The first Barbecue Pit family restaurant was opened on Dec. 16, 1947.
It was located in the Maryland Hotel on 6th Ave. in downtown San Diego.
It was opened by Joe & Lila Browning and Ed & Mella Jenson. Lila and
Mella were sisters. Joe Browning arrived in San Diego during World War II
as a member of the U.S. Navy where he fell in love with and married Lila
Coates. Joe came from Texas where he learned the barbecue business
from his step-father, R.T. Shoemaker. R.T. owned several barbecue
restaurants in the Dallas area called “Shoemaker’s Famous Barbecue”.
After the war it took just one hot summer in Texas to convince Joe and his
new bride, Lila, that San Diego was the place for them.
Joe and his
brother-in-law, Ed Jenson, pooled their resources and opened the first
two “The Barbecue Pit” restaurants in San Diego. The first one was in the
Maryland Hotel and the second one was opened approximately a few
days later at 1413 Market St. Over the years there have been many
locations: North Park, Pacific Beach, National City, Linda Vista, 6th Ave.
in San Diego, 63rd and El Cajon Blvd., El Cajon Blvd. in El Cajon,
Escondido, Kearney Mesa, Chula Vista, Fletcher Hills and San Marcos.
Currently there are two restaurant locations owned by Joe & Lila’s son,
Gary and his wife, Sue. At the FLETCHER HILLS and NATIONAL CITY
restaurants, Gary & Sue Browning along with their sons, Todd and Tim,
continue to maintain the high quality of homemade and slow cooked
barbecue that was established years ago.
The special recipes and methods of cooking have been handed down
from generation to generation. We use only ‘choice’ cuts of meat which
are then slow cooked over an oak wood fire just the way Joe’s step-father
did in Texas during the 1930’s.
The Browning and Jenson families have appreciated the loyalty of our
customers who have supported us for over 60 years. Our commitment is
to keep our product and service at the highest quality for you, our valued
Thank you so much for your assistance last Friday night. You were
professional, courteous and friendly...what a combination!
We received many compliments on the service and delicious food.
Our thanks again,
On behalf of the Wells Family, thank you for catering Mom's life
memorial reception. The food was a great hit.
Your time and kindness are most appreciated.
To the servers of my party,
Thank you very much for the wonderful job done at my 90th birthday
party. You both were so kind and helpful. I received many words from
my guest, due to your friendliness.