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.