Southwest Pit
Wings and ribs are among the barbecue offerings at Southwest Pit BBQ, which recently opened on 16th and P streets in Lincoln. (Jacob Hannah / Lincoln Journal Star)

Knowing how popular barbecue is in this town - RibFest, after all, draws thousands - it's always amazed me that no one has put a restaurant downtown featuring that style of cooking.

That's not the case anymore.

Southwest Pit BBQ opened in August at the corner of 16th and P streets, and specializes in ribs, pulled pork and wings.

Brisket is available only on Saturdays, but co-owner Scott Bartlett expects it to become a daily feature soon.

He and co-owner (and brother) Todd Bartlett also hope to add smoked ham and lamb to the menu.

The Bartletts aren't new to Lincoln's dining scene. They started Southwest Pit BBQ on Sun Valley Boulevard two years ago but left after a short time because the spot no longer was viable for them.

The Bartletts continued to to cater their food until they found a location more to their liking, Scott said.

The current spot is close to campus. They keep their doors open until 1 a.m. on Thursdays and 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays to take advantage of the bar traffic.

Their restaurant is quite visible, but access to it is a little tricky. Customers enter from the south lane of P Street, which runs one way.

The building, which once housed a used CD/DVD store, is still a work-in-progress. There are no menu boards or soda dispensers yet - bottled pop is in a cooler. And seating is limited to two tables.

Scott Bartlett learned to smoke meat in Arizona from a longtime restaurateur. His apprenticeship has paid off.

His ribs, with the meat falling off the bone, are quite good and very meaty. His pulled pork has a bite to it, with just enough spice to keep you honest.

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My co-worker Megan and I stopped in last week for sandwiches and ribs. The Pit has several combo options to choose from. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich ($4) with a side (potato salad) and added a couple of bones ($1.75 each) to my meal.

Megan had her pulled pork prepared "Tennessee style" (topped with coleslaw) for 59 cents more. The slaw made her juicy sandwich juicier. Sandwiches also can be smothered in cheese for an extra 59 cents.

Scott Bartlett said a menu favorite is the "Big Hog" sandwich. Large enough for two, it features 8 ounces of pulled pork, a quarter pound of bacon and cheese. With a side (chips, slaw, beans or potato salad), it's $10.

Ribs are $10 for a half slab and $20 for a full slab. Naked wings are 50 cents each. BBQ and hot sauces are 50 cents more for every six wings.

Traffic already has been steady. It's no surprise. The Bartletts have a good product - one you can smell blocks away.

Reach Jeff Korbelik at 402-473-7213 or, or follow him on Twitter at


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