Good friends and seasoned chefs, Andrew Elliott and Jimmy Ellis, decided to follow their dreams and put their years of culinary experience to the test by opening The Inked Pig.
The two plan to officially open their restaurant, which is located at the old Foothills Barbecue on 893 Main St. SW in Gainesville, on Saturday, Feb. 2.
“We’ve been in the cooking industry for some time,” Elliott said. “We had no doubts in our cooking abilities and we wanted to give it a shot. We were tired of working for somebody else. We wanted to do it our style and put our twist on it, using our flavors.”
Elliott, who served in the U.S. Army for six years, said he first met Ellis right out of culinary school.
The two worked at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort in 2010, and quickly became friends. They later cooked at other fine-dining restaurants around Atlanta until they made the decision to purchase the former Foothills Barbecue building on Dec. 20, 2018.
Elliott said the name The Inked Pig was inspired by their own love of tattoos and barbecue.
“Jimmy got me into barbecue,” he said. “There’s nothing more pure than cooking over a fire.”
Ellis said growing up he had always cooked with his father, and his first job in high school was at a barbecue restaurant.
Over the years Ellis talked with his dad about opening a small barbecue restaurant once his father reached retirement.
“Unfortunately, he passed away in March,” Ellis said. “This is kind of living out that dream that he and I had. So, a lot of this, from my point of view, is going to be dedicated to him.”
With Ellis having 22 years of culinary experience, and Elliott having 11, the two aim to bring different flavor profiles to barbecue.
Ellis said instead of cooking a Texas-style brisket, the two will make a Mexican barbacoa brisket.
The chefs plan on having a rotational menu, featuring local farmers and seasonal ingredients.
Some of the meat entrees on the upcoming menu include smoked pork butt, St. Louis cut ribs, barbacoa smoked beef brisket and sweet tea smoked chicken. They will also offer specialty dishes like the Train Wreck, which consists of creamy mac and cheese, charred jalapeno, house pickles and crispy shallots.
The Inked Pig will start off as a lunch restaurant, opening from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. It will later transition into providing Sunday brunch and dinner hours.
Ellis said the evening menu will give customers the opportunity to try small plates of items not on the menu.
The restaurant will additionally sell house-made deli meats, bacon, desserts and pies from Southern Baked Pie Company in Gainesville.
During the summer the restaurant will host events in its outside seating area. Ellis said they plan to have low country boils and live music.
Throughout the last couple of weeks, the co-owners have painted and stripped away most of the building’s old interior, and added their own rustic-industrial flare.
They’re currently converting rusted chicken feeders into light fixtures.
“It’s a lot of work and remodeling,” Elliott said. “We’re doing away with the old and bringing in the new, while still keeping the historical aspect.”
Elliott said the building was originally the first drive-thru in Gainesville. He intends to keep the drive-thru window and use it as a pickup area for people outside.
By opening The Inked Pig to the residents of Hall County, the two said they hope to bring a family-friendly experience where people can relax and eat good food.
“When you take them a dish and you know you put your heart and soul into it, and they’re just blown away. That’s the best thing about it.”
The Inked Pig is now hiring. To apply for a position contact the owners at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the restaurant at 893 Main St. SW. For more information about The Inked Pig, check out the restaurant’s Facebook page.