The Bear Pit’s history began in the late 1940’s, when original owner Ben Baier moved from Missouri and started a small barbecue shack in Newhall, California. After several years the popularity of his food spread, so he decided to move to northern San Fernando Valley town of Dennis Park (later Mission Hills) and start a small take-out restaurant. He partnered with Don Carrow (of Carrow’s Restaurant fame) and had country singer Tennessee Ernie Ford as an early endorser of the restaurant.He built a small building at this location. He constructed a brick oven, called a pit, and used local hardwoods to slow smoke beef, pork, spareribs and chicken. His unusual vinegar-based coleslaw and sweet barbecue bean recipe became the backbone of his menu.