The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeois Pig Café in Chicago

Bourgeois Pig in Chicago, Illinois
Bourgeois Pig café interior
Bourgeois Pig Café, Chicago, Illinois – Photo: Katerina Papathanasiou/The Vale Magazine

As far as American cafés go, the Bourgeois Pig is in a class all its own. It sprang from humble beginnings in 1993 when a 28-year-old traveler named F. Mason Green, who after years of backpacking through Europe and visiting many of the continent’s most fabled coffeehouses, plopped down just enough money to secure his own café upon his return. And it’s been a Chicago institution ever since. But despite this popular haunt’s ubiquity to the Windy City, the Bourgeois Pig was no impulse buy.

Green thought long and hard about where to land his dream business—after all, even at the time, cafés were everywhere in the US, especially San Francisco, where he was living and waiting tables. What was one more? Still entertaining visions of the grandiose hotspots he’d sipped and strolled through while abroad, Green considered opening up his dream spot in his hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona (but that heat!) until a friend suggested Chicago.

Green concurred and, after a visit to the iconic Lincoln Park neighborhood, instantly fell in love.

Not to be compared to other neighboring establishments, the Bourgeois Pig is—and remains—a throwback to yesteryear. The business is situated within two historic shared Victorian row houses and manages to retain all of its original, old-fashioned charm. The warm interiors are inviting and stately, while the décor is outfitted with a curious collection of genuine antique accouterments. And owing to their contemporary surrounding and modern-minded patrons, a large dual-level outdoor patio has been installed, offering perfect opportunities for people-watching.

Bourgeois Pig Café patio
Bourgeois Pig Café, Chicago, Illinois – Photo: Katerina Papathanasiou/The Vale Magazine
Bourgeois Pig Café second floor decoration details
Bourgeois Pig Café, Chicago, Illinois – Photo: Katerina Papathanasiou/The Vale Magazine
Bourgeois Pig Café interior décor details
Bourgeois Pig Café, Chicago, Illinois – Photo: Katerina Papathanasiou/The Vale Magazine
One of Bourgeois Pig's room on the second floor
Bourgeois Pig Café, Chicago, Illinois – Photo: Katerina Papathanasiou/The Vale Magazine

But most importantly—the food. While offering gourmet coffee and tea has always been the main goal here, the Bourgeois Pig is also famous for its contemporary fare, including salads and sandwiches that are all named after well-known literary titles (like the Great Gatsby Panini!).

The Bourgeois Pig sits at 738 W Fullerton Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. They are available for online ordering and pick-up.