Located at 314 West 11th Street in the West Village, The Spotted Pig is a laid-back gastro-pub with an Italian twist. For the uninitiated, the gastro-pub was invented in England, and it is exactly what the name implies: a pub that serves food. Co-owners Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield have succeeded in retaining the casual atmosphere of a traditional gastro-pub while elevating the standard pub fare to the level of sophistication that has earned Bloomfield two Michelin Stars.

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Owners April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman. Photo courtesy of Yahoo Food

The Pig was born after Friedman, a well-known music biz exec who for a time managed The Smiths and UB40, consulted with long-time friend and food luminary, Mario Batali about opening a restaurant. Soon, influenced by the time he spent in England managing  bands, Friedman hit upon the idea of opening an updated American gastro-pub. He found interested investors among music industry friends, and tapped celebrity British chef April Bloomfield to helm the kitchen and share in ownership of the restaurant. The Spotted Pig opened its doors in 2004, and soon became a favorite among locals and foodies from around the city who just wanted a place to relax, have a craft beer or three, and chow down on some delicious and hearty pub grub. For the last 12 years, that’s exactly what The Spotted Pig has been.

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Image courtesy of mrandmrsromance.com

Since then, Friedman and Bloomfield have set their sights on new casual dining heights, opening the Michelin rated Breslin Bar and Dining Room , and Salvation Taco at Pod 39 Hotel. Earlier this year, the dynamic duo opened Salvation Burger at Pod 51. All of these spots have received good reviews and are worth a visit, but they won’t take the place of the West Village’s beloved gastro-pub for good, simple food in a casual atmosphere.

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The chargrilled burger with fries. Photo courtesy of foodsmackdown.com

Standout dishes include the chargrilled burger with roquefort cheese (they’re generous with the cheese, so if you aren’t a fan of bold cheeses, stay away). The beef is of the highest quality, and each burger is juicy and chargrilled to perfection. The dish also comes with savory shoestring fries sprinkled with rosemary.

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Ricotta gnudi. Photo courtesy of seriouseats.com

The ricotta gnudi are flavorful, rich and buttery, and the pork belly is succulent and prepared perfectly. Bloomfield is particularly lauded for her salad creations, and for good reason. There are currently three salads on the dinner menu, and each is creative, fresh and tasty. The pub offers a large selection of pub-inspired appetizers, like zesty deviled eggs, or chicken liver toast (which many have found to be a revelation).

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Roasted carrot and avocado salad. Photo courtesy of smithratliff.com

The Spotted Pig also boasts an epic wine list and a wide variety of desserts.

Remember, this place might have a Michelin Star, but it’s also a real pub, so don’t hold your breath waiting for the maître d with the pencil thin mustache. The Spotted Pig is just a great, relaxed neighborhood place to stop in for an exceptional brunch, lunch, or dinner. Happy Eating!