Bound to confound many locally-focused diners and delight others happy to gain more access, the first franchise of decades-old SoDo barbecue stand Pecos Pit opens officially in West Seattle today, following a soft opening last week. Next stop: the world.
Debra Wise, who continues to run the original Pecos Pit, has ceded franchising rights to Gerry Kingen, the entrepreneur who turned local name Red Robin into a worldwide chain. Kingen aims to do the same for Pecos Pit (full name: Pecos Pit Bar-B-Que), starting with West Seattle but with every intention of spreading these smoked meats across the globe. If Wise and her husband ever decide to sell the original spot, Kingen has first right of refusal.
An early step in making the concept viable for large volume has been cleaning up the company’s website — a local hole-in-the-wall in a converted gas station can get away with minimal web presence, but that simply won’t do for a growing chain. The official site now boasts such modern flourishes as drool-worthy high-resolution food photos, separate landing pages for each location, menus, and plenty of historical background for customers looking to experience some of Seattle’s best barbecue.
The restaurant copy also features chain-friendly touches that may mystify the average customer, such as trademark symbols protecting wildly generic phrases: "The menu offers Genuine Slow Smoked Wood Roasted™ chopped pork butt, chopped or sliced beef brisket or sliced chicken sandwiches in 8 oz, 4 oz and 2 oz sizes with mild, medium or "damn hot" barbecue sauce. Once you enter the aggressive franchise waters, though, best protect your neck.
West Seattle Herald has a slideshow of images from the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new location, which seats 37 on stools inside and 24 at picnic tables outside. There’s also a drive-thru. In a first for Pecos Pit, expect alcohol at the West Seattle outpost, including a beer called Smoking Hot Pale Ale brewed exclusively for the restaurant by The Pike Brewing Company, a moonshine-based cocktail called Sweet Sippin’ Lemonade, and even shots of moonshine.
If you’re eager to test a concept that could be a household name within a few years, or simply curious how the first franchise stacks up against the still-independent original, check out Pecos Pit West Seattle now.
4400 35th Ave SW, (206) 708-7691, website. Open Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.