Does eating roasted bone marrow, pig ears, pork belly, and squid sound exciting to you?! Yes? No?? 😋 I wasn’t exactly too thrilled to see all of those items on a menu for a restaurant my coworker suggested. But, he had his heart set on trying it out and it had over 3,000 reviews on Yelp, so I figured why not… I can always just order a salad! 😉
Upon arriving to the Purple Pig, the ambience completely sets the tone, and I started to get a little excited for what was ahead. The entrance to the restaurant is off an alleyway on an overhead street. If you are not familiar with Chicago, let me first explain. The downtown Chicago area is made up of a series of multilevel streets. Very similar in a sense to San Antonio. Now the history behind it I’m not very familiar with, but I do remember that they explained on a tour that during the boom of the city, when construction was on the rise, everything was very concentrated in one area, so what people started to do was to literally sell air space rights above the land. For example, lets say you owned a parcel of land, constitutional rights stated that not only did you own the land, but you also legally owned the airspace above your land as well. So what occurred was that people would purchase the air rights to your land and build buildings at a level above, basically establishing whole streets built on top of another. This can be very confusing at times, especially when you are not familiar with a street and are looking for an address. Now circling back to the location of the Purple Pig, the entrance is located off of Magnificent Mile on an overhead pass of what would be considered an alleyway that looks down to the street below. It is easy to miss if you are not looking for the restaurant. And even if you do notice the sign, because the building itself sits in the back of the alleyway, you wouldn’t be able to tell what it was. However, when you do find it, you will be pleasantly surprised. The restaurant is very small and makes great use of communal seating. Inside, there is a wrap around bar which faces the open kitchen, so you can only imagine how loud everything can get. The night we went, the ambience was bustling. But from what I’ve heard, it’s supposed to be like that every night!
My coworker is a big time foodie, so I have to credit him for making the restaurant selection. I have to say, I am very glad that we tried it. The Purple Pig specializes in small shareable plates with an international influence.
“Located at 500 North Michigan Avenue, the restaurant offers cheese, swine and wine, among other standout dishes, showcasing the flavors of Italy, Greece and Spain.” – The Purple Pig
When ordering dishes, we opted to order one plate per person to share. Sharing in this style proved to be a little challenging as some dishes came in small portions than others and we were a rather large group. If you are considering doing the same, I would suggest that you order at least two plates of the smaller dishes to share; or try not to go hungry… but who wants to do that? 😜
Click on the photos below to get a more detailed description. Enjoy!