Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
The Blind Pig patterns its decor and aesthetic off of the speakeasies of the 1920s, and while we didn't have to know a secret password or handshake to get in, the place was still nice and hidden, tucked away behind NYPD Pizza far enough out on Highway 10 that we felt closer to Pinnacle Mountain than downtown. The attractive new bar and restaurant is decorated with pictures of old-time gangsters, and while we found the Prohibition-era fedoras and ties that made up our servers attire to be pushing things just a little bit, everyone was so friendly that we felt right at home in no time.
The gangster theme extends to the menu, and so instead of an appetizers menu, we were pointed to "The Stick Up." Our personal stick up consisted of a bowl of "To DIE For Cheese Dip" ($8 large, $5 small) and an order of fried mushrooms ($6). We wouldn't go quite so far as to lose our lives over the melted cheese, but we were impressed with the mixture of white cheese, cooked greens, and andouille sausage, served with crisp, fresh tortilla chips. The dip was mildly spicy and the chunks of sausage were an unexpected pleasure. The mushrooms were slices of white button mushrooms that had been battered and fried, and while the breading and flavor was on point, they could have benefitted from a longer stay in the fryer to make for a crispier bite.
We followed up our apps with a "Bonnie," the Blind Pig's name for a pork hot dog ($5 with ketchup and mustard; $8 for the works), and were immediately enamored with the Zweigle's brand that the restaurant is trucking in from New York to add some authenticity to their "wise guy" image. Of course, where there's a "Bonnie," there's going to be a "Clyde," and we look forward to returning for all-beef red dog version. These are the sort of dogs that we like best: large, juicy, and with a real skin on them that snaps just a little at every bite, and unless Green Cart Deli ever decides to relocate from Conway, they'll be our pick for best dog in the city.
After our hot dog interlude we moved on a couple of "Public Enemies," which is a selection of bar sandwiches. The Don and The Capone (both $10) were served on soft bread that were almost dripping with melted provolone (always a plus). The Don added sliced steak, onion straws, lettuce, tomato, and the Blind Pig's "Shotgun Sauce" to the mix, while the Capone featured a fried boneless pork chop and onions. The steak sandwich was only fair, because while the meat was tender and moist, it lacked any real presence to match the gooey cheese. The pork chop fared better, with a nice flavor in both meat and bread. Our side orders of French fries and baked beans were both also good — we had a particular fondness for the smoky beans.
At the end of the meal, we were pleased with how everything turned out, especially given the relatively low number on our bill. The bar is offering live music and karaoke weekly, and they've certainly got a menu to suit both of those things. The Blind Pig will never be anybody's idea of fine dining, but it does well with what it sets out to accomplish: ample portions of fresh, tasty bar food served in an atmosphere that's comfortable and friendly.
4 p.m. until 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 4 p.m. until midnight Friday; 11 a.m. until midnight Saturday; 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sunday
All major CC, full bar.