Chicago’s dining scene continues to skew casual as Angry Pig Tavern opens tonight in Wicker Park in the space that’s housed Spring, Trenchermen and — most recently — Trench since 2001. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’ plans pushed Angry Pig Tavern owner Mark Hemmer out of his riverside space downtown at the Bridge House Tavern. Hemmer rebounded with Angry Pig, where he brings a touch of Bridge House to Wicker Park with dishes like a pineapple-braised pork belly and a 10-ounce classic cheeseburger.
“You can’t be too fine dining,” Hemmer said on Tuesday, hours before the 5 p.m. opening at 2039 W. North Avenue. “You really have to appeal to the people living in the neighborhood.”
Ownership hasn’t done too much remodeling since they took over the space. They’ve added a few TVs and chalkboards inside, and new neon signage outside. The space was in good shape when Heisler Hospitality vacated and closed Trench. Trench was supposed to be more casual than its predecessor Trenchermen, a restaurant that opened in 2012 and lasted until 2017. Spring, a fine dining restaurant from chef Shawn McClain (Green Zebra), held the space from 2001 to 2010. Bridge House also had a lengthy run — seven years — before Hemmer closed the spot.
Despite the recent changeovers, the Wicker Park space has demonstrated the ability to attract customers. Hemmer touted its beautiful bar area. He wants this to be a community hang out spot. Will Angry Pig cater to nocturnal customers too?
“The neighborhood will dictate it,” said Hemmer. “If we’re busy, we’ll stay open later.”
Angry Pig Tavern will attempt to solve the riddle that is Wicker Park’s dining scene starting at 5 p.m. today. Take a look at the menu at the link.
Angry Pig Tavern, 2039 W. North Avenue, (773) 687–9795, open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday; 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday; Brunch coming soon; Reservations available via OpenTable.