With the April, 2017 closing of Pig & Fish in downtown Rehoboth, the three little pigs are now the two little pigs: Pig & Publican and Pickled Pig Pub. And they are better for it! The brand new Pig & Publican in the Beacon Motel on Savannah Road in Lewes is a big hit and crowded every night. (Remember the Beach Deli that used to be in there?) The Pig & Publican is similar in concept to Doug & Lisa Frampton's Pickled Pig Pub on Coastal Highway, but with a number of cute Belgian twists and dishes all its own – including brunchy items.
The Pig & Publican also has something that very few Lewes restaurants serve up: FREE PARKING. Just park at the Beacon Motel and you're IN.
Listen to (then) P3 GM Zach Rempfer and Corporate Chef Ian Mangin describe Pig & Publican on 105.9FM's Sip & Bite with the Rehoboth Foodie. Chef Ian feeds The Foodie on the air (and almost burns down the radio station).
Open at 11 for lunch and dinner year-round, The Pig & Publican has approximately 80 seats within the bar and restaurant areas, as well as a small outdoor seating area with twenty seats for the spring, summer and fall months. Doug, Lisa, Eddie, Kyle and the crew offer casual yet somewhat upscale offerings with a focus on Belgian craft beers. From the appetizers to the soups, sandwiches, salads and entrees, there's always a polite nod to Belgian influences.
There's also a small oyster bar (the bar is small, not the oysters) that's integrated into the bar seating area where patrons can watch oysters shucked to order, enjoy a beverage and watch the game.
It was fun to share the opening night with Khalil “Doc” and Marcy Saliba, Sam and Maria Calagione, owners Lisa and Doug Frampton, GM (at the time) Zach Rempfer, our enthusiastic server Kyle Godwin and the rest of the Pickled/Pig/Fish crew. We ordered some of the goodies that Corporate Chef Ian Mangin had brought to the radio station when I interviewed him and Zach Rempfer on Sip & Bite (click above to hear it): Do not miss the Bitterballen! These couldn't be more different than the Italian meatballs you might be used to. (Think IKEA meatballs, but waayyy bigger, more savory with a better taste, a totally different sauce, and a wonderfully gooey cheese center. Mmmmm … on second thought, they're not like the IKEA meatballs at all.) Either way, there are 4 to an order and can be easily shared.
The Machine Gun!1/20 Pig & Publican2/20 Pig & Publican3/20 Bitterballen!4/20 sprouts5/20 Schnitzel and waffles. And eggs.6/20 Twisted pretzel with God's own cheese sauce7/20 Three Little Pigs8/20 Bacon frisee salad. Great dressing.9/20 Curry Chix salad on a liege waffle and the eggplant hummus dip10/20 Thai lemongrass chix noodle soup11/20 Apple Pork Sandwich12/20 the burger13/20 Pastrami sandwich14/20 Another tasty brunch!15/20 Egg salad special16/20 Gazpacho special17/20 The Grande Burger18/20 downhome meatloaf19/20 Pea Toasts!20/20
Our server du jour, Kyle Godwin, would not leave the table until at least one person ordered the chicken and waffles entree with the fried egg. When it arrived, we understood why. This is a creative and simply delicious dish. It's not breakfasty at all – it's quite savory, in fact, with a dark gravy over crispy fried chicken (schnitzel, if you must) over a slightly sweet waffle. And you gotta get the fried eggs on top. Trust me on this. See the photo in the gallery.
I should take this moment to remind you that, like many Cape Region restaurants, Ian and his crew love to change the menu around to pay homage to seasonal ingredients. So do note that some of these items might not be available when you go. But there's always something good on the menu. Another tasty entree is the Machine Gun sandwich. A nicely spiced Muerguez sausage is lovingly encased in a soft roll and topped with cheddar, sauteed onions and frites. A polite slather of harissa (a spicy blend of peppers) mayo is the crowning touch. You will not be hungry for a while after you tackle this one. See the gallery for a pretty good photo. Another don't miss is the Pretzel Twist, and the star of the show on that plate is the Belgian ale cheese sauce – no, not the grainy/floury cheese sauce you might have had elsewhere. This one is smooth and creamy, almost like a custard. Dip the warm pretzel therein, and get ready for the hallucinations. Well, sort of.
We also got the Crispy Brussel Sprouts sprinkled with melted parmesan and basking in caramelized onion horseradish aioli. It's a generous serving and will satisfy your every sprout need. Of course, we paid homage to the Pickled Pig Pub with the Poutine. Simple, to the point, and filling: Sausage gravy overtop warm fries and melty cheese curds. Talk about comfort food. Viva Canada! You'll need to leave your diet at home for this one.
Another highly recommended appetizer (Kyle was NOT shy, and we loved it) is the Three Little Pigs. A simple plate where crispy pork belly (they leave a crispy layer of skin!), a very good grilled sausage and shaved ham share a plate with grainy mustard, crispy fried kale (that makes it a salad!) and a creamy demi. Perfect for sharing and quite good. The dinner menu offers 5 varieties of mussels, paired with little gastronomic exclamation marks like ginger, bacon/gorgonzola, that taste Muerguez sausage, parmesan or bratwurst. The fries (they are only a block or so from the water, so call them “Beach Frites”) also come in 8 varieties, and in half or full orders. Nice touch, Ian and crew. I suggest the “Wit Beer cheese sauce” and the Curry Aioli. But you will settle on a favorite, I guarantee it.
Another nod to the Pickled Pig Pub is the Thai Chicken Noodle Soup. It will remind you of their famous Thai drunken noodles, but with more lime (kafir) and a hint of coconut. I think I might have to order this one every time I go. IF it's still on the menu, of course….
I've been back several times since their opening weekend – including the President's Day Saturday lunch when people were literally waiting in their cars to get in. The little spot is friendly, and if you like comfort food I guarantee you will find something on the menu to enjoy. Be sure to say hi to Eddie Pardocchi at the bar!
There is a huge selection of crafts in bottles and cans, including offerings from Allagash, Goose Island, Rodenbach, Ommegangs, Oskar Blues and even a couple of Trappist varieties – just to name a few. Eight tap handles rotate seasonally. Get ready for the Captain's Reserve Bottles. These include some brews you will not find elsewhere. Open up the dinner menu (above) to see the entire selection. I am sure these are seasonal.
The Pig & Publican is located in the Beacon Motel at 514 E. Savannah Road, between the drawbridge and Lewes Beach. Call to check their hours at 302-313-4487. Check out their website at www.PigandPublican.com.