Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Short Order

Pig & Pearl opens in the former Republic space, offering pork and oysters. Here's our preview.

Posted By on Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge Chef Rich Gunter brings oysters and pork to his first Richmond venture.  The Pig & Pearl opens this month in the former Republic space on West Broad.
  • Chef Rich Gunter brings oysters and pork to his first Richmond venture. The Pig & Pearl opens this month in the former Republic space on West Broad.

Here's what to expect when the former Republic opens this month with a new name, chef and concept. On one side of the space at 2053 W. Broad St. is the Pig & Pearl, a raw bar with a fine-tuned food focus, but also a sports bar, building owner Mathew Appelget says. Next door, Burn @ the Pig and Pearl is a whiskey lounge where customers can get a Pappy Van Winkle and a quality cigar, or smoke a Pall Mall with a Pabst.

Gone are some of the space's negatives, Appelget says. "We're really upgrading the fit and finish of the building … and restroom facilities will be completely different than what they were before" when frequent breakdowns were a hassle for customers, he says. "We're going to deliver a higher quality food to table and a better caliber service than I think Richmond has experienced."

Chef Rich Gunter got his first taste of Richmond last month during the Shockoe on the Half Shell festival, and praises his new customer base for being food savvy but friendlier than where he's from, Washington. "People in Richmond are smart, they know what good food is and I've got a lot of respect for that," Gunter says.

As for his approach to food, he says: "I like working with a lot of small, family-operated farms, fishermen, because that way I can go to my guests and say I know who pulled this rockfish out of the water. I like being honest with people and I like making good, honest food that's approachable to everyone. If I can't tell you where something comes from, I'm doing everybody a disservice."

The Pig won't compete with local barbecue places, Gunter adds, but the dominant theme will be pork and oysters in different presentations. Bourbon-mustard-glazed pork tails, pig ear tacos, oyster stew, fried and smoked oyster dishes and other hearty entrees will join an extensive beverage list. Watch for an opening later this month.

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Skipping breakfast: Dinamo, at 821 W. Cary St., no longer serves breakfast. Its hours now are weekday lunch and dinner from 11 a.m., and dinner Saturday. See more about this independent cafe at dinamorichmond.com.

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