Black Pig opens in Elkhart Lake
By Eric Mathes
Eric Mathes photo
Greeting customers inside the Black Pig is the restaurant’s mascot, Mario Pigletti, who was named with help of a Facebook contest.

After opening doors in April at the site of the famous Elkhart Inn, the Black Pig has been busy integrating itself into a new community and learning about its local area customers.

“We are very excited to be in Elkhart Lake,” said owner Rob Hurrie. With many years of restaurant experience, Hurrie originally opened New York on 8th in Sheboygan and currently operates the Black Pig’s Sheboygan location.

While operating restaurants in the Sheboygan area for many years, Hurrie noticed the runoff of race teams and clients from Road America throughout the year.

So when the opportunity arose to open a restaurant in the small but busy tourist town, Hurrie jumped at the opportunity to carve out his own niche in the area.

“This town has it figured out and I enjoy being here,” Hurrie said. “With an influx of tourists, especially during the summer season, every eatery provides customers with a different dining experience. We are excited about bringing our own talents and style into that mix.”

Before the Elkhart Lake location was anything more than an idea, its was obvious to Hurrie that the small community provided more than just a seasonal opportunity.

“As a business owner, you can’t expect to survive on only three months a year,” he said. “What’s great about Elkhart Lake is the incredible amount of local support for new businesses from both the community and other business owners. It’s that kind of support that makes a business able to survive all year round.”

Chefs at the Black Pig put an inviting twist on casual comfort food, using the freshest local ingredients to create exceptional menu items with which guests are often familiar.

When creating everything from their signature pork and beef chili to entrees such as the Berkshire pork ragout, the chefs at Black Pig source ingredients as local as possible and prepare everything that gets served.

“Our kitchen is very labor intensive,” Hurrie said. “Using fresh ingredients to create all of the items on our menu, we spend hours preparing and are very proud of what we serve to our customers. It’s important to touch the ingredients, to learn where they are from, and support local suppliers. We need local support to keep our business going, and we need to do the same to support locally. It’s one hand that feeds the other.”

Hurrie takes pride in everything that comes out of the kitchen and knows that the Black Pig puts a personal stamp on everything they create, because it is all made fresh in the kitchen.

Making drinks a local experience

When creating his food menu, Hurrie realized he needed to take the same local approach with his drink options as well.

“We are going to focus our beer, wine, and spirits on being as domestic as possible,” he said.

With a growing craft beer industry in the U. S., Hurrie is looking to make the rest of the wine and spirits offered at the Black Pig more domestic as well.

He said, “When we looked at how we were creating our food menu and where our ingredients were coming from, we realized it was just as important to take the same approach with our drinks as well.”

Creating a unique experience

As you walk into the front entrance at the newly opened Black Pig restaurant, guests are greeted by a robust Berkshire Pig sculpture, which is the first sign that guests are in for a unique experience.

“Having a successful restaurant is about making an impression on your customers,” Hurrie said. “People eat out everyday and they have lot of options to do so, especially in Elkhart Lake.”

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