“I live in Hyde Park, and I thought one day I wanted to open a place in Hyde Park,” Bourgoub said in an interview Friday.
He now is close to realizing that goal, and on Monday he began hiring waitstaff and training cooks to make smoked rib tips.
“We smoke for 16 hours straight with just charcoal and wood — no gas,” Bourgoub said, adding that it’s more complicated than throwing a hickory or cherry log in an oven and calling it barbecue.
Bourgoub opened the first Porkchop location, serving a menu heavy on pork and bourbon, at 941 W. Randolph St. in 2011. He said he is putting the final touches on the Western-style interior of the 1516 E. Harper Court location and going through the final health inspections now.
He said he’s wanted to open a restaurant closer to his Hyde Park home for years, but was waiting for the right time.
“Hyde Park is a small island by itself,” Bourgoub said. “Certainly it needs more food.”
He said he’s always enjoyed Hyde Park’s restaurants, but sometimes wants a different experience.
“I do like Valois [cafeteria],” Bourgoub said. “You just go and get your food and eat in peace; it’s nice.”
Porkchop will add options, serving chicken and waffles for breakfast, and beef ribs, jambalaya and macaroni and cheese for dinner. The Southern-inspired restaurant also will have a fully stocked bar with more than 100 whiskey and bourbon options and 22 local beers on tap.
“I go to other places, and they’re serving beers from California,” Bourgoub said. “We’re in Chicago, we should sell beers from Chicago.”
Bourgoub himself is an import, choosing to set down roots in Hyde Park when he moved from France.
“I came from a world where it’s very diverse, and I felt very comfortable in Hyde Park,” Bourgoub said.
He said he got excited about barbecue when he moved to Chicago and is excited to bring more of it to his own neighborhood.
“I’m in love with the stuff,” Bourgoub said.