Let’s say you’re bored one night. It’s a weeknight in Salt Lake City and you have zero to do. Never mind that stack of homework or business expense whatevers on your desk. You want to watch the sportsball game on TV! And have a beer! And play pub trivia! Then you want to listen to a band! During all this, you want a burger because it’s your cheat day. Luckily for you, there is one place in town that does all of the above, not only once a week, but nearly every day. That place, this mecca of entertainment and food, is The Green Pig Pub.
Opened by Bridget Gordon in 2009, The Green Pig has been a popular hangout spot with something for nearly everyone. Even the pickiest of your friends would be satisfied. Gordon, who decided she didn’t want to work for anyone else and already had the experience of running a restaurant (The Bird Café), came up with the idea of opening her own place when her former employer, the deceased Port O’ Call, closed its doors. She and husband Steve worked overtime to have the building complete in 10 weeks—that abandoned mattress store on the corner by my house has taken longer to become a dust bowl than the time it took for Gordon to open a restaurant. The building was crafted with a waste-not mentality, using recycled building materials. “We painstakingly hand-pulled a lot of nails from old framing materials and reused it when we framed in The Pig,” Gordon says. Also recycled are the bar itself from Port O’ Call and plates from the DI, so don’t feel bad if you break one (but seriously, if you’re breaking plates in a public setting, maybe chill out).
The Green Pig draws inspiration from a formerly divey bar in San Francisco, Hamburger Mary’s. “They had excellent food, excellent service and nothing matched,” Gordon says. The menu contains dishes ranging from quesadillas to sirloin steaks and a specialty Kobe beef burger—not run-of-the-mill bar food. Everything, save for the bread, is made fresh and in-house. “We’re not just basic bar food—we actually put thought into our food,” she says. People rave about the sandwiches, including my dad, who won’t shut up about how good the Cuban is. Gordon is also very passionate about her burgers. She says, “A lot of other bars are just getting into the burger competition, [but] we’ve been doing a great job with our burger since we’ve opened. People really overlook our burger.”
If you’re not hungry (how can you not be hungry? I’m always hungry when I enter a pub even if I just ate six bread rolls), maybe you’re just there for the music scene. You made a good choice because The Green Pig has a crazy variety of performers every week. Monday night, blues musicians can join in an open blues jam—an opportunity for musicians to listen to other artists and sign up to play with each other. Thursday, Friday and Saturday feature a roster of entertainment including DJs, bands (such as Steve’s band, The Gamma Rays) and trivia nights—both general and adult.
The Green Pig has brought life into an area that once seemed abandoned. Nestled in the historical district known as Exchange Place, the restaurant has brightened up the space on 400 South between State and Main with Gordon’s revamp of the building in ways like restoring the windows from tiny port holes (old laws stated bars couldn’t be seen from the outside) to their original size. Some changes can’t be made to the 107-year-old building, like adding more signage and lights, because it is considered a historical site and that would make too much sense. But Gordon has definitely revived a once-dead area. “I kind of put a little life into Exchange Place,” she boasts. Even without the lights and signs, people still know where to find it, and often come out for one reason: the breathtaking rooftop patio.
Buildings in Salt Lake are close together and often connected, which doesn’t allow for much restaurant patio space, and makes The Green Pig’s patio even more unique. It is the only restaurant in the valley with seating on the roof: 1,000 square feet of beautiful outdoor seating with a view that other restaurants would kill for, which Gordon is proud of. “I’m doing something that nobody else has. A lot of the other bars are reaching out to me on how to do this,” she says. Restaurants from all over the valley are coming to her for advice on their own rooftop patios, granting her bragging rights. People always want more, though, so Gordon has begun the endeavor of expanding her patio from 1,000 square feet to 3,000. By next summer, you’ll be able to enjoy the hotly talked-about food on the patio with three times as many people, and think about all that work you can put off to have fun for a night. Whether you’re an indoor person who just wants to enjoy a sports-something, or a party animal ready for some DJ action on the roof, The Green Pig is the place to go any night of the week. Trust me: The food, the view and the fun vibe are all worth it.
You can find more about The Green Pig Pub at thegreenpigpub.com.