The Barking Pig is capable of changing one’s expectations for a neighborhood bar in several ways.
The name of this cozy bar and restaurant alone is sure to start a conversation, if your eye wasn’t already drawn to the statue of a pig that, depending on when you visit, may be painted differently than it was a year ago.
Whether you’re stopping in for a nightcap after a round of golf or just taking a walk home from nearby Little Thicket Park in Shady Acres, The Barking Pig’s intimate bar and plentiful outdoor patio space makes for an inviting spot to enjoy your favorite comfort food.
I was impressed with the knowledge and friendliness of the bartender during my visit last week, though I have to admit my first impression of the daily special, Chicken Fried Chicken ($10), was that there was a typo on the menu. After all, how could you possibly improve upon something as simple and classic as fried chicken?
The Chicken Fried Chicken is a twist on the traditional chicken fried steak, and it is vastly superior to any version of the original dish I’ve ever had. The crisp texture of the breading was nearly perfect, the hearty gravy was generously dolloped all over the plate, and the chicken was cooked evenly and maintained the same level of juicy flavor down to the last bite.
The chicken is served alongside mashed potatoes that are a bit softer and mushier than I would prefer, but what they lacked in thickness, they made up for in terms of taste — the gravy helped as well. I suppose expecting anyone else to live up to your mother’s homemade mashed potatoes is a rather high bar to clear.
I took another recommendation from the bartender when I tried Great Heights Brewing Company’s Lager-ish ($5), which is brewed with ale yeast, but goes down smooth like a lager, with a hint of bitterness. The bartender told me it stands up well to most fried foods, and Great Heights’ description of the beer on its website is that it is “perfect for a hot Texas day.”
The Barking Pig has a $10 Turkey Leg Plate special on Monday and a $10 Build Your Own Burger with fries and unlimited free toppings on Tuesday. Thursday is Steak Night: Each plate comes with a side salad, mashed potatoes and an extra of the chef’s choosing. Six-ounce, center-cut filets are $24.99, a 14-ounce ribeye is $20.99 and a BBQ Butterflied Chicken Breast is $15.99. On Friday, you can get al pastor tacos for $2.50 each.
The Barking Pig
Address: 2307 Ella Blvd.
Dining Options: Dine-in, takeout, delivery via DoorDash
Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight Monday-Friday, noon-midnight Saturday-Sunday
Entrée prices: $9-$15
Senior discount: No
Healthy options: Tree Hugger Bowl ($10)
Star of the show: Chicken Fried Chicken