Off the El Eats

Off The El Eats: The Bourgeois Pig

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The Bourgeois Pig Cafe (738 W. Fullerton Ave.) off the Fullerton Red Line stop has been on my list of places to try since last year. Its charming name attracted me first, but I became even more intrigued once I looked up the cafe menu, which includes sandwiches named after great works of literature.

 pig3Walking into the cafe feels like entering the well-loved library of a Victorian house. The space is decked out with dark wood paneling, small crystal chandeliers and a hodge-podge collection of tables and chairs. Knick-knacks such as old advertisements, coke bottles and soup cans
decorate the shelves and add to the vintage vibe. The extensive menu is displayed on three large chalkboards behind the counter, and the lighting is a little dim but cozy.

The menu mainly offers sandwiches, but it also offers a few salads, breakfast options (available all day) and a daily quiche and soup. The number of sandwich choices was mildly overwhelming and included grilled paninis, wraps and cold-cut classics. Some of my favorite sandwich names include “The Merchant of Venice” ($5.25 for a half and $9.75 for a whole), a classic Italian combination of ham, mortadella and genoa salami topped with provolone, tomatoes and Italian dressing;  “The Catcher in the Rye” ($5.25 / $9.75), a grilled panini on marble rye bread with Thousand Island dressing, corned beef, sauerkraut, fresh tomatoes, Swiss and lettuce; and “The Old Man & The Sea” ($5.25 / $9.75), a tuna sandwich on multi-grain bread with fresh spinach and alfalfa sprouts.

pig1I chose “The Great Gatsby” ($10.75), partly because it was one of my favorite books of those listed, and the sandwich lived up to its name. It came with bagged chips and a pickle, and it was a twist on a classic club. The sandwich included smoked turkey, bacon, Swiss, avocado, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts and spinach with basil pesto and mayonnaise grilled on focaccia bread.

The focaccia was soft and fresh and the rosemary on top added a nice herby flavor. The smokiness of the turkey and bacon was balanced by the sweet tomatoes, and the crisp spinach and sprouts added a nice crunch to the softer ingredients. My only complaint was that there was a little too much mayo, which overshadowed the flavor of the pesto, and I would probably ask for it on the side next time.

Although I admit that paying more than $10 for a sandwich is a little pricey, I should have been able to guess the cost from the name of the cafe. However, the sandwich size and quality of ingredients made it worth it. You could save half for later and still be satisfied.

pig4There is also an adjoining coffee shop on the other side of the building, but you can order coffee in either location. I ordered a chai latte ($3.27), and frankly, I’ve had better. It was too milky and wasn’t spicy enough for my taste. However, my friend ordered a specialty almond roca latte ($3.63), which she enjoyed.

Even though I was there for a late lunch at 3 p.m., the café was packed. While there, I saw that several people had to wait for a table.

On days when they have all of their seating available, the Bourgeois Pig Cafe, unlike some coffee shops, is a spot where you can easily sit and work or order a substantial meal and catch up with a friend. If you’re looking for a new cafe outside of Rogers Park, give it a try.

The Bourgeois Pig is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The menu can be found at bpigcafe.com.

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