WICKER PARK — Pork & Mindy's, a 40-seat fast casual BBQ sandwich shop from TV chef Jeff Mauro, plans to open at 11 a.m. Friday.
Located at 1623 N. Milwaukee Ave., the 2,500-square-foot former Red Hen bakery was empty for the past year. In August, Mauro, known as the "Sandwich King," announced plans to bring his first Pork & Mindy's to Wicker Park's main hub at Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues.
Co-owned by Mauro and business partner Kevin Corsello, Pork & Mindy's, which is already looking for franchisees to grow its retail brand, will feature a "diverse and approachable menu," Mauro said.
Published by Eater in November, the Pork & Mindy's menu offer slow-smoked sandwiches such as Bao to the Pork, Mulberry Smoked Pulled Chicken, Pig Candy BLT and Pulled Lamb; salads including Chopped Candy Cobb and Smoked Chicken; as well as a variety of sides, desserts and nonalcoholic beverages.
Desserts include the Memphis Porknado made with vanilla ice cream, peanut butter, candied pecans, salted caramel, chocolate sauce and pig candy, or Mauro's brown sugar-glazed bacon.
The restaurant is named after a new line of all-natural sauces called Pork & Mindy's that launched over the summer at Mariano’s locations throughout the Chicagoland area. That brand was conceived by Corsello, who hails from Wheaton.
Mauro is pitching his first spot to be in Bucktown, though whether the address is in Wicker Park or Bucktown is a hotly contested topic for some locals.
"The restaurant is technically on the border of the two [neighborhoods], however, since the restaurant is located north of North Avenue, the brand refers to it as Bucktown," a spokeswoman said when asked about the borders of Wicker Park and Bucktown.
Originally from Elmwood Park, Mauro said the spot was chosen because the busy nexus was "truly the intersection of food, music and art in Chicago."
Rose Picchetti, who owns the one-story building — where she ran Red Hen in for 17 years — previously said she and her husband are "delighted" by Pork & Mindy's.
"We are so happy. We searched a long time for the right tenant," Picchetti said.
Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. To stay updated, visit Pork & Mindy's website, or follow the brand on Twitter, @PorkandMindys or Instagram.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: