Let’s get this out of the way. When the Pig opens this Spring on 14th Street, there will be vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu. And according to chef Garret Fleming, they won’t be the token offerings. “I want them to be the most intriguing, delicious vegetarian items, so we can get a vegetarian to go to a restaurant called the Pig” he says.
The name—a reference to a Roald Dahl poem—is a bit of a misnomer anyway, says David Winer, partner in EatWell DC, the restaurant group behind the Pig as well as Logan Tavern, the Commissary, Grillfish, and the Heights. It “started as ‘nose to tail, farm to table,’” says Winer, “and that became cliché. So we just changed it to ‘handmade food and drink.’ Because that became more important, more overriding. We want the food we buy to be hand-raised as best as possible.”
Here’s how they hope to do that:
By using the whole animal
Eatwell wants to introduce people to unfamiliar “off cuts” (liver, hearts, cheeks, etc.) in an approachable way. Lamb neck could be among the dinner dishes—mostly shareable items, with a few composed dishes, too. Pork belly may show up on eggs Benedict at brunch. Lard will hold pastries together. The charcuterie program will develop in the first few years of business; eventually Fleming hopes to do much of the meat preservation in house.
By collaborating with producers
Fleming plans to source his pigs from Papa Weaver’s Pork in Virginia, but the EatWell partners would like to raise and slaughter some swine themselves if the opportunity presents iteslf. Rather than sticking with the same sources, they’ll switch it up whenever they can find fresher, better products, or ask current partners for specific new ways to meet their needs.
By creating food and drink together
Cocktails, wines, and beers are being chosen based on how well they pair with dishes, and vice versa. Bar manager Lisa Weatherholt is sharing ingredients like honeycomb and pickled veggies with the kitchen. Cocktail flights and small portions of drinks like port and cognac will also be offered.
So what will it cost? “A neighborhood restaurant is one where you can go in and eat a couple of times a week without breaking the bank,” says Winer. He imagines a full dinner at the Pig will run customers about $35 before tax and tip. Alternatively, he suggests, “You can certainly come and have a burger and a beer and get out for $20 bucks.”
Look for the Pig to open in mid-April.