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#1
Posted May 6th 2010, 3:49pm
Stopped by with the family, since it's very close to home. Much improved over Cordis, which seemed ambitious at first but never really had a personality you could figure out. I'm not going to go out on a limb and say the food is fantastic, but I found it to be better than average for a bar and I think the odd neighborly charm of the place is darn impressive for a brand new venture.

The Piggery is physically and figuratively very open and inviting, with the owners and staff having some connection to long-gone Biasetti's and what seems to be a natural understanding of what works on this particular corner of the old neighborhood.

A lot of big screen TV's and sports fans, sure, but the menu and vibe are quirky -- not just the Big-10 bar serving sliders and wraps (though they probably have both). The theme of the menu, if there is one, could be called bowling-alley Avec.

Pork items include -- ham off the bone sandwich with 2 fried eggs (evocative of Diner Grill next door), pork "pot roast" that one in our party said was good, pork meatballs in gravy, and pork patties with maple syrup, which I think are sausage patties. Split pea with ham is a regular item and pretty good. Ditto dragon-turdish house-made jalapeno poppers wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cream cheese.

The baked ribs are fairly identical to Biasetti's. I'm serious about BBQ, but I have no problem eating these because they taste OK and unlike other non-BBQ baked ribs actually taste like something without sauce (they appear to be marinated in something sweetish (apple juice?) and have a simple dry rub). The lack of guile and irony is impressive in light of the kinds of places that have pork-centric menus these days (nealy all of which I love, BTW). Sides (you get 2 with an entree) include well-prepared wilted spinach or green beans, but also thick-sliced bacon (nod to Peter Luger? nah) and the pork patties I mentioned. If you'd like ribs with a side of bacon and some sausage on the side, this is your spot. The place will be a boon because I have a kid whose favorite food in the world is unsauced ribs and bacon. Decent beer selection and, like I said, a really nice staff.

It's good to see a new place that doesn't sully the odd charm that this fringe of Wrigleyville maintains with the Ten Cat, Long Room, Diner Grill, Snappy's, Ginger's, Globe, Resi's, Orange Garden and eevn the vastly improved Machu Pichu -- not an Iowa Hawkeye flag to be seen, yet.

The Piggery
1625 W. Irving Park Rd.
Chicago, IL 60613
773-281-7447
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#2
Posted May 6th 2010, 7:20pm
If you'd like ribs with a side of bacon and some sausage on the side, this is your spot.


YES, PLEASE!
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#3
Posted May 6th 2010, 9:58pm
"If you'd like ribs with a side of bacon and some sausage on the side..."

It's officially over, Pork has jumped the shark.
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#4
Posted May 7th 2010, 5:37am
Beauner wrote:"If you'd like ribs with a side of bacon and some sausage on the side..."

It's officially over, Pork has jumped the shark.


haha, i do very much know what you mean, but pork will never jump shark simply because it's the best animal to consume.

I live almost across the street from the Piggery and a couple of buddies and I stopped by there the other day, took a look at the menu, and headed to Hot Doug's. I don't know - it just seemed too all over the place and the prices didn't seem all that enticing either. Make your own pizza, burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, pork, etc...maybe we should've been the guinea pigs - but any bar that covers that wide a spectrum is usually putting out average food i've found.

...but based off your experience, I'll have to muster up the courage to head over there again.

Can i ask, what did your bill come out to?
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#5
Posted May 7th 2010, 9:40am
$50
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#6
Posted May 7th 2010, 9:48am
JeffB wrote:he Piggery is physically and figuratively very open and inviting, with the owners and staff having some connection to long-gone Biasetti's and what seems to be a natural understanding of what works on this particular corner of the old neighborhood.


A full slab, giant salad in a wooden bowl along with side of spaghetti for $9.95..... and don't forget Lonnie Simmons at the organ! :wink:
http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ta ... oid=877464
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#7
Posted May 7th 2010, 10:00am
I wish. We can't go back to the glory days of rib specials and Lonnie. They also didn't bring back the au gratin potatoes, which is a crime. Like Carson's but much better. The neighborhood city worker wiseguy types from Biasetti's do seem to have found the new place, though.

To be clear, this ain't any great discovery. My post was to relay some facts and let folks know it's, at least, not another phony by-the-numbers bar designed to attract the recent Pikes and Tri-Delts. This place's food doesn't need my reco, given location and a local following from the old days -- and I haven't given it except to say "better than average for a bar." Still, I like it OK.

I didn't think prices were out of line. That place that used to be Schulien's down the street has a steak for $9 bucks on Saturdays if that helps out in the 'hood.
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#8
Posted May 8th 2010, 9:14am
JeffB wrote:The place will be a boon because I have a kid whose favorite food in the world is unsauced ribs and bacon. Decent beer selection and, like I said, a really nice staff.
Funny you mention kids as I've started comparing baked fall off the bone meat jello sauced ribs to kid friendly Oscar Meyer hot dogs with ketchup.

Agree 100% on the friendly aspect of the Piggery, shared a rack of ribs with a buddy at the bar and the bartenderess, who also acted as server, really made us feel welcome, an art not an affectation. Rack of ribs with choice of two sides for $19.95 seems a value, but our ribs had sailed past fall off the bone straight into rib pudding. Admittedly baked fall off the bone ribs are not my style, but I have the ability to appreciate a nicely done version, of which this was not one. Additional, or for that matter any, broiler or grill char would have at least caramelized the sauce and added flavor.

The Piggery Ribs w/Pork Patties and Green Beans

(cell phone picture)
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As discussed upthread multiple choices of sides including pork patties, thick cut bacon, wilted spinach and green beans, to name about half. We opted for green beans, perfectly cooked, crisp, terrific green beans. Sadly I can't say the same for the pork patties with maple syrup, while there were grill marks it was obviously grilled off hours before and held, dull lifeless mealy texture and no discernible maple flavor.

The Piggery ribs were especially egregious in light of the fact we had been at Toon's earlier in the evening and sampled some of Danny, a KCBS man and owner of Toon's, lightly smoky tender, yet toothsome, BBQ ribs.

Price was mentioned upthread, half slab is $14.95, full $19.95 both with two sides. Not sure about drink prices, the two of us had a few shots of whiskey, but I never saw the total as my friend picked up the tab.

I'll go back to the Piggery, its conveniently located with a parking lot in the rear, friendly people and, for a bar with 8,001 flat screen tvs seems convivial.

Enjoy,
Gary
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Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

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#9
Posted May 10th 2010, 1:26pm
We went here a couple of weeks ago with some friends. I like to think of it as an urban Applebee's. If you like oven roasted ribs, you will enjoy these. I did ask the manager who was walking around how the ribs were done, and he said he couldn't tell me because it was a secret. I guess he failed to grasp I wasn't asking for the recipe for his sauce, just whether or not they were smoked, baked, boiled, etc.
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"A bean without pork is like an orphaned child" -- Anthony Bourdain
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#10
Posted May 10th 2010, 1:45pm
Baked. I know that not every tradition is worthy, but part of the point of my info post above was to mention the continuation of the ancient Biasetti's recipe at this new place. Like Twin Anchors and Gale Street, these ribs are going to disappoint anyone who is looking for BBQ. Also, like those places, these North Side ribs have a long history. The taste probably brings back some fond memories for the neighborhood old-timers. In its heyday, Biasetti's was a pretty cool place, probably not having a ton to do with the food. If you have no memory of Biasetti's ribs, then ordering them at the Piggery brings only baked ribs, without the MSG of nostalgia. Part of the schtick has always been that the recipe is "secret," by the way. Also, oddly enough I only tried my kid's "baby food" ribs dry the other day and thought they were OK, the word I used above. I recall Biasetti's using the salamander to decent effect on sauced ribs, which seems to have been omitted from Gary's meat. They should fix that.

Last, a random bit of Biasetti rib history picked up from living around the place -- for a while Larry Tucker, the guy from NN Smokehouse (BBQ and Filipino food), was supposedly the ribmaster at Biasetti's. During that window, Biasetti's ribs involved smoke in the secret process and were much improved (to my tatse). No smoke in evidence around the 'hood now. (Unless Toons' smoke blows west).
Last edited by JeffB on May 10th 2010, 1:49pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#11
Posted May 10th 2010, 1:48pm
I have passed by a few times this weekend and will stop in for a visit sometime soon.

I traditionally do not eat ribs in Chicago but am eagerly looking forward to the other porky products.

Mmmmm... Pork! :)
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#12
Posted May 11th 2010, 2:29pm
We were there a couple of weeks ago. I partook of the ribs and was distinctly unimpressed - fall-off-the-bone "pork jello". The slathered-on barbecue sauce bore the overly-saccharine sweetness of Sweet Baby Ray's.
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#13
Posted May 11th 2010, 4:11pm
Went last night and did not eat....but just glad to see (as was noted earlier) that this hallowed-old building (God I miss Biasetti's) is at least back to something more suited to the neighborhood...staff could not have been more down-to-earth and friendly....and was a very nice crowd for a Monday night..

Now, if we could only get Stan Zimmerman back on the organ (Lonnie was before my time)...
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#14
Posted July 4th 2010, 8:50pm
Went to the Piggery today with some pals -- we wanted pork to celebrate the independence of our nation. <smile> And it's in the hood -- so we needed to give it a shot. Now...be aware that none of us are bbq fiends or enthusiasts -- we all like the occasional bbq but we are not obsessed with it or that particular about it. That said...none of us had the ribs.

This is first and foremost a bar. Big front bar room -- lots of high stools and small bar tables. Lots of tvs. We sat in the back room, which was not the bar -- empty except for us but our service was good and very friendly. The menu does focus on the pig -- lots of pork in many options and we tried several of them. The chef (Lucky) came out and chit chatted with us and gave us his recommendations.

We started with the pulled pork nachos -- which were really very good. Homemade chips, nice dollops of sour cream and a decent guacamole and a nice house made salsa--and I really liked the pulled pork. Nice big tender smoky strings of it -- a really nice app for four hungry girls celebrating the birth of a nation. Next -- i had a salad --which was really delightful. Fresh crisp romaine and iceberg, lightly dressed with homemade 1000 island (a weakness of mine and very delicious). The salad had tortilla strips, black beans, a little cheddar cheese, avocado and some nicely diced tomatoes. It was really yummy, as side salads go. My main was a chef-recommended pork chop -- which was really one of the better pork chops I've had in a while. Nicely thick (although not Mike Ditka size), but perfectly cooked and tender and juicy. Grilled and dressed with a "diablo" sauce that was just the perfect heat and spice. Big hunks of onion and green pepper and tomato in the sort of chipotle laced sauce -- it was really special. Everyone at the table was impressed. You get two sides with an entree -- I indulged in corn on the cob (the corn's not quite at harvest best yet -- but it was fine) and a mac and cheese that was probably the low point of the meal. It wasn't bad -- it just wasn't as good as the rest of the food we'd had. Pedestrian is the word I'd use -- sticky cheesey but in a one note kind of way. I've had worse, certainly. One of my friends had a pulled pork sandwich which she completely devoured -- handcut fries with skins on them also looked good. I forgot to steal one -- i was too busy with my pork chop. Another one of my companions had the bbq pork tenderloin, which I had a nice taste of -- the bbq sauce was kind of sweet for my taste but the tenderloin was done very nicely. We all had housemade cheesecake for dessert -- very simple but light and just sweet enough. A nice strawberry puree sauced it.

I enjoyed my meal at the Piggery quite a bit. We had a nice pitcher of Mai Tais that didn't skimp on the rum and it was a nice way to stay out of the heat on a Sunday. I thought the food was definitely better than you'd get at a chain --on many different levels. Lots of housemade touches and more care put into it that you'd find at an Applebee's or something of that ilk. Great service, comfortable joint -- good food. We'll be back and I'd recommend it to anyone who asked about it. Now...if you're a GWiv, a connoisseur of BBQ, etc...then I doubt this is the place for you. But for a fun casual meal that won't break the bank (for the four of us with drinks it was $31 a piece, tip included), it's a nice place to go on the north side. I'm definitely going back for the pulled pork.
They do a brunch every weekend which does include their own housemade corned beef hash -- so that's something that definitely needs to be tried out.

The Piggery
1625 West Irving Park Road Chicago, IL 60613-2511 - (773) 281-7447
Open Daily 11am-2am
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#15
Posted July 5th 2010, 7:49am
jeffb wrote:Last, a random bit of Biasetti rib history picked up from living around the place -- for a while Larry Tucker, the guy from NN Smokehouse (BBQ and Filipino food), was supposedly the ribmaster at Biasetti's. During that window, Biasetti's ribs involved smoke in the secret process and were much improved (to my tatse). No smoke in evidence around the 'hood now. (Unless Toons' smoke blows west).


Larry Tucker ran the kitchen for a short while when Biasetti's reopened and the ribs were indeed better but that was only due to the addition of Larry using his sause on the ribs.
I remember having a conversation with Larry and he lamented that the ribs would be better if only he had his smoker which for some reason had stayed with the owner of the property in which N&N Smokehouse was located.
The old N&N Smokehouse location went on the become the horrible Smoke Country House.
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#16
Posted December 5th 2010, 4:25pm
Panther in the Den wrote:I have passed by a few times this weekend and will stop in for a visit sometime soon.

I traditionally do not eat ribs in Chicago but am eagerly looking forward to the other porky products.

Mmmm... Pork! :)

As promised I did finally stop by. I have a daughter in The Hood and we try to stay local when we can. After a quick driveby at Great Lake to see if there was no line (Hah! :) ) this was on the top of our list.

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My first impression walking in the door was 'Is this a restaurant?' as we started to grab a table in the spacious and well filled bar area and the hostess came up and asked if we would like a table in the quieter back room.

Much better but it was difficult to shake the thought that it was first and foremost a bar with the much smaller dining area in the back. Comfortable though.

We had made the decision, given the theme and name, that this would be 'All About the Pork' and it dominated everything we ordered.

First I should mention that we were not expecting BBQ but rather roasted. The Greeks in Chicago have been turning out great ribs in the oven and a well roasted meat can be very good!

Drinks

A few ciders and I ordered The Smoked Pig Bloody Mary (bacon vodka and a half slice of bacon adding to the garnish). A good homemade mix and a nice, but not overpowering bacon flavor. Worked well!

Second I should mention that some of the standouts of the evening was the bacon! The lighter flavor of the Bloody Mary slice to the strong smoke and bacon flavor on the side of bacon. I was wondering how the bacon side would work and it stood well on it's own with it's rich and full flavor. Nicely cooked, not too crispy or limp with a good thickness.

Appetizers

BBQ Pig on a Stick - Nice plate. About 6 on the plate. Good bar food! :) Cooked firm with the sauce nicely caramelized and a strong rib flavor.
Pork Nachos - Wow! What a plate of food. Piled high with enough pulled pork to get a bit with every bite. Had to hold off though as we did also have a meal coming.
Ham and Split Pea Soup - Nice and thick with some nice chunks of ham. I would of liked to see some 'over the top' application of the ham. Croutons good with me ordering an additional cup.

Thirdly - I should also mention that the pork flavor really stood out in all of the items ordered. Just as it should be. Well done!

Entrees

Grilled BBQ Pork Tenderloin - My Bride. Well (almost too well) rubbed with their signature Memphis Rub. A small portion and a touch dry (not too dry as it is a lean cut). The rub made it too spicy for My Bride.

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Pulled BBQ Pork Sandwich - My Daughter. Good flavor to the meat but I expected a mountain of meat rather than the 1/2 inch layer.

Pork Pot Roast - Me. Tender with a good pork flavor. Vegetables well cooked down and a very flavorful gravy. Nice portion.

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The Sides

Baked Mac & Cheese - Baked? Couldn't tell. No crust on top, creamy and could of used a stronger cheese note.
Green Beans - Very good! Nice and crisp with a good flavor and greasiness from the bacon.
Acorn Squash - Another standout. A good butter and brown sugar flavor. Perhaps a touch overdone.
Bacon Side - Wow! What a flavor. To be remembered.

Pricing - We all thought the portion size vs price was a bit skewed. After all it is a meat and potatoes type of place and at least the pulled pork sandwich should of been well filled. Especially with such a strong bar presence.

All in all a good visit with enough things good to make the trip worthwhile. The strong pork flavors, the good roasting techniques and great bacon.

Side Note - The Diner Grill across the street did look interesting with the traditional counter with stools and 'right out of a Rockwell' counterman. :) Maybe our next foray in the area?

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"Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
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#17
Posted December 5th 2010, 5:16pm
Panther in the Den wrote:Side Note - The Diner Grill across the street did look interesting with the traditional counter with stools and 'right out of a Rockwell' counterman. :) Maybe our next foray in the area?

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Get the Slinger
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Steve Z.

"Why should I eat a carrot when I can eat pizza?" - Dan Janssen
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#18
Posted December 5th 2010, 5:39pm
stevez wrote:Get the Slinger

That did catch my eye on the back wall and almost went inside to see what it was. :)

Thanks! I will.
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"Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
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#19
Posted December 6th 2010, 6:55pm
stevez wrote:
Get the Slinger


Don't ask. Just eat. :)
This is, IMO, at its best as a comeback rally from a too-long night riddled with poor decisions.
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#20
Posted February 23rd 2012, 8:43am
Just saw the news that there was a fire in the apartment above the Piggery. Not sure how much it will affect the restaurant. Perhaps someone has more information.


(edit to add news link)

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8555202
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