Seeing its giant, neon, billboard of a sign, advertising the finest in Missouri style cuisine, it is nigh impossible to pass up The Bear Pit Bar-B-Q in Mission Hills, CA. While "food to go" might be their specialty, the ambience created by hand painted murals, sawdust-covered floors, and decades worth of random tschotske collecting, beckons visitors to stay and eat in.
|In a foodie world with regionally-specific cuisine becoming readily available in every region,|
to "dare comparison" might be to tread into dangerous territory.
According to the Bear Pit Bar-B-Q website, Tennessee Ernie Ford was an "early endorser of the restaurant."
|"I endorse The Bear Pit Bar-B-Q, bless its pea pickin' heart!"|
Although, what TENNESSEE Ernie Ford was doing endorsing a Missouri-style restaurant, is something for which I cannot account. Nevertheless, there are many things to love about this classic 1940's roadside eatery in spite of the statehood confusion...
|The wagon wheel chandeliers|
|The strangely-rendered but entirely-charming cartoon murals|
|The rustic, light box, beer sign among an assortment of interesting wall hangings|
In an effort to maintain full disclosure - I LOVE BBQ SAUCE!!!
As with all wacky tacky eateries, it is wise to remember that the quickest way to the love of these places is not necessarily through the stomach. Sometimes we love restaurants for their delicious food, sometimes for their history. Sometimes we love these places because despite current culinary trends, they stand resolute in maintaining a tried and true menu (even if it isn't the best that one has ever tasted) and a style of presentation that remains unchanged in three-quarters of a century. To understand and appreciate The Bear Pit Bar-B-Q, one should follow a few simple rules.
Rule #1 at BPBBQ: Don't take a vegetarian!
Nick was limited to onion rings and what Bear Pit refers to as "Deep Fried Taters."
As delicious as fried potatoes are like to be, these potato cores, hard after a brief
baptism in hot oil, are strange if not entirely unappetizing.
We took it upon ourselves to bestow a more fitting moniker - "Potato Poopies."
|Mr. Tiny opted for the hot link plate with coleslaw and BBQ beans.|
|Rule #3 at BPBBQ: Make yourself welcome|
Embrace the culture of the restaurant. A combination of bear statues,
painted seagulls, and windmill clocks indicate that you must be someplace
that is pretty special!
|Heck, if these guys like it, it must be good!!!|
Although it seems contrary, I wanted to include a Tennessee Ernie Ford song that will help you boogie on down to The Bear Pit Bar-B-Q - Missouri style.