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Community Planning & Economic Development

Business Profile: Smoke in the Pit

STEP-UP Collage

Left: Dwight Alexander, Smoke in the Pit co-owner; Right (top to bottom): Smoke in the Pit famous Mac and Cheese and Brisket and Wings. (Photo Credit: Smoke in the Pit)

In 1998, husband-wife duo Dwight and Ivy Alexander first opened doors to their barbeque restaurant, Smoke in the Pit. Famous for their smoked ribs and wings, the restaurant was a hit in the community. Unfortunately, after just two years in business, the Alexanders lost the lease to their restaurant space and decided to close.  
This didn’t curb the Alexanders' interest in making delicious barbeque. While Dwight was running a catering business on the side, he built up a large enough clientele that made the Alexanders reconsider going back into the restaurant business. Ivy began researching small business funding programs and wrote a new-and-improved business plan for Smoke in the Pit. They discovered the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD) program, Open to Business, which connected them to Two percent loans from MCCD and the City’s department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED). This assistance allowed the couple to reopen Smoke in the Pit in April 2013 on 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.

Smoke in the Pit hit yet another road bump when the owner of their new building put it up for sale. This time around, MCCD and CPED stepped in to jointly fund the real estate purchase, which closed in March of 2016. With the stability of owning the restaurant space, the Alexanders plan to bottle and sell their barbeque sauce, reestablish their catering business and potentially add a second location.

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Last updated May 13, 2016