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The Bear Pit Bar-B-Q Review

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Yesterday was Father’s Day, and my father-in-law’s food choice was BBQ. He loves eating old school style: think the Smoke House, Pink’s, El Coyote – and to this day laments the closing of the Tips Restaurant on Lyons Avenue in Santa Clarita. So when he picked The Bear Pit, a 50-plus-year-old, Missouri-style BBQ restaurant in the Valley (on Sepulveda near the 118 freeway) the rest of us were only too happy to oblige.

When we arrived at The Bear Pit around 2 pm for a late lunch, there was still a little bit of a wait. (Seems like when many Dads take a Sunday off from manning meats on the grill, they choose restaurants that, umm, grill meats.) It seemed popular, which is always a good sign. But then we ate the food, and I realized how much middle America loves just average restaurant food, especially when it’s piled high on a plate.

Most of us ordered the dinner special, which includes soup or salad, two sides, tater tot-like potatoes and garlic toast. Two members of our party ordered the BBQ beef, one person ordered the baby back ribs and I ordered the BBQ chicken. After we got our order in, it took a little while to get our drinks. I don’t think that an order of two Diet Cokes, a Sprite and a regular Coke was that complicated, but I know that wait staffs are always slammed on holidays so stuff like this is to be expected at restaurants, right?

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Our appetizers – a creamy chicken soup, coleslaw and two iceberg lettuce-based salads -- arrived first. And the salads were just as expected for iceberg dinner salads. Though I asked for my dressing on the side, I got a ladleful of the sesame dressing on top. But hey, it was Father’s Day and the staff was busy, so I just dealt with a little more dressing. The sour cream-based and vinegary tasting cole slaw was not overwhelmingly creamy so that choice was definitely a hit with the person that ordered it.She was the lucky one.