WORCESTER – Bacon on your sandwich; bacon on a burger; bacon on some chips, and fries, and oysters; even bacon in your beverage! At the Hangover Pub they’re making a whole lot of bacon, and customers can’t get enough.
Brand new to Worcester, the Hangover Pub is New England’s first Bacon Gastropub, a restaurant that is completely and totally devoted to bacon, and Owner Jay Grey is proud of it.
“People try to hide behind doors and act like they don’t like bacon, but every time they go out and eat food, everyone wants bacon on it. Let’s not hide from it. Let’s be proud of our addiction to bacon and let’s use it all across the entire menu.”
The man putting bacon into just about everything coming out of the kitchen is Executive Chef Michael Arrastia.
“We love bacon. Everyone loves it. It really doesn’t matter if you wrap it around something, if you put it in a sauté dish, if you candy it, if you turn it into a foam, and that’s what we’re showing. Bacon’s pretty versatile.”
When you use bacon in almost every dish, you go through a whole lot of it. At The Hangover Pub, it’s more than a thousand pounds a week, all made in house with pork that’s sourced from local farms, cured with salt, pepper, brown sugar, and maple syrup, and then smoked over Applewood for six hours.
“It’s delicious. It’s fatty. It’s salty. It’s flavorful. And I think it’s great and I wanted to make sure we perfected it and did it the best way possible,” Jay said.
Bacon studded appetizers range from elegant to indulgent. There’s a Chef’s Board with meats, cheeses, and bacon jam; Pork Belly and Goat Cheese Rangoon with a soy-fig drizzle; and addictive Smoked Parmesan and Bacon Potato Chips.
“We fry the chips, but, as we fry the chips I have another pan going with butter, shallots, bacon fat and a little bacon,” Chef Mike explained. “Then we toss the chips from there, into the pan, toss it in the bacon, the fat, the shallots, the butter, and then I toss it with smoked serrano, smoked paprika, and parmesan cheese.”
Bacon on top of potato chips may seem like a natural combination, but Chef Mike has even found ways to infuse bacon into more upscale applications, like atop fresh shucked oysters.
“Oysters are delicate, so I wanted to make the bacon delicate. Bacon is not so delicate, so I figured out if I can take the bacon and turn it into foam, into bubbles, then it wouldn’t disrupt the elegant taste of the oysters.”
For pure unadulterated bacon bliss, the dish you absolutely must order is the one called Man Candy.
“Man candy is thick slices of our house made bacon, candied with brown sugar and maple syrup, and then it’s served in a martini glass with more maple syrup for you to dip it in,” Mike explained.
“We blow torch it right before it comes out to your table, so it’s nice and crispy, salty, sugary, absolutely incredible,” Jay continued.
The bacon parade continues with entrees like Red Velvet Chicken and Waffles with a bourbon bacon maple reduction, or if you’re craving a burger, their gourmet version has everything you’re looking for.
“Sweet, salty, smoky, savory. I went right for Wagyu beef. It’s very, very juicy,” Mike said. “We hand make them here, and then we serve them with a big thick slab of local bleu cheese, and it goes with bacon jam, two thick slices of bacon and baby kale on a brioche bun.”
Another flavor stacked sandwich is the Fried Chicken Po’ Boy.
“We do southern style breading with lots of southern spice in it. And then we deep fry that, and it goes on a locally made French baguette, and the chicken is dipped in a chipotle, agave, cilantro glaze. And then it goes with house quick-pickled vegetables, cilantro, bacon, and then also bacon mayo,” listed Chef Mike.
If for some reason you want a break from all that bacon, there are a few options, including some serious Steak Frites, with chimichurri, truffle fries, and absolutely no bacon what-so-ever.
“We wanted to be able to give a nod here and there to be able to incorporate themselves into our vision without having to be overwhelmed with bacon,” Jay said. “I think we’re overwhelming a lot of people which is what we wanted to do at the end of the day, but we wanna make sure that people have an avenue to go if that’s not the direction they wanna go in.”
Getting back to the bacon, it even makes its way into dessert, whether it’s crumbled atop the Maple Glazed Zeppoli or on the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes.
“Sweet, salty, just the different flavors bouncing around in your mouth, and at the end of the day when people order those cupcakes, you know they’re leaving happy,” Jay said. “That’s what the Hangover Pub’s all about. We’re bringing high quality food at an affordable price, and we’re making people happy doing what we wanna do.”
You can find the Hangover Pub at 102 Green Street in Worcester, and online at thehangoverpub.com.
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