For 15 years, John Hamilton has cooked up savory barbecue and sweet treats under the simple and descriptive name Pig & Pie. Hamilton, who has maintained a catering business for two decades, is poised to open a new bricks-and-mortar location (the third for Pig & Pie) at 336 White Bridge Road, the former home of Hot Kabobs. He hopes to throw open his doors around the first week in March.
A trained pastry chef who grew up in his family's restaurant in Jackson, Tenn., Hamilton opened the first Pig & Pie at Charlotte and River Road in 1999. (In the early days, his partners included Fate Thomas Jr., son of the legendary Davidson County sheriff — and sometime inmate — Fate Thomas Sr. The business was called "Fate's Pig & Pie," but Hamilton eventually bought out his partners and the "Fate" was dropped.)
Later, the Charlotte building was taken over by Brewhouse West, and Hamilton seized a chance for low overhead by moving Pig & Pie to the troubled Bellevue Center, which has since closed.
"We did great there," he says. "Good rent, huge kitchen. I was the last person to leave."
Catering kept him busy, especially when he discovered a niche that he calls recession-proof: college athletics. He's had gigs cooking for both athletes and fans. "I like doing stuff for them. They're fun to be around."
He adds, "The baseball and basketball teams are so polite — 'Yes sir,' and 'thanks.' Those boys are used to Subway and then they get pork tenderloin and green bean casserole."
But Hamilton and his wife Jackie always wanted another cafe — they just had to find the right location. He says they've been parking the pink Pig & Pie van outside the building on White Bridge Road for a while and many fans have stopped by.
"It's West Nashville — a lot of our people are there, but it's still close to the hospitals and downtown for catering," he says.
At least initially, Hamilton expects to operate on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. He plans to offer plenty of things for commuters to pick up for dinner, like whole smoked chickens and to-go portions of his 13 daily vegetables, as well as desserts.
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