Longleaf Swine, Interior and Decor
If you’re headed over to Longleaf Swine and unfamiliar with the location, it can be a bit tricky. Located at the corner of two busier one-way roads (Edenton and Person Streets), there is VERY limited parking at the restaurant. Three spaces to be exact, on the left-hand side of Edenton. Then there’s some on-street parking and various surface lots in the area but be careful since some are private lots. Check out the parking page on the Longleaf Swine website for more details! From the outside, Longleaf has a classic barbeque setup: brick building, wood stacked out front, fast casual service along with a large, covered patio for outdoor dining. The patio here is top-notch with a second outdoor bar and planters along the edges, they are using every inch of this corner lot really well.
Inside the main restaurant, you’ll find a small counter order area, a drinks and condiments station in the back, a bunch of 2-tops in the dining room along with a corner bar. There’s seating for maybe 30 people inside? A simple menu over the order counter covers their meats, served by the half-pound, a handful of sandwiches, sides, and sweets. All the usual suspects but I have yet to see sausage on the menu. At night, given the cook times for smoked meats, Longleaf Swine adds smash burgers to the menu. Currently, at lunch, you counter order while at dinner, scan a QR code at your table, order online and your food will be brought out to you.
Service is pretty quick, your tray is prepared pretty quickly but have a bit of patience as they get ramped up, I’ve run into a couple of service niggles during my visits. At each table, you’ll find a tray of barbeque sauces along with the ubiquitous paper towels for napkins! Don’t forget to grab your utensils in the main dining room before heading outside.
Longleaf Swine, Menu and Food
When reviewing barbeque joints, I try to focus on the quality and taste of the smoked meats served bare. And Longleaf Swine does a fine job here! I’ve tried the brisket and it’s pretty juicy and shows off a nice bark. You can also try Longleaf’s brisket as a sandwich melt with Muenster cheese, pickles, and onions on a Union Special roll, yum!
The smoked chicken quarter is wonderful, crispy thin skin sitting on top of succulent dark meat, highly recommend this option! And for the sides, the esquites (street corn) with cilantro and cotija is substantial. But my fave side is probably the mac n cheese which is made with cavatappi pasta (long, extruded elbow shape) topped with shards of tortilla chips for contrast, fun, and tasty. The whole hog pork barbeque is solid and pulled vs. chopped, served with apple slaw, it’s an ample sandwich!
Longleaf Swine, Conclusion
Service during my visits has been a bit inconsistent and I sense they are going through some growing pains which are not to be unexpected so be patient when you visit. With a nice beer selection, Longleaf Swine is doing a lot of things right for downtown Raleigh. It checks all the boxes for very good smoked meats served by the 1/2 lb. and in sandwich form. And they are doing delicious smash-burgers for dinner (which I’ve had recommended to me), probably given you can’t make more barbeque if you run out.
But I give Longleaf Swine a lot of credit for opening such an ambitious barbeque joint in the middle of the pandemic. And while it’s quite good, the recent spate of restaurants opening up and serving up barbeque makes it a competitive category! Given that they are new to the whole business, I’m curious to see what they do moving forward, but they are off to a very solid start already…