‘Cue Review: The Pit, Raleigh, NC (328 W. Davie Street)

Having lived in the Triangle area for about two years now, I have heard a lot of high praise for The Pit, a Raleigh barbecue joint.  Yesterday, I finally made the drive over to give it a try. 

The first thing you notice when you get to W. Davie Street is that it does not look like the typical barbecue dive.  The Pit is located in what looks like an old warehouse in Raleigh.  I have to admit that I was more than a little skeptical when I drove up and saw a valet stand outside.  When you step inside, it looks more like a moderately upscale restaurant than a barbecue joint.  Gone are the picnic tables, cinder blocks, wood paneling, and old tablecloths.  These are replaced by trendy paints and a large bar that takes up the front portion of the restaurant.  My skepticism was further increased when I noticed, toward the bottom of the menu, a choice for tofu barbecue.  You read that right, tofu.  At a ‘barbecue’ restaurant. 

At this point, my expectations were not very high.  I decided to order something basic: a chopped barbecue sandwich with cole slaw, fries, Brunswick stew, and sweet tea.  After what seemed like 30 minutes, the tea arrived.  It was fairly decent, albeit too sweet for my tastes (which is saying something).  The stew was next.  It was turkey-based, with a generous portion of vegetables.  It was quit thin, so that it tasted more like vegetable soup than Brunswick stew.  That said, it was marginally good vegetable soup.  The barbecue was in the Eastern NC tradition: pork, pit cooked without sauce, chopped, and served with slaw.  While it wasn’t the best I have had, it was pretty good.  The slaw had the right amount of mayonnaise, and the pork was moist and flavorful.  There are two sauce choices.  The first, which I would recommend, is a vinegar based sauce.  It has enough kick to it, although it is complemented by an unfortunate sweet taste.  The other choice is a tomato based sauce, and I would generally warn visitors to stay away from it. 

All-in-all, The Pit was okay.  It was too “dressy” for my tastes, but Mrs. BBQisNotaVerb probably would have liked the options better than many of the barbecue places to which I drag her.  If you are in Raleigh, it is probably worth a stop, although I wouldn’t make a special trip, and you can certainly find more authentic places in the area. 

Website: http://www.thepit-raleigh.com/

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One Response to ‘Cue Review: The Pit, Raleigh, NC (328 W. Davie Street)

  1. Dan Brewerton says:

    I am sad to report that their quality has suffered greatly with the departure of Ed Mitchell. When we went to The Pit in February of this year, the food was simply phenominal. We had never had such awesome barbeque in our lives. So yesterday on our way home from Vacationing in Key West, Florida we decided to stop expecting the same awesome food we had last time. Can I tell you, were we shocked. First off, the menu is tiny now but their drink menu is huge. Secondly, everything was way overseasoned with salt and red pepper flakes. They claim to be using a 3 wood blend. Really hard to tell considering they kill any sense of smoke with the spice. The bottle of cider vinegar has now been “upgraded” to include heavy red pepper flakes. The collard greens had no salt at all – a beginner’s mistake. The BBQ Beans had no flavor at all, at least until I added some from the bottle. I’m sorry, but considering what we got in February and what we ate yesterday, it was an epic fail in my opinion. It almost reminded me of the cafeteria food I would eat when I was in grade school, less the red pepper flakes. What the new management has done to the quality standards of The Pit is simply criminal. I was almost tempted to walk back to the kitchen and say, “Do you need to be taught what Carolina Que is? Did you even taste this garbage???” The waiter lied to us saying that the food was better quality now and that they kept the original recipies. I honestly feel even he didn’t believe the lies he was trying to feed us. It used to be fun there, now it is more like a prison camp with bad food. The only thing that was good about the place was the hush puppies (almost impossible to screw those up) and the drinks. The rest of the meal was a bitter disappointment and a terrible waste of money…

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