Spy Raleigh happened to be right next door to what has been dubbed one of the best restaurants in Raleigh. Our friend Alex, who skipped out on mixology but met us for dinner, had even gotten recommendations for The Pit from his friends who attend NC State and know the Raleigh restaurant scene pretty well. I like barbecue, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to have it, so my experience with it is somewhat limited. Although, since I went to Nashville sophomore year with Habitat for Humanity and interned with some southern boys last summer, I have learned that there are many different varieties of barbecue, all made with small but important differences. There’s Western Carolina, Eastern Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky bbq just to name a few. I think some of them have a more vinegar-y taste, some of them are sweeter, and some of them are spicier, but they’re all pretty good.
I was excited to see how The Pit’s Carolina barbecue would hold up next to our friends’ favorite, Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill. They love it so much that they go there (at least) once a month and have even had the opportunity to meet Mama herself! Personally, I’ve only been there twice, and since I never met Mama I didn’t have to worry about hurting her feelings if I liked The Pit better.
There was an incredibly long wait, but luckily Alex had the foresight to put down our name while he was waiting for us to finish up our blueberry bourbon drinks next door, so it wasn’t quite as painful. We spent the time in the chocolate shop across the street, Videri. It’s pretty unclear how they manage to stay in business as they sell a total of 5 products at pretty expensive prices, yet there they were. Worse, we bought some chocolate. After sampling every type (I have no shame), we settled on the Dark Milk Chocolate. Why spend $8 on a chocolate bar? It’s quite simple really. It costs $5 to park in the lot I parked in but you get your $ back if you buy something from one of the shops along the strip where this chocolate shop happened to be, so it was really like paying $3 for a bar of chocolate…which is still pretty expensive. Well, technically there were two bars of chocolate so $1.50 per bar isn’t bad? Okay, I’m starting to see how they stay in business. Damn that parking lot and its sneaky attendants coaxing me into buying things. It’s like they knew how much I love chocolate.
Regardless, after dealing with our buyer’s remorse, we headed back over to The Pit and were seated pretty promptly. Alex and Brad were feeling pretty wild and started off with some Jalapeño cornbread. The portions were enormous so we definitely could have split one among the entire table, but at least it left them with some to bring home. They brought over all sorts of breads for us to enjoy while we were waiting – cornbread, biscuits, and hush puppies to be exact. We pretty much gobbled down the basket immediately upon it touching the table. It was delicious – so far, at least in the hush puppy department, The Pit was winning.
For our entrees, people got ribs, fried chicken, turkey, or barbeque. I personally went with Carolina barbecue because it seemed appropriate. When all of our food arrived, I embarrassed myself by asking the waiter to take a picture of all of us holding up our food. I tried to explain that it was for a blog but I don’t think he believed me. Unfortunately, I can’t even put the pictures up because I think I accidentally deleted them from my camera – they’re nowhere to be found. Below is what we probably looked like:
As you can tell by how happy we are in the picture, we really enjoyed our meals. Although they were huge portions, I’m pretty sure I ate every bite. I’ll have to bring my friends over to get their take on The Pit, because I think it will definitely give Mama a run for her money!
Is Raleigh worth checking out even though Durham and Chapel Hill are right here? Definitely take a ride out if you have the chance! There are many restaurants right by The Pit if barbecue’s not your thing. It’s a super walk-able town which makes it fun to do with friends!