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Pit people

Our Family

Joel Dobson, Head Pitmaster


Melanie Finkel, Executive Chef

Andrew Bruce, Chef and Pitmaster

Linwan Euwell, Chef and Pitmaster

Bob Garner

Bob Garner shares our passion for historic and cultural preservation, including nurturing our state's historic foodways...and most especially our rich barbecue legacy. At the restaurant, on the web, at special events and through the printed word, he will join us as strive to become even more enthusiastic caretakers of this colorful segment of our popular culture. He's the author of North Carolina Barbecue: Flavored by Time, an exploration of North Carolina's long-standing love affair with barbecue, and Bob Garner's Guide to North Carolina Barbecue, a popular restaurant guide. Publisher John F. Blair will combine both works, with much new and updated material, into Bob Garner's Book of Barbecue, to be published in May 2012. Bob is a familiar face on UNC-TV, North Carolina's statewide public television network, where he produces regular restaurant features for North Carolina Weekend, broadcast statewide on Thursday and Friday evenings. He is perhaps best known for his previous hour-long special, North Carolina Barbecue, based on his first book. He has also written extensively for Our State magazine, including a 10-part series on traditional southern foods entitled Bob Garner Eats. He has appeared on The Food Network's Paula's Home Cookin', featuring Paula Deen, and FoodNation with Bobby Flay; ABC's Good Morning, America; and the Travel Channel's Road Trip. Garner has also been a featured speaker at the annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in New York and the Southern Foodway Alliance annual symposium in Oxford, Mississippi.

Greg Hatem, Owner

Greg Hatem grew up cooking pigs each Fall in Halifax County, so it was no surprise he later opened The Pit in Raleigh, honoring the state’s best known and much cherished culinary tradition. With his love and passion for barbecue and North Carolina, Greg paid painstaking attention to every detail in the creation of The Pit in both Raleigh and Durham, including sourcing hogs from local farmers and producers.
The founder of Empire Eats, a sister business to Empire Properties real estate development, Greg has been credited as a primary initiator and ongoing contributor to the revitalization of downtown Raleigh. Empire Eats’ other restaurants that also are part of the evolution of Raleigh into a thriving culinary center include The Raleigh Times Bar, The Morning Times Coffee Shop & Gallery, Sitti (honoring Greg’s Lebanese heritage), and Gravy (Italian) restaurants.
Greg has been a passionate, creative force behind each concept, for which he also is involved in the recruitment of chefs, financing, design and dÉcor, and non-traditional marketing, for which Empire Eats restaurants have come to be known.