Charles Walpole and Rene Gutierrez opened Blind Pig Bistro in late 2011, writing a new chapter in the unlikely culinary history of a strip mall storefront in Eastlake. Now the two are expanding next door, taking over the former Eastlake Teriyaki and turning it into a lunch spot, slightly more casual but with the same daily-changing, offbeat, and hyperseasonal ethos that makes Blind Pig one of my favorites.
Blind Pig at Eastlake Teriyaki (the guys are planning to keep the previous occupant’s no-frills signage out front out of respect to the teriyaki joint's decades in the neighborhood) will open, hopefully, in July. The release these gents sent out this morning promises weekday lunch and dinner from 11 to 9 and soups, salads, and sandwiches designed to be takeout-friendly. The space also seats nearly 20 people.
"Eastlake is really into takeaway food," says Walpole. Customers at Blind Pig kept asking about takeout, which the tiny kitchen wasn't equipped to provide. The Eastlake Teriyaki space won't have any kind of table service; diners will place their order at the counter and grab food as it's called.
Gutierrez will run things over here; while he's mostly a front-of-house guy these days, he has a culinary background and does helm the kitchen at Blind Pig on a regular basis. Walpole promises the same eclectic style of food, just in a more casual format, and perhaps with a dash more Mexican influence courtesy of Gutierrez.
Walpole and Gutierrez have also taken on a new partner: Walpole's former Marjorie cohort Ben Sherwood will run the front of house over at the original Blind Pig. Sherwood also happens to be a damn fine bartender. Unfortunately Blind Pig is too small for a full-on cocktail program, but Walpole says phase two of their grand plan is to build a bar in the new space, so Blind Pig at Eastlake Teriyaki can serve as an adjunct bar to the original Blind Pig. That tantalizing develoment, he cautions, is probably a year away.