My day job has taken me all over the place lately... I thought, while I am racking up the miles, I might as well share my experiences with the RT faithful. Raleigh is not far away, but it has a totally different look and feel than the queen city. I was given marching orders from a client to learn the restaurant climate in Raleigh as well as I know the Queen City... This is a daunting task to say the least. The QC is my stomping ground, my home turf. I was born at Presbyterian Hospital for God's sake... I decided to put my Charlotte snobbery on hold so I could give an unbiased state of the union perspective on our little brother complex vexed neighbors to the north. I will never understand how Raleigh can get away with having an 8 lane outer belt that is an utter ghost town at rush hour while our beloved I 485 loop snarls and coughs the way around our city at a glacial pace. Enough politics, lets talk about the grub..
I started my tour at The Pit in Downtown. This place has gained big time notoriety through their "Whole Hog" practices as well as their lovable authentic face of the franchise, Ed Mitchell. This guy looks like a typecast BBQ pit master.
Oops, he bolted... Well, the show must go on. If there is one rule in running restaurants, it is change happens. You can't build your restaurant around one person. I am told all of the recipes stayed in house. First impression... Why is this place called the pit, (I know it is because of the BBQ pit, I am setting up a weak joke here so give me some room) it should be called the palace!
Aside from being surprised that the prices were robust and the digs were manicured, I was ready to eat some Q.
I ordered a platter and told the bartender to bring me whatever the chef would want me to eat.
Biscuit...decent. Pulled pork good with limited bark and slightly soupy texture. Nice Eastern style sauce with decent kick. Added bonus, baked beans different from the crowd and tasty.
Brisket... OK This meat is a pain to cook to say the least, so I give people a break if it is not up to snuff. This was not...
The biggest mystery was how the hell they got away with putting a double pit smoker in the middle of their restaurant.
If I tried this in our fair city, I would be laughed out of the Hal Marshal building in Uptown Charlotte (This is where the society of decision makers in regards to county zoning reside). If you ever want a good laugh, go here and ask one of these guys to think outside the box to help solve a problem with a project you are working on! Actually there are some great people there, some who have helped me tremendously on projects. My impatience with red tape makes me cranky... Give The Pit a shot if you are in town. It is unique enough to warrant a visit if you are in Raleigh and need some smoke in your diet.