River Pig Saloon
recently opened on the lowest part of Greenville Avenue in what was a Firestone tire shop for years and most recently housed the shuttered Flatbread Company. The restaurant originated in Oregon, where "River Pig" is an old term for guys whose job it was to guide timber down rivers to sawmills. Because this involved clearing up literal log jams, it’s safe to say they enjoyed a drink at the end of their very long day just by virtue of the fact they had survived.
We recently checked out this first location outside of Oregon for both lunch and brunch. Taxidermy pieces hang throughout the spacious dining room. The bar area has about 15 seats, and there are several booths and tables with plenty of room to mingle. Most of the seating, though, is in the outdoor area, which has been converted into a large all-season patio with roll-up doors, fans, heaters, artificial turf and TVs.
Hell's Canyon Drumsticks, anyone?
The menu offers typical items that you would find at a gastropub, but also some unique grub like the Hell’s Canyon Drumsticks ($11). Instead of drums and flats, you get five whole chicken legs with your choice of flavors (house dry rub, cilantro Buffalo, barbecue or honey mustard). Go for the house dry rub drumsticks; they're juicy, yet crispy and nicely seasoned without the mess.
We also tried the Saloon’s Bison Burger ($16), which is topped with bacon, pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, pickles and garlic mayo on a brioche bun. Seasoned curly fries topped with herbs and Parmesan are served hot and fresh with all the burgers. You’ll have a hard time not devouring all the fries before you even start to eat your sandwich or burger.
Chicken 'n' waffles.
River Pig recently started a brunch service from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. We tried the chicken 'n' waffles ($14). The presentation was spectacular: two large chicken breasts are nestled between four Belgian waffles topped with grapefruit slices, habanero syrup and honey butter.
We couldn’t wait to dive into this dish, but we were disappointed that the chicken and the batter seemed to have zero seasoning, and the habanero syrup was missing any hint of spice. The chicken, however, was juicy and cooked with a nicely battered coating even though it was hard to finish. We want to give them the benefit of the doubt and will chalk up this miss to it being the first weekend of brunch.
That said, it certainly wasn’t all doom and gloom. In fact, there was a ray of brunchy sunshine in the Fat Mac Burger. Also served with organic bison, a sunny-side-up egg, bourbon bacon jam, smoked gouda, pickles and a spicy aioli, it is a great combination of savory, sweet and spicy that worked really well together.
There’s a large wood-burning pizza oven in the middle of the restaurant, and we’re anxious to get back to try the Maui Waui pizza with Canadian bacon, spicy pepperoni and pineapple chunks.
Per the bartender, a happy hour plan is on the way. Regardless, we think this place will get a lot of business based on its location, especially for big weekends like Texas vs. OU, St. Patrick’s Day and for the plain old weekends when beautiful weather demands time spent on a great patio with a few craft cocktails.
For a restaurant in this area, there is sufficient parking available. There’s also an old-school photo booth at the front (not a selfie station).
River Pig Saloon, 1720 Greenville Ave. Monday – Wednesday, 2 p.m. – midnight; Thursday – Sunday, 2 p.m. – 1 a.m.