Eastlake Teriyaki, the more casual lunchtime offspring of Blind Pig Bistro, served its final meal yesterday. Demolition has officially begun to transform the tiny strip mall storefront into a 23 seat bar that's attached to Blind Pig. It’s been the plan since owners Charles Walpole and Rene Gutierrez took over the space last July.
"Everyone felt the neighborhood needed another bar,” Walpole told me this afternoon, just before heading to work in what is now a construction zone. “We kept it going [as Eastlake Teriyaki] until we had enough money to do the bar.” A passageway connects the two spaces, which made an adjoining bar a natural fit.
Babirusa, named after “the genus of our beloved pig friend who watches over us at Blind Pig Bistro,” will serve lunch weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. and then open as a bar at 5 p.m. nightly (no lunch on Saturdays or Sundays). Babirusa will offer simple eats: fish and chips, a burger, and lots of tapas-sized plates that will rotate daily and top out at about $8. Also, plenty of eat-with-your-hands type stuff, like croquettes and pork ribs. The menu is a work in progress and being crafted right now by Kenny Gibbs, who’s been Walpole’s right hand man at Blind Pig up until now.
As for the interior, “In spirit, it will be the same as Blind Pig Bistro,” says Walpole. There will be an 11-seat bar and 12 seats via banquette. Atelier Drome, which did the build-out for most of Ethan Stowell’s restaurants, Juicebox and Altura, is doing the design work for Babirusa. Walpole describes the style as “saloon-y” with the same red colors as Blind Pig.
Ben Sherwood, who spent lots of time behind the bar at Marjorie, will be managing the bar. Gutierrez, another Marjorie alum, will be the General Manager of both places.
Look for Babirusa to open in about six weeks.