Anyone who has been in Baton Rouge for more than a few months has likely visited or at least heard about City Pork restaurants, whether it’s City Pork Brasserie and Bar, the LSU location or one of the associated restaurants, City Slice and Rouj Creole.
But there’s one relatively new addition to the dynasty that could be easily overlooked — the catering and events location on Government Street.
The spot, which opened earlier this year in the former Mid City location of Twine, is on a popular stretch of Government Street next to Pop Shop Records and across from French Truck Coffee. With “catering and events” in the name, however, it’s easy to miss that the location offers weekday lunches and take-home dinners.
The spot offers full-service catering, business box lunches and cochon de lait, but the dine-in lunches can’t be missed.
I visited City Pork Catering recently for a Friday afternoon lunch. The dining area was modest in size and casual — perfect for a quick bite to eat. There were a few tables indoors and a couple outside, but they were mostly empty during our trip. Next to the register there's a long deli-like fridge filled with side dishes and charcuterie fixings to go.
The location is a plus for me because it's near my normal stomping grounds and I can avoid the campus traffic of the LSU location. I would just recommend to park in the side lot rather than in front because of the Government Street traffic.
After some deliberation, I settled on “The Big Pig” sandwich ($11), which was overflowing with pulled pork, coleslaw and barbecue sauce on a Brioche bun. Instead of house made chips, I ordered a cup of shrimp and corn soup for a slight upcharge ($3).
While I wouldn’t pick the soup again, the sandwich was perfect. There was plenty of barbecue sauce, so the pulled pork wasn’t dry. The coleslaw complemented the meat instead of overpowering it, which I too often find to be the case elsewhere.
My friend Jake, a lover of City Pork's Cubano sandwich, wanted to try something different, so he ordered the roasted eggplant sandwich ($10). The seasoning on the eggplant was flavorful, but I felt like the dish was missing a kick to take it from good to great.
On the side, he ordered a beautiful salad topped with bacon, blue cheese crumbles and a pepper jelly vinaigrette. I wish I had followed his lead with that over the shrimp and corn soup.
To round out our table, my friend Brooks picked the brisket sandwich ($14) and the side of mac 'n' cheese, which stole the show. To quote him: “You know, I never order mac 'n' cheese, but this has converted me.”
You know how some mac 'n' cheese is so heavy that you feel like you need to be rolled out? Yeah, City Pork's dish wasn’t that, but in a wonderfully pleasant way. The noodles were so well coated in cheese that it could virtually melt in your mouth — while still allowing you to walk out of the restaurant.
The woman who took our orders at the register mentioned that the location is reworking its menu. If I could make a few suggestions for them, here’s what I would say.
First, put the mac 'n' cheese front and center. When I think of barbecue, I think of the dish as a go-to side. Second, “The Big Pig” should definitely stay, but I’m not so sure about the roasted eggplant sandwich.
The prices were fair for a weekday lunch when you need to get out of the office.
City Pork Catering and Events shares menu items with it's other locations, sure, but it's in a more casual and grab-and-go environment.
In addition to lunches, City Pork Catering offers meals and sides to go. Here's where I think this spot really stands out from its sibling restaurants. Barbecue and sides for two people costs $25, and packages with enough food for four people costs $45. While I haven’t yet tried this deal, it’s definitely on my radar for the next time I need a quick meal on the way home from work.
City Pork Catering and Events
2921 Government Street
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
(225) 372-2127; facebook.com/cityporkcatering
Pros: Location is central; prices are reasonable; offers convenient take-home meals.
Cons: Parking in the front can be a bit hectic with Government Street traffic.