The Pit

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The Pit, a neighborhood pub with some interesting grub

You don't really know what to expect from a place that calls itself The Pit. Or maybe you do. Whatever your preconceived notion, it's not likely to be lofty. And that's just fine with this particular Pit, a fun little neighborhood pub with ties to the British Isles.

The Pit is in the strip mall that occupies the corner of Michigan Street and Conway Road in Orlando. It occupies the storefront that was the original location of Conway's BBQ, but let's not hold that against them.

The owners are from Wales and England, and they bring the camaraderie that British pubs are famous for to their South Orlando bar.

They don't really bring the food, although The Pit's Web site claims the menu is an amalgam of American, South African and British cuisine. I see mostly American, with a heavy emphasis of wings, sandwiches and burgers. In fact it was a particular burger, one called the Dagwood, recommended by a Sentinel reader, that sent me looking for The Pit in the first place.

I'm not sure why it's called the Dagwood; it has little to do with the sandwich made famous in the Blondie cartoon. This is a basic burger, albeit a good and thick one, made distinct with the addition of a fried egg on top. Interesting, maybe a little gimmicky, but it was a good burger even without the egg, which, by the way, had a hardened yolk so it wasn't too messy to eat. The Pit crew is obviously trying to outdo the burger at Johnny's Fillin' Station farther down Michigan Street. (I haven't made up my mind yet if they've succeeded; let me know what you think.)

I also tried the pork loin sandwich thinking it might be the breaded and fried variety found in the Midwest (the Midwest United States, not the Midwestern British Isles). But this wasn't that. It also wasn't a sandwich, really. It featured three slices of roast pork loin, seasoned with plenty of rosemary, laid atop a slice of bread. The meat was tender and the rosemary made it especially tender. And I have to say that for $8.49, which included fries, this was a bargain of a meal, even though the fries in question weren't very good.

There are a few tables and chairs hugging the wall of the narrow space, but the best seating is in the big comfy stools at the bar. But don't sit there if you have an aversion to being chatted up by the friendly owners. If you're the type that hates being made to feel welcome, you're just not going to like this place at all.

The Pit is in the Mariner's Village, 4580 E. Michigan St., Orlando. For hours, phone and menu, click here.