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Pit people

Our Family


Joel Dobson, Head Pitmaster


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Melanie Dunia, Executive Chef


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Linwan Euwell, Chef and Pitmaster


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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.