.

    Overall I was very impressed and will definitely be back.

  5. Varmint says:

    That’s too bad about the price change on the family style offering, but I’m not surprised.

    Thanks for the report. I thought I’d be able to get over there tonight, but no can do. If only my wife were a barbecue eater!!!

  6. VaNC says:

    I am not surprised either and said so to the waiter….but just didn’t think it would be this quick!

  7. Varmint says:

    It’s all your fault, VaNC!!!! Damn you!

  8. Shields says:

    Had difficulty making a reservation, as AT&T didn’t have a phone number listed for them last week. I left a message @ Greg Hatem’s office with my request for seating on opening night @ 7:30. The reservation was confirmed Monday AM. My wife, our married daughter, a good friend & I tried to sample almost everything on the menu. I thought the chopped whole hog was great, the pulled pork very good (some was dry), the baby back ribs OK, the roasted chicken moist & flavorful & the chopped, smoked bbq turkey especially tasty. We ended up with 2 of the Family Style dinners & sides of collards (good, but not mushy enough), hush puppies (not great), black eyed peas w/raw onions(very good), potato salad (good), blue potato salad (very interesting, but bland). I thought the slaw was ordinary (too much mayo for me). We had two appetisers, fried green tomatoes, visually perfectly prepared, that were served with a “roasted red pepper chutney” which had the consistency & appearance of sweet and sour sauce from a Chinese takeout, had no taste whatever & the Brunswick Stew, prepared with “rabbit broth, local beans & vegetables” included macaroni (!) and was a big disappointment. After we were seated, Dexter, our knowledgeable, excellent waiter, brought rolls & herbed butter to our table after taking our cocktail order. I would have much preferred cornbread or the aforementioned hush puppies. Ed Mitchell stopped by our table & escorted us back to view his kitchen, which was a very nice touch. We enjoyed visiting with Greg Hatem, who was also dining there. There are a few sharp edges to smooth, but we enjoyed our dinner & look forward to many more pleasant meals there. I also look forward to lunching there. All in all, any food shortcomings were more than made up by the excellent “Q”! The service was attentive and helpful. I hope they’ll be a rousing success, but will continue to take a reservation!

  9. Varmint says:

    We also have to remember they’ve been open, what, 4 or 5 days? I’m not too concerned about service issues for awhile.

    But thanks for the report!

  10. Dissappointed says:

    Truthfully, this place was very dissappointing. I took my sons and girlfriend there after hearing good things about it (above). Getting to the point – the ribs were tough and dry to the point that they kids could not pull them apart, much less eat them. The cheese and mac was “too cheesy” according to my son, who normally loves the stuff. The sides were ok, but nothing special. The wines were overpriced (and not chilled) and the service was nonexistent at times. At one point I had to send my son to find salt and pepper for our salads. The bill came to $140, hardly the $30 mentioned above. I did point out the tough ribs to the manager to no avail. Needless to say, there are many other great BBQ options in this city that are much more cost effective with better food and service. For $140 I expect succulent, meat falling off the bone ribs!

  11. FuzzyT says:

    I ate there over the weekend with some friends. We tried a nice spread of BBQ selections and sides. Some hits, a few misses, and some things were just OK.

    Service was good when it was present. There were a few gaps, but we were treated well when they were there.

    The Brunswick Stew was more of a soup, a clear red broth with smoked meat and vegetable inclusions. Very fine and tasty, but in a far different style than most would expect. Perhaps they need City and Country versions of this item as well.

    Turkey fritters were OK. Chopped meat in fried bread balls. A little heavy. Generous portion. Dipping sauce needs some work. Not really recommended.

    Fried green tomatoes consisted of a generous platter of wedges, battered in a light cornmeal and fried. Pretty good, and sized for a group.

    The pulled pork was moist, soft and luscious. The chopped whole hog was very moist and flavorful with a nice chili vinegar saucing and little bits of crackling. Highly recommended.

    The ribs were dry and chewy, but had a nice spice rub and smoke flavor. Maybe that’s just the style they are going for? Hard to say. So far, it doesn’t seem a popular choice. The brisket was similar in it’s flavoring, but much more moist.

    Sides were adequate, but maybe a little overdone in the richness department. Yams were a little too soft and candied, mac and cheese to overtly cheesy/fatty. My friend loved the mashed potatoes.

    I do think they have some of the best chopped Q around. And anyone who likes Q really should check them out. And there’s no reason it has to be an expensive sitting. My advice would be to focus on the simple BBQ plates and find your favorite sides. The chopped plate with two sides was $12 on the dinner menu and very satisfying all by itself. To keep the check in line with the value, don’t go crazy on drinks, appetizers and other extras. The portions and richness of the fare are such that you don’t really want or need to anyway. We spent $30 per person with drinks, apps, tax and tip, but I would have been just as satisfied if I’d spent $20.

    I’m looking forward to going back and trying the fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Or maybe just dropping in for a coffee and something from the dessert list.

  12. MB says:

    Heading to The Pit tonight with my two girls in tow and meeting my friend Belle who is in town this week. I’ll post a report tomorrow if I’m not in a bbq coma.

  13. Varmint says:

    The Pit’s website now has a menu:

  14. MB says:

    So, I went to The Pit last night with my 2 daughters and met a friend who had 2 teenage boys. Upon arrival, my oldest daughter questioned the look of the bbq joint. Actually thought I was trying to play a trick on her since it did not look anything like any other bbq place she had ever seen (i.e. there were no pictures of pigs on the wall). She did decide to come on into the restaurant since it smelled good and it was quite chilly outside.

    I am going to break my analysis down into categories as follows:

    Food: We were offered a bread basket which contained hushpuppies, biscuits and corn muffins. The hushpuppies appeared burnt so I passed on those and got a biscuit instead. They were okay and tasted the corn muffin and it was okay as well. An order of chicken wings came out and I sampled one. Not something I would order again. There were smoked but lacked any depth of flavor. But I was there for the bbq which turned out to be excellent. I was very happy that I had the option to add in skin and it was delicious. The oldest did not add skin into her bbq so she was trying to steal mine. The youngest does not like bbq, I’m still not sure she is my child, so she ordered the kids’ macaroni and cheese. Dean, breathe here, I know I know we requested a children’s menu but there was no way I was going to pay entree prices for the youngest. Apparently the mac and cheese was quite tasty and looked really good because she was smiling while eating. The sides I requested with my chopped whole hog were collard greens and black eyed peas and the oldest ordered collard greens and mashed potatoes. Upon arrival of the food I was informed that the collard greens did not look like collards. I had to reassure her that they were and that the greens just were not chopped as much as her granny’s. I took one bite of my greens and requested pepper vinegar, which they did have. There was no salt or pepper on the table so that had to be requested as well for the black eyed peas. The mashed potatoes did not get rave reviews apparently it is hard to compete with Mama Dip’s. Overall the sides were bland and needed some assistance. Now onto dessert which was cheesecake, eggnog creme brulee and a child’s brownie/sundae. The first two got rave reviews. The brownie/sundae was just okay. I know that it was ordered off of the children’s menu but you still do not bring a child a luke warm brownie with one scoop of icecream and a cherry. There was no chocolate drizzled, no whipped creme, nothing extra.

    Service: Initially our service was quite good. But as the meal progressed it grew worse. The resturant was not busy and we had to ask other staff members for water, more tea, salt and pepper, and dessert menus. But worst of all we sat for 15 minutes waiting on the bill to arrive and had to ask the host to find our waitress so that we could pay. Once the bill did arrive it included a 20% gratuity! No way in this world was the service worth a 20% gratuity. Besides our party of 6 included 3 teenagers and 1 child hardly a table you automatically add gratuity.

    Overall: We met Mr. Mitchell and once the oldest saw him and realized that he was in charge of the bbq she felt a lot more comfortable. She informed me that he belonged in a bbq joint but nothing else there did. The bbq was excellent, the sides need some assistance as well as the bread, be nice to the kids and make their food special as well, pick up the service please and for goodness sake don’t just automatically add in a gratuity. This is not a place I will dine often even though I love bbq until they start a lunch menu or just offer me a pound to go.

  15. VaNC says:

    Funny you should mention the salt/pepper thing. One peeve I had was that there was no salt or pepper on the table. One of the kids with me wanted pepper on her mac and cheese, so we had to find the waiter and get him to get the huge honkin’ fancy grinder and come hand grind pepper onto her plate. If I could change one thing at the restaurant, at least for the front of the house (I know the back area is fancier) I would put salt and pepper shakers on the tables.

  16. MB says:

    The Pit is now open for lunch.

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