Raleigh's pitmaster leaves for new venture

Posted May 25, 2011

The Pitmaster Ed Mitchell chops up barbecue for a long line of people at the State Farmer's Market in 2010.

— Ed Mitchell, the man who was the face of eastern North Carolina barbecue at downtown Raleigh's The Pit and in the national media, is leaving the restaurant to pursue new ventures, he said Wednesday.

Mitchell has been featured in Bon Appetit magazine and famously faced off against Food Network's Bobby Flay in a cook-off.

He trademarked his title, "The Pitmaster," as a brand, and his next move will capitalize on that. Mitchell plans a new restaurant somewhere in the Triangle and is looking to extend into other areas as well.

In a statement, Mitchell said, "I thank Greg Hatem (of The Pit ownership group Empire Eats) for providing a wonderful location and ongoing support that allowed us to make The Pit into a nationally recognized barbecue restaurant. The Pit is a ongoing success, and I feel it's time for me to branch out into new restaurant concepts and to pursue some exciting business opportunities that I hope will make North Carolina-style barbecue even more popular."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • rd2731 May 26, 2011

    Im not a fan or NC Barbeque nor is it recognized Nationaly, like Memphis or Kansas City.

  • 23tony May 26, 2011

    I've generally liked The Pit, but it hasn't seemed quite as good the last few times I've been.

    @chuck1947 - Not sure where you're getting that idea from - Mitchell is leaving to do other stuff, the restaurant is staying, just as it is.

  • princessdukedaisey May 26, 2011

    I love the BBQ at The Pit. Been a couple of times, and both times the food was fantastic. I also think the sides are amazing. I've had the collards, black eyed peas, Cheesy Bacon grits (my fav.), the sweet potato fries and I've never had to send anything back. They have the best ribs I've ever tasted as well. Unlike some, I know I WILL MISS him!!! Maybe he'll open a restaurant a little closer to my home ;)

  • chuck1947 May 26, 2011

    I wonder if he lost this place for the same reason he lost the one in Wilson, not paying state, local and federal taxes. He tried to re-open the place in wilson but could'nt work out the new financing with the bank.

  • piknowles4 May 25, 2011

    You said it all "Wheelman"!

  • EverythingTicksMeOff May 25, 2011

    Wow, I thought I was the only one who didn't like the Q at Ed Mitchell's place. Sides were good. Just like everyone else says. The place won't miss Ed and I don't miss the place.

  • tldavids May 25, 2011

    I've eaten there once and didn't like the bbq either. I agree with the post that mentions the side dishes however. They were fantastic! I'm from down east and much prefer Skylight Inn in Ayden or the new place on 70 East just outside of Goldsboro. Can't think of it's name but it is only open on thurs, fri and sat and is also fantastic.

  • IBleedRedandWhite May 25, 2011

    I've been to the Pit once and I did not think it was a good representation of Eastern NC bbq. I got the pulled pork, chopped pork, and smoked turkey. I have had way better of all three just setting up a smoker with some buddies on a weekend. The sauce to me was way too peppery. However, the sides were amazing and the banana pudding was also excellent as well.

  • randow23 May 25, 2011

    I dined at The Pit only once with 4 other people. The only person who enjoyed their meal was the one ordering the ribs.I have had far better pork barbecue at dozens of other places including a guy who sets up a cooker roadside every other weekend.How do you mess up hush puppies? Sent them back twice and they were terrible. Cheese cornbread tasted like it had a slice of american cheese melted on top.The Pit was a huge dissapointment. The pitmaster lost the competition on the Today Show by the way.

  • superman May 25, 2011

    Never heard of it but then of course I would never go to downtown Raleigh, unless I have business. Then it would be a very quick trip in and out. He must have plenty of money to throw away-- people not eating out as much with our bad economy. Extra money goes to pay for gasoline.