The Pig & The Sprout restaurant in Denver’s Union Station neighborhood embodies the dual nature of its name - featuring hearty, meat-based items and lighter, veggie and based items. The physical layout of the menu is split down the middle with meat-based, heavier ingredient dishes listed under “The Pig” side and vegetarian, even some vegan, dishes listed under “The Sprout” side. This place is perfect for those couples who each have entirely different eating habits or large groups! The same goes for the cocktails; you’ll find bold, whiskey, bourbon and beer based drinks and then light, clear spirits with fresh citrus or herbal ingredients on the other side. We can’t recall any restaurant we’ve been to with such a contrasted, and clearly divided menu as this… and we think it’s wonderful.
When Andy Ganick opened his long dreamed of The Pig & The Sprout last summer, he called it his "dream restaurant that would satisfy all." Ganick is on site most nights, but is also the owner of Stapleton’s popular Berkshire Restaurant that’s been serving “Swine, Wine and a Good Time” since 2007.
We had a good time and a great feast at The Pig & The Sprout last week and want to share our thoughts with you. We started with the Eggplant Bruschetta ($8) that was a very tasty "Sprout" starter consisting of fried eggplant, Boursin (soft, herbed) cheese, smoked tomato jam, and arugula which we really enjoyed. For our “Sprout” entree we ordered the Gnocchi, ($18) which was a wonderful vegetarian dish, but don't order it because you think it'll be lighter than something on the "Pig" side of the menu. In addition to the potato pillows (aka gnocchi), there were golden raisins, sunflower seeds, candied walnuts, butternut squash, Boursin cheese and arugula, all drizzled with browned butter sauce. This dish was decadent, filling and full of flavors.
Next, the Cordon Bleu ($14) sandwich was spectacular and is one of their most popular entree items, we get why. Every component from the toasted and mayo/fondue-slathered bun to the fantastic fried chicken made this sandwich a hit. The fried chicken is actually breaded with garbanzo beans, which gave it a more savory, nutty taste opposed to just fried crunchiness, and also makes it gluten free! In fact, you can make the whole sandwich gluten free with their special buns if you prefer.
The final dish was over the top and was a popular item we just had to try for ourselves (and to tell you about!) It was a towering assortment of pulled pork, bacon, a kurobuta pork patty from Berkshire Farms and topped with apple slaw, pig chips, and mayo. It is aptly named The Hogger ($17) and is served with fries, but we got their Brussels Sprouts ($8) instead because we were told how great they were. We were very pleased with that suggestion and got a heaping dish full of the glazed, Parmesan dusted sprouts. These however are not on the "Sprout" side of the menu because they are cooked and served with bacon. We could barely have more than a bite of this final dish after everything that came before, but I can tell you the leftovers were just as great the next day.
We only ordered one cocktail and choose the Wild Boar, consisting of El Dorado 12 yr. rum, honey, black walnut bitters and served with a spear of Luxardo cherry and prosciutto. It was like a sweet Manhattan and tasted more like bourbon than typical rum, apparently 12 years of aging will do that. Some of the other cool cocktails are their four different Mules, a Chocolate Mint Porter, and an Apple Pie Martini and Mimosa. During Happy Hour (3-6pm & 11pm-2am), ALL drinks are 25% off!
The space lends itself to a variety of personalities as well; climbing vines by the bar, antique books, garage door walls that open up to two outdoor patios, and sleek couches for lounging and community tables for making new friends. We thoroughly enjoyed this restaurant because it provides thoughtful, creative seasonal fare for vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free, and carnivors alike. Even the large drink menu nods to their split personality with clever, one of a kind cocktails paired to both palates. https://www.pigandsprout.com
Words by Tiffany Candelaria Photos by Samantha Bliss