I am partaking in a journey where I will appraise every non-franchise restaurant in town and review their food as well as their service. It is an attempt to expand my mind and appetite. Simultaneously, I will also be taking what I learn from these establishments and attempting to remake them with my extremely limited skill.
The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House holds the distinction of having without a doubt the coolest name of any restaurant ever. If I had a child, I would name it that. And I actually can. It’s illegal to name a child Anus in Denmark, but The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House, go right ahead.
It wasn’t the best day for a lunch, dropping eighteen degrees in a span of six hours, snowing profusely, and I just came off one of the fastest friend-acceptance-to-un-friend-status-changes ever on Facebook. I admit being a little burned by that. As I typed the initial words of this review, I was still marooned in my Evo, as once again I miscalculated The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House’s hours of operation, remaining stuck outside in anticipation of its lunch service. I was parked outside the Pastry Chef Bakery across the street, all the while hearing my stomach rumble loader then the roaring heaters fans, staring at a bizarre sign outside the door which indicated that cell phones weren’t allowed.
Wait, seriously? The Pastry Chef doesn’t allow cell phones? Does the building fly? Do cell phones interfere with the ovens in some way? What kind of arrogant rationale could these owners possibly have? Can they reserve that right? Of course. Should they, only if they stubbornly refuse let go of their 8-track or listen to dead air on their radio hoping for Paul Harvey to return from the grave. I get annoyed seeing prohibited cell-phone signs at gas stations, considering that there’s zero chance a cell phone can result in detonation. If the owners of The Pastry Chef think talking on cell phones is rude, let me share with them a useful business strategy: Get used to it.
The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House is not located in the best part of town, earning criticism I’m sure from the city’s defenders. If any place needed to a makeover, it’s George Street, showing its age like a geriatric prostitute. The issue isn’t as much that it’s rundown, only dated. Canadian towns share a common look if they have less than 5,000 people. The buildings are all made of wood and are painted different colors. They are all at different heights and half of them have grates covering their windows. Shops are intermixed with community centers and soup kitchens. What’s bizarre about Prince George is that streets like George refused to adapt to the surrounding developments after its population passed 10,000. Drive twenty seconds in any direction and the city advances 50 years.
So to say that The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House stands out is an understatement on scale with Carrie having a menstrual problem. This place bleeds character…oh god, I just realized how inappropriate that metaphor was following the preceding sentence. Regardless, The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House—and yes I have no plans on abbreviating that—is more suited to being on a boardwalk fringing ocean tides. Everyone who works here should have an Irish accent. I don’t care if it’s faked. I was impressed at the small number of LCD TVs hanging from the walls, only one my from vantage. As per the apparent mandatory restaurant decor guidebook, the ceiling is exposed, the wood is unpainted, and I found myself sitting on a bench without a cushion. But let’s push that aside for now, The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House is one of the best looking restaurants of its type, but what type is it? It’s not a pub, but it has a bar twice as long as my car. It does bare a resemblance to Nancy O’s but with a slightly higher budget. Everything looks custom built from wood salvaged from a sunken galleon. This place even smelled of wood, although that could have been coming from smokers at the back.
Walking into The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House must be a vegetarian’s night terror. The menu options embrace its title, protein roasted over flame. I eventually ordered the roasted chicken soup as a start, followed by the beef brisket burnt ends. Not to repeat a mistake I made with my last restaurant, I ensured that whatever I ordered didn’t require me to peel meat off bones with my bare hands and teeth like a Neanderthal pre-ice age. It was different with Shiraz because the bones were more garnishes easily pushed aside. I didn’t have that impression with The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House, so I wanted to ensure its final score wasn’t skewed.
The water was delivered, I shit you not, in a wine bottle alongside an empty glass topped with ice. In an unfortunate case of improper timing, my soup arrived 30 seconds ahead of my burnt ends. The burnt ends were an appetizer, so they came flanked with nothing other than charred pineapple rings. Meat on a plate, but what meat. A crunchy, spicy sauce, probably one of the best samples of beef I’ve ever had. Cokes were served in giant mason jars.
First Shiraz and now this, an incredible lunch experiences begging for a revisit. Can I find fault? Only with its prices, but it’s a mild complaint. The Copper Pig BBQ and Social House promotes groups and social orders, so many dishes are intended to be shared. That being said $20 for a chicken lunch seems a little high. My bill came to $21 with tip and that was technically for two appetizers. And yet I still want to return.
After seeing some of the mains enjoyed by other patrons, my desire to revisit will be hard to resist. For now, this is another recommendation, perhaps staining my reputation as a pessimistic glory whore. So be it.