In our humble opinion, great hospitality and great food are all it takes to make someone feel at home.
Our fondest memories take place around the kitchen table, and we think yours should, too.
This is how we define ourselves: by each guest’s experience in our home. It’s your best friend's rehearsal dinner, a beer with colleagues on the rooftop, mom's birthday celebration, a quiet moment before you say "I do."
We’ve been called a lot of things, but ordinary isn’t one of them. We pride ourselves on legendary events and memories that last a lifetime, featuring fresh, local, seasonal eats rooted in truth, not trends. So, grab a seat and get comfortable. There’s always room for more at the table.
The Royal Crown and Seven-Up Bottling Plant at 321 W Geer Street in Durham was built in 1939 in the Moderne style. It is a contributing structure within the Foster and W Geer Streets National Register Historic District. Indeed, it is the largest structure in the district, making its preservation all the more important to retaining the character of the neighborhood. The building operated as a bottling plant until at least 1963, but was vacant and in deteriorating condition until Empire purchased the building in 2012.
Following acquisition, Empire began to plan a historic tax credit rehabilitation. The repair and preservation of original materials and features was essential. Indeed, the building retains its original industrial feel--concrete floors, steel frame windows, exposed wood joist ceilings, exposed brick, even black marker scrawled on the walls to identify soft drink syrup mixtures. Viewed in isolation, the writing is not particularly aesthetically pleasing, but in the context of a historic bottling plant, it provides current users a real sense of connection to the building and its past use. In addition to the preservation of historic details, new mechanical, electrical, and sprinkler systems were added in the manner least intrusive to the historic building, reenergizing the structure for use for many years to come.
The current tenant at 321 W Geer Street, The Pit Durham Event Venue is a perfect fit for the dynamic and constantly evolving Rigsbee Avenue district, which provides spaces and uses enjoyable to Durham residents and visitors alike. Indeed, the project, completed in early 2014, is an excellent example of how to use the past to build an engaging and authentic downtown environment.
The common practice in the first-settled coastal plains, or what came to be known as Eastern North Carolina barbecue, was to roast split whole hogs over wood coals and anoint the crispy-yet-succulent meat with the English “catsup” of the time — vinegar enlivened with salt, hot peppers, and occasionally a dash of oyster juice for flavor.
German settlers, who later swept into North Carolina’s piedmont by way of the Great Wagon Road, established the custom of barbecuing only the pork shoulder while adding a little tomato puree and sugar to the vinegar sauce of the east. Over time, this use of dark meat from the pig’s shoulder and other meats, in combination with a sweet tomato-based sauce, came to be known as Western North Carolina barbecue.
At The Pit, we proudly carry on the tradition of wood-fired, free-range, vinegar-based, whole-hog Eastern North Carolina barbecue. We also give a nod to our brethren in the west by serving pulled pork, ribs, and beef brisket with our tangy and sweet tomato-based sauce.