After a series of pandemic-related delays, beloved pitmaster Ed Mitchell and his son Ryan are finally ready to begin serving their famous eastern Carolina-style barbecue.
The Mitchells’ delivery-only ghost kitchen approach launching this Friday, March 5, isn’t what they originally had in mind. More than a year ago, the family announced plans to team up with Lou Moshakos and his daughter Amber, who run the popular local Carolina Ale House chain and a series of other restaurants. The new venture would be called the Preserve and open near Raleigh’s North Hills neighborhood just inside the beltway.
“We’re preserving a lot of things, the art of whole hog barbecue, the art of family business, of hospitality, of legacy,” Ryan Mitchell told Raleigh Magazine a little over a year ago. “Barbecue remains the one thing people in North Carolina are proud to introduce their guests to.”
But the pandemic snarled their plans, slowing down restaurant construction and making the prospect of indoor dining less appealing. The Preserve’s pop-up-style ghost kitchen aims to fill the gap until the brick-and-mortar can be fully functioning. Starting Friday afternoon and then running limited weekend hours tentatively set for 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, the temporary arrangement is bound to run out of food before closing.
That’s because Ed Mitchell is a legend in this business. He’s gone up against Bobby Flay in a rib throwdown and won. He’s been featured in all the bigs, from Saveur to The New Yorker to Gourmet. He helped open the Pit, one of Raleigh and Durham’s most popular barbecue spots, and launched the now-defunct Que in Durham with Ryan. In the subsequent five years, North Carolinians have been waiting for the next project from these patron saints of Eastern-style, whole hog barbecue. The pop-up will have to hold them over until the Preserve formally opens.
The Mitchells announced the ghost kitchen beginning Friday at 4 p.m. on their Facebook and Instagram accounts on Tuesday but haven’t yet released a menu. But according to the Preserve’s website, fans can expect the chopped barbecue to be accompanied by ribs, slow-smoked chicken, wings, and “traditional Southern sides.” On Wednesday, Ryan teased a photo of Kansas City baked beans made with the family’s thick and sweet sauce.
It’s unclear how wide the Preserve’s delivery radius will be, but keep an eye on the company’s social media accounts for updates on the full menu and how to place delivery orders.
• The Preserve [Official]
• A Family Story [Raleigh Magazine]
• North Carolina Ribs and BBQ Baked Beans [Food Network]
• Pitmaster Ed Mitchell’s Next Restaurant Is On Hold [N&O]