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Inside the Purple Pig’s New Mag Mile Pork Palace

Look inside the wildly popular downtown restaurant’s new digs

The modern dining room with European touches.
The Purple Pig is open in its new space, just minutes from its original location.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The Purple Pig, one of the Magnificent Mile’s most popular dining destinations, has relocated to new digs after a decade and opened for business this week. Chef and partner Jimmy Bannos Jr.’s new Mediterranean pork and wine palace at 444 N. Michigan Avenue is nearly twice the size of the previous location, located just down the street, and seats 120 people.

The 4,657 square-foot space includes a larger dining room, 18-seat bar, and open kitchen, as well as a 20-seat semi-private dining room for groups. Owners hope to maintain the convivial atmosphere of the original restaurant, with tables that seat pairs as well as larger groups and eight backed bar stools along a chef’s counter where diners can sit practically nose-to-nose with kitchen staff.

The new location bears many similarities to the original, such as a mix of light and dark wood with touches of red, decorative Mediterranean-style tiles, and wine barrel-bottoms on the wall. The added floor space may make for a more comfortable dining experience, and private dining was not previously available. The kitchen now features gas appliances, an upgrade from the prior spot, and a grill rather than an electric plancha or induction cooktops.

A new menu accompanies the new location, and is divided into snacks, vegetables, pasta, seafood, and, of course, meat. Each list item is accompanied by a suggested wine pairing. Vegetable offerings include salt-roasted beets (whipped goat cheese, pistachio butter) and a gazpacho salad (heirloom tomato, cucumbers, grapes, and toasted bread). There are only three pasta selections, such as the ricotta gnocchi with neckbone gravy, and seafood dishes feature Spanish octopus (green beans, fingerling potatoes, and salsa verde) and morcilla stuffed squid (black fava puree, charmoula).

Pork is the natural star of the Purple Pig’s menu, with options including chamomile-smoked pork ham steak (strawberries, spiced quinoa, fava beans, sherry membeillo), milk-braised Berkshire shoulder (mashed potatoes, crispy lentils), and pork spare ribs (Amaro BBQ sauce, farro, roasted red peppers). Other meat offerings include a “Housemade Hot Dog” (foie gras butter, passionfruit mustard, black truffle) and Wagyu steak (black garlic A1, gigante beans, bone marrow-rhubarb butter).

In January, Bannos announced that the Purple Pig has skin in the game at the forthcoming Time Out Market in Fulton Market under the working title “Purple Pig Salumeria.” He also plans to open Purple Cow, a full-service restaurant offering rare beef cuts, sometime next year at 160 E. Grand Avenue.

Take a look inside the Purple Pig’s new space below.

The Purple Pig’s new space is a three-minute walk south of the previous location.
The 4,657 square-foot space is nearly twice the size of the original.
There’s banquette seating, as well as tables and a chef’s bar.
A section of the Purple Pig’s vast wine offerings
Catch the action from the bar stool seats along the chef’s counter.
Diners may get the idea that Bannos is into wine.
Potato ice cream with trout roe, potato chips, and egg yolk
Burrata cannoli with apricot, olive caramel, and heirloom tomato
King crab with strawberry gazpacho and avocado
Chamomile-smoked pork ham steak with strawberries, spiced quinoa, fava beans, and sherry membeillo

The Purple Pig

500 North Michigan Avenue, , IL 60611 (312) 464-1744 Visit Website

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