Restaurant of the Week: This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef

Julie Besonen

Calling hole-in-the-wall This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef a "restaurant" is baloney (there's no seating). The décor consists of a pickle jar, three wooden counters, rolls of paper towels and a wall plastered with good-luck greenbacks. If it weren't for the catchy name, it might go unnoticed, another one of those tiny East Village eateries that come and go. On the menu are just three beef-based sandwiches and the occasional beef stew special. That's it -- unless you count battered, hand-cut fries ($3), surprisingly delicious potato salad with minced vegetables ($3) and a couple of other picnic-style sides (cole slaw and macaroni salad, also $3 each). What got me in the door, other than the name, was learning that the guys behind it were Francis Garcia and Sal Basille of Artichoke Pizza -- my hands-down favorite slice shop in town. At This Little Piggy they've teamed up with William Gallagher, and the stream of customers (mostly guys) hasn't stopped since they opened in February. In March they started staying open until 4 a.m. to accommodate everybody. Old-timey music helps ease the wait for your sandwich and prices are pretty old-timey, too. Roast beef "this way" is $4.50, a pile of slow-cooked meat on a soft roll dripping with au jus and Cheez Whiz. Roast beef "that way" is $6.50, a massive hero with fresh mozzarella, soaked through with gravy, kind of like a French dip that's already been dipped. Pastrami is "the other thing," the rosy, peppered slices of meat falling out of rye bread slicked with mustard and topped with tangy cole slaw. It's $6.50, less than half the price at Katz's. They're all a juicy mess. By keeping it simple and holding down costs, This Little Piggy seems here to stay.
This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef
149 First Ave.
East Village
(212) 253-1500

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