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Restaurant With 'No Weapons' Sign Robbed at Gunpoint

Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

Despite a "No Weapons, No Concealed Firearms" sign hanging in the window, a North Carolina barbecue restaurant was robbed at gunpoint earlier this week. According to WTVD / ABC 11, three armed men entered The Pit in Durham through the back door and "forced several staff members to lie on the floor." The Herald-Sun reports that the robbers were "demanding access to the safe" and that they took a "small cash box." Two employees were injured, with one ending up in the hospital (since released). The restaurant is located near a police substation.

Not surprisingly, the pro-conceal carry contingent have a lot to say about this incident. North Carolina gun blog An NC Gun Blog published photos of the restaurant's 'No Weapons' sign and wrote, "They were not murdered only because the robbers did not decide to kill them. The robbers had all the power ... Why? Because the owner of The Pit Authentic Barbecue has banned guns in his restaurant." These sentiments are echoed on The Pit's Facebook page. "What a shame those robbers didn't obey your no guns allowed signs," writes one commenter. "HA HA .. YOU GOT ROBBED. So much for a gun free zone," writes another.

Concealed carry in restaurants has long been a divisive issue. Several chain restaurants have recently asked patrons not to bring in weapons. Earlier this week Chipotle asked its customers not bring weapons when getting burritos after more than 20 gun-weilding activist from Open Carry Texas congregated at a Dallas location. A similar incident happened earlier this month when activists carrying guns terrified staff at a Fort Worth Jack in the Box, who thought they were being robbed and hid in the freezer. Starbucks also "respectfully requested" its customers not bring guns to its stores last year, opting not to ban guns outrightly because enforcing such a ban would put baristas in the position of potentially confronting armed customers.

Like The Pit, other restaurants have experienced internet backlash from banning guns. A South Carolina bar that banned guns was slammed on Yelp earlier this year, resulting in over 600 one star reviews. Even country music star Toby Keith faced the wrath of the pro-gun Facebook community when his Virginia restaurant banned guns last year.

Below is footage from WTVD of the robbery. Go, watch:

Video: Restaurant Employees Assaulted During Armed Robbery

· Restaurant Employees Assaulted During Armed Robbery [WTVD / ABC 11]
· An NC Gun Blog [Official Site via DM]
· All Guns Coverage on Eater [-E-]

The Pit

321 W Geer St. Durham, NC 27701