The Purple Pig – Magnificent Mile, Chicago

Chicago is known as “Hog Butcher to the World.”  One of the Titans of Pork in this town is none other than Jimmy Bannos, Jr., Chef and Partner of The Purple Pig which is located on The Magnificent Mile.

The Purple Pig is one of my most favorite restaurants.  To say that I am in love with this place is a huge understatement.  The cuisine is Mediterranean with influences from some other cultures when Chef  Jimmy is feeling more creative.  This spot serves the very best of swine, wine and cheese.  The menu is always fresh and being updated.

The Purple Pig has been enjoying a steady stream of new and returning customers, since it opened a few years ago.  It is open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner and late night dining.  I can never get enough of it.  Today, I treated myself to a lovely solo lunch here for the first time.  I usually go for late night dining to avoid the crowds.  They do not take reservations and I like to eat at the sexy, elegant, friendly bar where I can peer into the kitchen at Chef Jimmy’s “band of blue, bandana-wearin’ brothers” who are always on top of their game.  What’s that, you say?  You want pig ears?  They’ve got ’em.  Bone marrow flies out of the kitchen in record numbers. Chicken, fish, veggies, charcuterie and cheese, oh my!!  And, don’t forget the wine.  They have a huge and lovely selection.

Fresh from my strategically planned morning work out at the gym, I hopped the CTA Red Line to the Grand ‘L’ stop.  I walked just 2 blocks east and

 

1/2 block south to The Purple Pig for another truly memorable meal 🙂  Several CTA buses along Michigan Avenue also stop here.

 

Grand 'L' stop near The Purple Pig

Here’s how my lunch went down:

I started with an appetizer of calamari, fregula, radishes, cucumbers and pistachios.  This dish is so light and fresh.  The calamari and fregula were cooked perfectly.  The radishes and cucumbers were cool and fresh.  The pistachios were toasty and crunchy.  Lovely.

The Purple Pig's calamari appetizer

The refreshing appetizer of calamari, fregula, radishes, cucumbers and pistachios

Next up I tried a sampling of The Purple Pig’s charcuterie.  This gorgeous, glimmering platter consisted of duck prosciutto with blood orange slices, coppa, Morcilla (blood sausage), pickeled cornichons and warm, buttery crostini.  Chef Jimmy cures all the meats in-house.

The Purple Pig's charcuterie

Such a lovely charcuterie platter. You definitely want this 🙂

The Purple Pig's cured meats

The Purple Pig's coppa

Really buttery coppa and chewy, buttery crostini. Well done!

The Purple Pig's blood sausage

Blood sausage and cornichons

The Purple Pig's duck prosciutto

My first time eating duck prosciutto. The blood oranges were the perfect complement. Divine!

Last but not least, I ordered the flat-iron pork with Calabrian chilis, shaved brussel sprouts, carrots and kimchi.  The port was succulent.  The fushion of kimchi with the other ingredients was a really nice, creative surprise.  Check it out:

The Purple Pig's flat iron pork

Flat-iron pork dish with Calabrian chilis, shaved brussel sprouts, carrots and spicy kimchi

The Purple Pig offers communal seating, as well as seating along one wall and dining at the bar.  The latter is my personal favorite, as it allows me to peer into the kitchen and get a glimpse of Chef Jimmy’s wickedly quick and adept staff in action.

Long communal tables at The Purple Pig make dining with friends and strangers more fun!

The Purple Pig's bar seating

The Purple Pig’s main menu is outrageous delicious….So are its wine and cheese menus which make being a regular visitor a must : )

The Purple Pig's communal tables

The Purple Pig's communal seating

The Purple Pig's dining room

The Purple Pig's dining room

The Purple Pig's open kitchen

Front row view of The Purple Pig’s kitchen with Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr.’s Blue Bandana Brothers 🙂 Move favorite spot to sit for a late-night snacking.

Bonus!! Currently, The Purple Pig is expanding its outdoor seating area.  I caught a glimpse of the construction today.  So, in the warmer weather, you can enjoy your swine, wine and more outdoors while people watching along Michigan Avenue.

The Purple Pig has been enjoying steady accolades since it opened.  It has a been on the Michelin Recommended list for the last few years now.  Chef Jimmy Bannos, Jr. was honored by The James Beard Foundation with the “Rising Star Chef” award in 2014.  He is one of the select reasons why The James Beard Foundation chose to move its annual award ceremony from NYC to Chicago in 2015.  Bravo, Chef!!  Sorry, NYC (my hometown)!  Step up your game 🙂

So, people!  Run.  Don’t walk to The Purple Pig as soon as possible.  And, if you cannot run or walk…

In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA  Red Line to The Purple Pig.  Save on gas.  Avoid traffic, road rage and parking.  Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!

The Purple Pig is located at 500 N. Michigan Avenue.  For more information visit http://www.thepurplepigchicago.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Michelle De La Cerda-Nash

    It looks like I will find myself in Chicago in the late spring/early summer…this is going on my to-eat list.

    • It’s a must-do, Michelle. Just remember they do not take reservations and the space is small. So be prepared to wait. I recommend going on the early side of lunch dinner or the very late side.

  • Sarah

    Love the Purple Pig and your new look! Both are fantastic!

  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes

    I am looking at the purple pig from my hotel room right now! I heard it’s great. Can’t wait to try it.

    • Melissa Falk

      Hi, Ashley. Thanks for stopping by. You will love The Purple Pig. Not to be missed dining destination in Chicago. I hope you check out my other recommendations around town. Have fun! Melissa

  • Karly Gomez

    I’ve never been to Chicago, but it’s been on my list for a long time! This is such a great series!