Raleigh's pitmaster leaves for new venture

Posted May 25, 2011 5:02 p.m. EDT
Updated May 25, 2011 8:24 p.m. EDT

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."