‘Cuegrass Festival in Downtown Raleigh on Saturday

April 13, 2010

If there were ever a match made in heaven, it would be whole hog North Carolina barbecue with local swamp-trash rockers,  Southern Culture on the Skids.  But it ain’t heaven, it’s Davie Street in downtown Raleigh this Saturday at the second annual North Carolina ‘Cuegrass Festival.  I love how they state that the festival features the “bluegrass music by Southern Culture on the Skids.”  Er, SCOTS is not a bluegrass band.  SCOTS is not anywhere close to a bluegrass band.  But SCOTS is a perfect band to play at a festival featuring Southern food, and particularly barbecue (fried chicken and banana pudding would be great, too).   Now there are some legit bluegrass bands playing at ‘Cuegrass, so fans of banjo picking and fiddle playing need not worry about getting your fill of tunes.

The festival is put on by the folks at The Pit restaurant in Raleigh, and it’s a huge fundraiser to support the W.C. Breeze Family Farm, a 270-acre educational farm near Hillsborough devoted to sustainable agriculture, and the North Carolina Future Farmers of America , a student farmers’ education group.  Barbecue sandwich plates, beef brisket sandwich plates, and beer (great local stuff) each will sell for $5.  Pretty simple, and pretty reasonable (where’s that nanner puddin’??).  And who knows, maybe Greg Hatem, Ed Mitchell and the other folks at Empire Eats will expand this festival to bring in other pitmasters from across the country, as is the case with the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party.  We need that type of party here in North Carolina!

North Carolina ‘Cuegrass Festival
Saturday, April 17
11 AM to 4 PM (Rain or Shine)
328 W. Davie St., Raleigh, NC
Free entry
www.cuegrass.com


The Pit to Expand

August 6, 2009

pit-100Not the most earth-shattering news, but business has been so good for The Pit that they’re about to expand, according to pitmaster Ed Mitchell.  They’ll be opening a new take-out window where you can get as much barbecue as you want.  Mitchell told me that business has been extremely good, and you need reservations on Thursday through Saturday unless you want to eat very early or late.  Obviously, all the attention Mitchell and The Pit have been getting of late has really paid off.


Man v. Food in Raleigh on Wednesday

January 26, 2009

adamrichmanYou have a chance to be on television if you head down to The Pit on Wednesday, as the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food show will be filming there.   The crew is supposed to arrive around 3:00 PM, hanging out with Ed Mitchell and his staff, and then they’ll try to get a feel for the place as Mitchell hangs out with customers around 6.  In honor of this special filming, The Pit is offering two specials:

  • a double combo with Carolina Ribs and Chopped Hog  with two sides for $14.99 (normally $19.59)
  • all you can eat Chopped Hog and two sides also for  $14.99 (not normally offered)

Host Adam Richman and his crew will also be at Mama Dip’s and the Roast Grill — where Richman will be eating 15 “hot weiners” along with 15 buns, a half pint of mustard, one pint of chili sauce and three drinks (small bottles of Coke, I presume).  The show is scheduled to air at 10 PM on March 18.


Raleigh is Smokin’

June 12, 2008

If you live in the Triangle, you’re having to deal with all the smoke due to the wildfires in coastal North Carolina. The air quality is pretty bad right now, and it’ll probably get worse before it gets better.

The funny thing about this (if anything can be funny about wildfires) came from when I went to The Pit for lunch today. For the first time ever, the air outside The Pit was smokier than inside. And that’s saying something.


Ed Mitchell Featured in N&O

February 6, 2008

Andrea Weigl has a great in-depth story on The Pit’s Ed Mitchell in today’s News & Observer. Weigl pulls no punches, digging into Mitchell’s background, his lawsuit with the bank that foreclosed on his Wilson barbecue restaurant, and his ultimate conviction for tax evasion. Ed Mitchell, like all of us, is a flawed human being. He has made a number of mistakes and lost control of the industry built around his “Pitmaster” persona. But give him credit: he landed on his feet, found a solid business partner in Greg Hatem, and has put together an incredible barbecue restaurant. In some ways, Mitchell’s failings make him a much more intriguing character, and when you get right down to it, a little notoriety probably ain’t too bad for business. Frankly, I like Ed Mitchell — he’s got a personality that will win you over the moment you talk to him. You may feel like you’re talking to a snake oil salesman, but Mitchell ultimately convinces you that not only should you buy that snake oil, but it really does the body good. He’s a salesman. He’s a personality. He’s a barbecue icon. While you’re at it, check out the multimedia presentation on Mitchell on the N&O’s website. Read the rest of this entry »


The Pit is Great, And They’re Open for Lunch

January 22, 2008

thepit.jpgThe Pit has now been open for nearly two months, and I finally made it there for lunch. Yes, that’s right, for lunch — they started offering the mid-day meal in the last couple of weeks. But others — many others — have beaten me to the punch. Greg Cox of the N&O has already visited and will be reviewing it shortly. Bob Garner‘s crew is editing his review for his television report. And I, after writing about it extensively (including my first ever post on VarmintBites), finally got down to Davie Street to see how good it was. Damn good is the answer.

For some reason, I was a bit skeptical of The Pit. Most of the early reviews were favorable, with a few high praises and one or two “no, thank yous” mixed in. I knew Ed Mitchell could cook a pig as well or better than anyone else, but I also remembered that his Wilson restaurant was plagued with quality control problems. Blame it on inattentiveness, bad management, or just lack of consistent turnover, but I had some pretty lousy barbecue at Mitchell’s. That’s why I was hoping, but not overly optimistically, that this partnership with Greg Hatem and Empire Eats would result in a quality eating establishment. Read the rest of this entry »


The Pit Opens Today

November 26, 2007

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.

Read the rest of this entry »


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