The Pit Adds Durham, Subtracts Pitmaster Ed Mitchell

A tip of the snout and “oink you” to Dave, who pointed me  to this very interesting N&O blog entry.  According to the Mouthful blog, legendary BBQ pitmaster Ed Mitchell, who helped found The Pit in downtown Raleigh, has parted ways with the restaurant (or vice versa).  Mitchell will pursue opening his own restaurant in a yet to be revealed location somewhere in the Triangle.  It will be interesting to see where Mitchell lands and whether he sticks with the upscale concept pioneered at The Pit, especially given that…  The Pit will be opening up a new location in downtown Durham sometime in the next several months, presumably in one of the Greg Hatem-owned buildings near the Post Office.  (Hatem is a partner in The Pit and is a major real estate developer in Raleigh, with more recent interests in up-and-coming Durham.)

According to the N&O, Hatem commented about the split that, “We enjoyed our relationship with Ed Mitchell. Ed wants to pursue the Ed Mitchell brand. We want to continue pursuing great North Carolina whole hog barbecue.”  Depending how you read that quote, it is either gracious or a bit of a dig at Mitchell’s larger than life barbecelebrity.  A visit to The Pit’s website, which used to revel in its ties to Ed Mitchell, reveals no mention of its now-former pitmaster.  Not surprising, but quite a change.

Looks like this story will be continued, so stay tuned…

4 Responses

  1. Nobody cooks whole-hog Eastern NC barbecue better than Ed Mitchell. I used to drive a long way to Wilson to eat it. But two visits to The Pit left me disappointed. Everything except the Eastern-style was lousy: a bizarre “Piedmont” sauce for the shoulders, ribs that had apparently sat in a serving tray for hours, and (honest) the worst brisket I’ve ever eaten. Even the whole-hog was just OK, which is wrong for the price the restaurant was charging. Mr Mitchell was busy working the front of the house, and I can’t believe that he’d tasted what was coming out of the back. If he starts a new place, I wish him well, but I hope he’ll work a little harder at what he’s good at, and maybe a little less hard at being Ed Mitchell, Pitmaster.

  2. […] barbecue vendor: The Pit restaurant from Raleigh, North Carolina!”  (Of course, soon enough The Pit will be from Durham […]

  3. I are at the Pit once. Poor Q. I agree ,Mitchell didn’t taste this. The place is just a high priced haven for yuppies. B’s, Bum’s, A&M, Bridge’s on 74 , and Stamey’s are among my favorites. We did a BBQ tour in Texas this spring. 14 outstanding places in all. Don’t try to compare with NC. NC pork is mighty fine. They serve brisket, pork ribs, sausage and sometimes turkey. Not often do you see beef ribs.
    I posted reviews on the Smoke Ring Forum “restaurant reviews”. The hills of Texas rock, but I’m a Carolina boy and I love good pork.


  4. First time we went to The Pit back in 2010, the food was delectible. We went again after Ed was no longer there and the waiter had the audacity to say the food was better. First thing I noticed is their food and drink menu sizes reversed. They offered few dishes and many drinks which was a red flag to me. I ordered the chopped pork which I ordered the first time we went there. What they brought me was lack luster; pulled pork with raw cider vinegar and red pepper flakes. The cider vinegar was not even cooked at all. My wife was very disappointed and we swore The Pit will never see another dime from us. Glad that Ed Mitchell’s ‘Que is finally open!

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