In the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood, a New American restaurant with roots across the river recently made its debut. Pig & Pickle opened on Sept. 29, featuring Southern-inspired small plates. The concept comes from chef Ryan Lewis, who previously owned Driftwood Cocktail & Eatery in Springfield, Illinois.
Lewis, who is a native of Bethalto, Illinois, operated Driftwood from September 2014 to July 2017 before retooling his restaurant for the St. Louis market. Pig & Pickle fills the approximately 2,000-square-foot space previously occupied by Atlas Restaurant, with 44 seats in the dining room and an additional seven seats at the bar.
“We try to keep things a little rustic, but there’s also a contemporary feel behind it all,” says general manager Carina Flesch. “It’s a bit of country mixed with industrial.”
Updates to the space include a coat of orange paint, refinished floors and a bar wall made up of repurposed wood in varying natural shades. On the bar’s shelves, a hunk of driftwood pays homage to the restaurant’s predecessor beside a miniature pig statuette gifted by former regulars. To tie the new name together, a row of colorful pickle jars illuminates the dining room.
A few popular carryover items from Driftwood’s menu include pretzel-crusted cheese curds, fried chicken and biscuit and one of Lewis’ personal favorites: chicken “rinds,” or Cajun-spiced fried chicken skins served with sweet and sour sauce and jalapeño.
Another one of his top recommendations is charred octopus with roasted garlic and shallot, edible flowers, lemon zest, chile oil and lime vinaigrette. Additional popular picks include brisket jambalaya with cured brisket, black-eyed peas, tomato and hoppin’ john as well as barley risotto with sweet potato, butternut squash, chile oil, fried egg, pickled onion and mushroom.
A liquor license for Pig & Pickle is currently in the works. In the future, guests can look forward to four draft beers, a selection of wine and a menu of 35 to 40 cocktails. For now, a short list of refreshing boozeless cocktails are available with options such as the Lemons & Lavender with lemon juice, honey syrup, juniper and lavender bud.
“I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to be in a bigger market and really refine what we’re doing,” Lewis says. “We’re going to be a little more adventurous with what we put on the menu here.”
Pig & Pickle is currently open Tuesday through Saturday from 4:30 to 10pm. Brunch will be available beginning on October 14 on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2pm.
Pig & Pickle, 5513 Pershing Ave., Skinker-DeBaliviere, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.349.1697, pigandpickleeatery.com