José Andrés is opening a jamón-themed speakeasy in Chicago, where the dishes – and even some cocktails – will include the meat

José Andrés
The restaurant, Pigtail, is set to open on October 15. ThinkFoodGroup
  • José Andrés is opening a jamón-themed cocktail bar and restaurant in Chicago.
  • The dishes – and even some of the cocktails – will include the Spanish dry-cured meat.
  • Menu items include fried pig ears and snouts with rey silo cheese foam.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

José Andrés is opening a cocktail bar and restaurant in Chicago dedicated to Spanish jamón, a type of dry-cured ham.

The dishes, as well as some cocktails, will feature jamón, per a press release from Andrés’ company, ThinkFoodGroup.

This includes a cocktail with pork consomé, palo cortado and amontillado sherries, and egg foam on top.

Other signatures include the Negroni Cristal, which consists of ibérico ham fat-washed gin, blanc vermouth, and Luxardo Bitter Bianco.

The fast-wash is a technique that involves infusing the gin with ham fat at room temperature, then freezing it, for the fat to eventually separate and be scooped out – leaving the gin with savory elements of the Ibérico.

Pigtail
Even some of the restaurant’s cocktails will include jamón. ThinkFoodGroup

The restaurant, Pigtail, is set to open on October 15 in a basement lounge under one of Andrés’ Jaleo restaurants in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.

Dishes range from La Croqueta de Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (a jamón and béchamel fritter) to Orejas Y Morros Fritos (fried pig ears and snouts with rey silo cheese foam) and a Foie Gras Terrine with Ibérico de Bellota.

It’s not just the menu that’s pig-themed. The restaurant’s pink and black decor will also pay tribute to the animal, including curly pigtails on the walls and flying pigs on the mirrors, per the press release.

Pigtail
Pigtail has a pink and black interior. ThinkFoodGroup

“I absolutely love the speakeasy bar scene in Chicago,” Andrés said in the press release. “We’re combining two of my favorite things: jamón and cocktails! It’s going to be a fun destination to start or end your night.”

The decision to pick a jamón-inspired restaurant out of all the different foods available was to honor Andrés’ Spanish roots and showcase the country’s crowning achievement in ham sourced from black Iberian pigs. “The pigs roam free in the Spanish countryside, feasting on acorns over fall and winter,” ThinkFoodGroup told Insider.

“The acorns’ fattiness contributes a rich, fatty flavour, transforming these pigs [into] the finest animals in the world,” it added.

While the menu will primarily be meat-heavy, vegetarians will also be able to dine at the restaurant where the team will happily whip up dishes with adapted menu items.

Andrés said he predominantly envisions Pigtail as a cocktail bar with smaller dishes since it is beneath his Jaleo restaurant where most guests will be able to get a full sit-down meal upstairs.

He opened the River North Jaleo restaurant in July, the chain’s fifth so far. Jaleo’s Spanish-inspired menu includes paella, tapas, and seafood dishes.

Pigtail will not be Andrés’ only themed restaurant. The company said he plans to open two more concepts in Chicago later this year called Bazaar Meat and Bar Mar, located along the Chicago River in the Bank of America building.

José and ThinkFoodGroup will also be launching the first international location of Jaleo in Dubai in 2022 in addition to opening two restaurants in New York at the soon to open Ritz-Carlton New York, Nomad.