Restaurant Review: Pirates Pit BBQ

Two men standing in front of Pirates Pit BBQ building
Daniel Miller and Harvey Mitchell of Pirates Pit BBQ // Photos by Elizabeth Gelineau

There’s a lot for owners Harvey Mitchell and Daniel Miller to love about the location of Pirates Pit BBQ in Fairhope. At the corner of Section Street and Highway 44, the takeout restaurant never has a shortage of passing traffic, and downtown Fairhope is just a few minutes north. But for Mitchell, those aren’t the first answers that come to mind.

“It’s home,” he says. “My mom lives right down the street, my grandmother lives right there, my alma mater Fairhope High School is just around the corner.” Mitchell and Miller, who are first cousins, both played football for the Fairhope Pirates, hence the barbecue joint’s name and color scheme. After opening in June 2020, Pirates Pit quickly found its way into the hearts of locals; following Hurricane Sally, the owners tossed their entire inventory on the smoker and were able to provide hot meals to the community and repair crews.

Mitchell has worked in kitchens for more than a decade, first at Baumhower’s in Daphne, then at a handful of restaurants in Orange Beach. When the opportunity came along to become his own boss, he recruited Miller (fresh off the college football field at Bethel University in Tennessee) to come along. Now Miller, nicknamed Dano, makes some of the most popular items on the menu. He lent his name to the loaded fries and towering bacon cheeseburger. 

“Everything is from scratch,” Mitchell says. “And some of the recipes, like the potato salad and coleslaw, are from my grandma. Sometimes she’ll just come over and work in the kitchen,” he says, laughing. Pirates Pit is casual in the way a barbecue joint is supposed to be. Customers order at a walk-up window from a laminated menu of sliders, wings, pulled pork sandwiches, loaded quesadillas and grilled cheese BLTs. The house-made barbecue sauce is salty and sweet, Mitchell’s favorite flavor combination. But he knows which flavor is the real star.

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“When you go eat somewhere and they say they’ve got some smoked barbecue, you want to really taste that smoke,” he says. “I’ve had people come up here and say, ‘I’ve been in Fairhope for 50 years — this is best pulled pork sandwich I’ve ever had in my life.’ When we hear stuff like that from people who have been around so long, that just lets us know that we’re doing something right.”

On the Menu

Pulled Pork Gouda Melt
Picture pulled pork, bacon and Gouda stacked between two American grilled cheese sandwiches. Can you say cheese?

Loaded Dano Fries
Bring friends to help with this app. Cajun curly fries are smothered with ground beef, sauteed onions and peppers, jalapeños and queso.

BBQ Rib Plate
With tender ribs that fall right off the bone, this dish is served with two sides of your choice, cornbread, house-made barbecue sauce and a drink.

The Dano Burger
A local favorite, this burger is packed with two seasoned beef patties, sautéed onions and peppers, jalapeños, bacon and American cheese. 

Pirates Pit BBQ • 18974 Section St., Fairhope. 229-6229. Facebook
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. T – Th; 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. F – Sa; closed Su & M

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