Welcome to the latest edition of the Monthly Brunchgasm (and the final post of the year!). Obviously, I've mostly sucked at keeping up with this series, as I haven't published a Brunchgasm review since March. In my defense, we did take a few months off when Diana was in the midst of her moving process; also, we have been to a few places that I never got around to writing about (see also: the massive grading pile and/or a general case of laziness). Regardless, I only ended up with four posts... maybe next year we'll work on hitting bimonthly Brunchgasm status rather than quarterly status. ;-)
For our final Brunchgasm visit of the year, Diana and I decided to pay a visit to one of the newest restaurants in my 'hood: Pork Shoppe. After establishing itself as a must-visit BBQ joint in Avondale, Pork Shoppe finally opened their second shop in a space on the northern end of Andersonville that once housed the short-lived Kingfisher. Not only is it exciting to finally have a new restaurant in that space (as it's been empty for several years), but also, until Pork Shoppe, there was a sad lack of BBQ offerings in the immediate area.
Specializing in the best of Texas, Kansas City, Memphis, and the Carolinas, Chef Jason Heiman smokes all of the meats at Pork Shoppe and uses unique spice rubs that are made in house (all of which are made to compliment the specific cuts). The menu includes favorites from the Avondale location such as the pork belly pastrimi, signature ribs, and beef brisket with their housemade coffee rub, as well as offerings exclusive to the new location such as the Smoked Whitefish Brandade and Beef Tri Tip, smoked for two hours and rubbed with mustard and spice. While the Avondale location is primarily a quick service spot, the new location includes a full service bar, a 150-seat dining area, and a 100-seat outdoor patio
The space itself is casual, bright, and filled with reclaimed wood - Diana and I both loved the gorgeous mixed-wood wall separating the dining areas and rows of funky light fixtures.
We kicked off our meal with a round of cocktails (of course!). I went with a refreshing Cucumber Vodka Tonic...
... while Diana chose one of their signature cocktails (again, exclusive to the Andersonville location). The Red Derby: Zackariah Harris Bourbon, grapefruit juice, housemade pomegranate syrup, and a smoked cherry. While my drink was delicious, I have to admit that I had some major cocktail envy once I sampled Diana's drink - that smoked cherry is *perfection*!
As a starter, we split an order of Hot Chicken & Pickles: Nashville-style pieces of tender white meat with housemade pickle slices. While I'm not a huge fan of pickles on their own, I absolutely loved the combination of the spicy, tender chicken and tangy, vinegary pickles!
Plus, how cute is the presentation?!
For her entrée, Diana chose the Migas with tortilla chips, tomatoes, onions, black beans, eggs & pork belly pastrami covered in salsa verde. While the dish comes sans pastrami, it is absolutely worth the add on - the pastrami blends perfectly with the other elements to create an outstanding spicy, savory, smokey dish.
We split an order of the creamy Mac & Cheese, made with white cheddar and black pepper.
For my entrée, I went with the Three Li'l Pigs Sandwich: pulled pork, housemade ham & pork belly pastrami with dijonnaise. Let me just say that this is a massive sandwich - I could only make my way through about a quarter of it! If you want to get a taste of the best of their meats, this sandwich is definitely the way to go. I particularly enjoyed it with a mix of the tangy and sweet BBQ sauces.
Massive meaty deliciousness!
Pork Shoppe is definitely an awesome addition to the neighborhood! Along with the delicious food, Diana and I both greatly enjoyed the laid back/comfortable atmosphere and friendly, knowledgeable staff. We've both each been back several times on our own since our initial visit - it has quickly become one of our go-to joints for damn good BBQ! You can try all of this deliciousness and more at Pork Shoppe: 5721 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.