Six years after opening the original location in the East Bottoms, Local Pig and Pigwich  have officially moved into their new space at 20 E. Fifth Street in City Market. And it wasn’t easy – chef, butcher and Local Pig partner Alex Pope (who co-owns the business with Matt Kafka) explains that it took over a year of deep cleaning and construction to get the new shops into operational condition. The efforts, though they may have been extensive, have proved worthwhile: the space is gleaming, and looks brand-new.

“It was not good,” says Pope of the space, which formerly operated as Winslow’s barbecue restaurant for nearly 50 years. “It was really dirty.” You would never know by the looks of it now: from the awnings to the entryways, the southwest corner unit in one of the city’s longest-occupied structures is completely unrecognizable from its former self.

There are multiple entrances to both the new Local Pig butcher shop and Pigwich. Customers can enter either the butcher shop or Pigwich from Fifth Street or from the market side, and there is an additional entrance to Pigwich from a hallway that runs between the restaurant and Blue Nile Café.

Local Pig will look somewhat familiar to customers of the East Bottoms shop. A long, glass display case remains a feature of the shop, displaying familiar cuts of locally raised beef, pork, chicken, duck and lamb, as well as sausages and charcuterie (except now there is far more to choose from). What is entirely new are all of the additional products that Local Pig now stocks, including wine, Shatto Milk Co. products, T-shirts, canned goods and hot sauces including those from KC Canning Co., and shrubs from Boozy Botanicals, among other items.

Connected by a doorway on the north side of the shop, Pigwich is entirely reimagined. Formerly a modest little kitchen located in a shipping container located just outside of Local Pig’s doors, Pigwich is now a full-fledged restaurant that comfortably seats 60 customers. With natural wood tables, brick walls and polished concrete floors, the space is casual and comfortable, and a big step up from the outdoor space of the sandwich shop’s past. Although its history is not entirely scrapped – a mural of the original shipping container is depicted on one of its brick walls – the new space is a permanent, all-season home more befitting of Pope’s hearty creations.

The menu is largely comprised of what was available at Pigwich throughout its stand in the East Bottoms, except now Pigwich’s former daily specials are all available every day of the week. Classic menu items include the porchetta (roasted pork with black truffle aïoli, olive tapenade and arugula), cheesesteak (with poblano peppers, onions and three kinds of cheese), short rib burger (braised beef served with lettuce, tomato, mustard and aïoli), buffalo tenderloin (a fried buffalo patty drenched in wing sauce and served with celery slaw and gorgonzola), as well as the classic 1/3-pound burger (an all-beef patty with tomato jam, porcini aïoli and red onion pickles), among other selections.  

Two new items have been added to the menu. First is the East Bottoms Burger, which was available as an off-menu special at the original Pigwich: a 1/3-pound burger is cooked medium, to which jalapeño pickles, barbecue sauce, ranch and pepper jack are added. Second, is the over-the-top but completely delicious “Big Pig,” which includes a pork patty, fried pork tenderloin, jalapeño pickles, three cheeses and a generous smear of nduja (a spicy, housemade salami spread) on the bun. It’s rich and extravagant, and totally fitting here. Sides including shoestring-style French fries, sweet potato fries and house-fried chips are also now available.

Also new here is a wide selection of canned beer, wine and cider. Local beers, including those from Boulevard Brewing Co. and Martin City Brewing Co., are available, alongside major domestics like Budweiser and Miller. A canned Bloody Mary and a gin and tonic (both from Cutwater) are also available.

Back in 2014, Pope and Kafka opened a different Local Pig shop in Westport that served sandwiches and some of the butcher shop offerings that could be found in his original shop, as well as beer. That location fell flat and closed after about a year. Gratefully, the original butcher shop in the East Bottoms and Pigwich persevered long past the Westport effort. Now, the new Local Pig and Pigwich seem to be superior versions of all of Pope’s former shops, without losing any of the soul of the East Bottoms store.

Local Pig and Pigwich are open Monday through Friday and Sunday from 10am to 8pm, and on Saturday from 9am to 8pm.

Local Pig and Pigwich, 20 E. Fifth St., City Market, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.200.1639, thelocalpig.com

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April is a Kansas Citian by way of New Mexico, worker bee, freelance writer and photographer, food, music, animal and travel lover.

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