The Piggery on Centerstage Chicago

Piggyback ride to where Lakeview and North Center merge and uncover The Piggery: much like your favorite steakhouse with a bar, only with oinkers as the focus. The menu here serves as a Valen-swine's Day card to pig lovers throughout, with choices like pulled pork sandwiches and the "best ribs in town." The site of the restaurant was known locally for ribs, so the folks behind this establishment carried over the tradition.

Inside, the vibe mocks a sports bar with an upbeat twist. Station yourself on chairs and tables soaring over hardwood floors, or huddle up on the chocolate leather banquettes along amber walls void of hangings. Flat screens zip the room, broadcasting all major sporting events, and track lights shine in strawberry hues.

Unlike corner bars with leery-eyed butches, the clientele here pay absolutely no attention to the door, too focused on the game, so everyone slips in fine. A romantic prospect made my company; and while the cheering and table slapping didn't exactly have me rolling around in the mud, my Hawks-fan beau appeared into it. Actually, quite a few tables encompassed pairs of guys with their girlfriends along for the hayride.

Sarah, our server, offered genuine smiles, running over the beer menu, ensuring we sampled an exciting brew and sharing her favorite entrees. She raves of the old-fashioned meatloaf. Pork patties with maple syrup make for an awesome side. Prefer a light treat with a pop? The in-house specialty firecrackers work (cream-cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapenos). Thinking outside of the pigpen? Blackened tilapia or a juicy burger might work in this case.

Average cost: $10-$20

Piggery Tape