University Boulevard’s resident mac n’ cheese fix has officially vacated the premises, but a new barbecue joint moved in this summer in hopes of establishing their name.
The Blind Pig, located in Main Gate Square, is a new family-owned barbecue restaurant and bar that offers a dive environment with a variety of dining options.
The Blind Pig founders, brothers Brandon and Jonathan Hsu, current University of Arizona students, came up with the idea in March 2019.
“Our parents were visiting from California and we were walking down Main Gate,” Jonathan said. “My brother [Brandon] and dad thought, ‘What if we opened a restaurant here?’”
When creating the image for The Blind Pig, the owners took inspiration from early 1900s speakeasies.
“We were thinking back to the time where alcohol was prohibited in the U.S., during the Prohibition Era,” Jonathan said.
Names like “The Hideaway” and “The Prohibition” were brought up, but according to Jonathan, all of those were taken.
Keeping barbecue food in mind, Brandon came up with the name “The Blind Pig” — a slang term for speakeasy, according to Jonathan.
“It worked out perfectly,” Jonathan said.
The Hsu brothers then took the idea to Google and found that 943 E. University Blvd. — where The Fix, a recently closed macaroni and cheese restaurant — was once located, was under a private sale. By May 2019 the Hsu family secured the location and began their journey.
Vickie Patterson, a former UA student, said that she was disappointed to find out The Fix had permanently closed its doors.
“I had been planning on going to The Fix for weeks and they unexpectedly closed the day before my planned date,” Patterson said. “That was a bummer.”
According to Patterson, The Fix had a “build-your-own” macaroni and cheese system.
“It was a unique and nostalgic idea for a restaurant,” Patterson said. “I liked that it was vegetarian-friendly.”
Like The Fix, The Blind Pig also offers macaroni and cheese — and so much more.
“Normally when someone comes in looking for The Fix, I tell them we have mac n’ cheese or I ask them to look at our menu because we have a variety of dishes, from sandwiches to tacos to rice bowls,” Jonathan said.
For their restaurant, Brandon and Jonathan knew they wanted a barbecue focus, but they felt it was necessary to represent their Asian heritage in their cooking.
“We’re Chinese, so we use our Chinese roots in our food,” Jonathan said. “Our barbecue is an American traditional style, but we cook it Asian style.”
Kyle Gabbard, an employee at Caffe Luce, has become a regular customer in the short time the restaurant has been up and running.
“Everything I’ve tried here is great,” Gabbard said. “The price point is right, it’s definitely affordable. I feel like this is the best barbecue on this street since I’ve been around.”
The Blind Pig’s signature dish is the Char-Siu Burger — a Chinese pork barbecue method, Jonathan said. “A little sweet, a little salty, a perfect balance. We wanted to implement that into a burger.”
According to Jonathan, The Blind Pig also offers an environment that the rest of bars and restaurants on University Boulevard don’t.
“Places like No Anchovies, Frog & Firkin, Illegal Pete’s — it gets pretty rowdy in there,” Jonathan said. “We wanted something opposite of that.”
Among other reasons, Gabbard enjoys The Blind Pig because it is a place where you can hang out and relax.
“It has a really cool vibe. It’s definitely a homey feel for me,” Gabbard said. “It’s like a garage-esque feel. There are motorcycles around and it is kind of a dark, comfortable spot.”
The Blind Pig also offers BOGO deals on different days and weekends. To learn more, follow The Blind Pig on Facebook and Instagram.
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