Whenever someone new is in town or whenever someone asks me for a recommendation on where to eat in Chicago, I always say The Purple Pig! It’s not too expensive, is in a convenient location (right on Michigan Avenue), and it’s unlike any place I’ve been to before. I told my cousin to go there, and she ended up going twice in three days; I went with my friend Isaac when he was in town for a weekend, and the next time he visited we went again with a huge group of people who all loved it.
They don’t take reservations, which kind of stinks. The key to this place is to get there right when it opens, or even a little before. They open at 11:30 am and there is always a line waiting for them to open – it’s better to wait 20 minutes in this line than an hour or an hour and a half later.
Even though the menu has some unconventional ingredients, the restaurant is very casual and isn’t snooty at all. All of the food comes as it’s ready, but there’s never a point where you’re really finished with everything you have and are just waiting for more.
The last time I went, I went with Isaac and a few of his friends – around 6 of us total. This is definitely the best way to go! Since we had so many people, we got to try so many different things instead of ordering 3 or so dishes. Here’s what we got:
Shoutout to Isaac for all the pictures!
1. Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Mashed Potatoes
2. Bobota “Greek Cornbread” with Feta, Mizithra Cheese and Honey
3. Deviled Egg with Arugula and Capers
4. Salt Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese and Pistachio Vinaigrette
5. Pig’s Ear with Crispy Kale, Pickled Cherry Peppers and Fries Egg
6. Octopus with Green Beans, Fingerling Potatoes and Salsa Verde
7. Fried Brussels Sprouts with Thyme, Lemon and Chili Flake
8. “JLT” Pork Jowl, Tomato, Frisee, Pesto Aioli and Duck Egg
9. Roasted Bone Marrow with Herb Salad and Sicilian Sea Salt
10. Olive Oil Poached Tuna with Tomatoes, Quail Eggs, Roasted Red Pepper and Greek Lemon Vinaigrette
11. Turkey Leg Confit with Crispy Lentils, Napa Cabbage and Agrodolce
12. Panini – Slow Roasted Ham, Scamorza Cheese, Portobella Mushrooms and Sundried Tomatoes
13. Sicilian Iris – Ricotta and Chocolate Chip Filled Fried Brioche
14. Affogato – Espresso served over Vanilla Bean Gelato
My favorites were the pork shoulder (1), the pig’s ear (5), and the turkey leg (11). People said that the marrow was really good too, but to me all marrow tastes the same (like nothing)!
I’m excited for my next trip to the Purple Pig – the menu changes around quite often so there’s always something new to try.