Celebrating 40 Years of Chez Piggy

By Kate Farrell

With the bustle of the culinary scene in Kingston, it takes a restaurant at the top of its game to keep the love of the community, and their taste buds, coming back to the table. One restaurant has been doing that for 40 years, Chez Piggy. This year marks the 40th anniversary since Rose Richardson and Zal Yanovsky transformed an abandoned limestone stable (from 1808!) into the iconic foodie haven it is today, paving the way for the chic downtown we all love now. Always filled with laughs, creativity, and a joie de vivre, it’s a true reflection of its founders, and they’re making sure their 40th year is a big one.

Chez Piggy has always been famous for their atmosphere of family and community. “I can’t tell you how many people — both staff and customers — have said that the Pig feels like coming home,” says the owner, Zoe Yanovsky, daughter of Rose and Zal. From the beginning, the business has been family owned and operated, and that family-based ethos extends to all the staff. “Our amazing staff have had incredible longevity, and have always seemed to claim the restaurant as their own. Our customers know them by name, and we know theirs.”

Whether you’ve enjoyed drinks on their cobblestone patio or cozied up in the rustic chic dining area, you know that Chez Piggy is always serving up a menu inspired by world travels, made from only fresh, local produce. Zoe remembers her parents wanting to bring things that were new to their diners, drawing from French, Spanish, and Mediterranean influences. In their words, it’s “simple abundance” at its best. The legendary team of chef Richard Nicholas, Reyna Belsham, Matt Allen and Mitch Wheeler are carrying on the flavours of Chez Piggy’s founders — while adding some new signature dishes to stay relevant in the ever-thriving Kingston foodie scene. They do it all while they keep true to the founder’s simple desire: to create a place where people could come together, share great food, and make memories.

When I asked Zoe and the General Manager, Lisa Winn (who has been with the Pig for almost 28 years), what has changed they said, “Strangely, nothing and everything!” With the vibrant food scene in Kingston, they know that their reputation as the best can be lost quickly. “You are only as good as your last meal, so each day is brand new.” This dedication to their diners is one of the things that makes the Pig such a special place.

Lisa said about the success of the restaurant, “The food, the staff, the passion to want it to be great. As much as things have changed, and must change, there is a vibe you get when you walk in our restaurant. It welcomes you with the fragrance of the wood fire or the distinctive aroma of spices sizzling in a pan…and if we do our jobs right they are equally amazed by our great food and service.”

It’s been 40 years of legendary cuisine, experiences, and community at Chez Piggy; along with the extension, Pan Chancho, from its 1994 location on Johnson to its beautiful 10,000 square foot location on Princess in 2002. Both famous for the joy they bring, and the staff that treats you like family when you walk in, not to mention the mouth-watering food made from scratch daily. So you can imagine, it’s hard to celebrate with just one event! The solution? Amazing events throughout the year to celebrate 40 years. Call it the ultimate feast or a year-long party — either way, 2019 is the year of the Pig! Here are the ways to join the celebration!

Forty Years Strong

Rolling out the festivities on February 6 is “The PIG XL,” the official day the Pig is turning 40! It’s an anniversary you’re not going to forget. Chef Rich Nicholas is offering a delicious five-course tasting menu focusing on the tases and direction of Chez Piggy today, with some notes from the past. There are only 50 spots available for this feast so call the restaurant to get your tickets before they’re gone.

6:30 pm, $150 per person (including tax and gratuity), by reservation only

The Ruby Dinner

Whether you go with friends or a significant other to this Valentine’s Day feast, let’s be real, the food is going to be your love for the night (and we’re not mad about it). The 40th anniversary of Chez Piggy is known as the Ruby Anniversary, and in honour of 40 years of love, they are preparing a delicious 4-course menu for you and your number one.

$60 per person

Family Day Brunch

It’s hard to think about Chez Piggy without thinking of the tight-knit family they’ve created. Not only in the restaurant but in the Kingston community as a whole, celebrate that family with your own with their special Family Day Brunch on February 18th.

10 am–3 pm, closed for dinner.

Forty & Freezing

The most surprising thing about this anniversary? The fact that they’ve gotten through 40 Kingston winters! The secret is to embrace them with open arms (and beer and food). Warm up from the lovely winter wind and head to Chez Piggy’s courtyard fundraiser in support of The Zal and Rose Yanovsky Breakfast Fund, an endowment fund that gives financial assistance to school breakfast programs. There will be delicious, juicy, grilled sausages, MacKinnon Brothers beer and Top Shelf Distillers mixed drinks to keep you, and your stomach, nice and warm.

$5 Mixed Drinks, $5 grill items

Smokin’ in the Bar

Chez Piggy is bringing back the days when they had a smoking section of the restaurant, except this time the only smoke will be from delicious smoked bar items; served up family style thanks to an amazing Meat Your Maker pop up event downstairs in the bar!

Tickets $45 per person, one seating at 6:30 pm

Make sure to check out Chez Piggy’s website and Facebook page for how to reserve your tickets, and for more information on all 40 years of this amazing Kingston gem.