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Green Pig Bistro Opens in Clarendon

by Katie Pyzyk April 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm 10,453 72 Comments

Green Pig Bistro (1025 N. Fillmore St) opened on Wednesday, and already the restaurant is seeing a steady flow of customers.

Arlington native Scot Harlan owns the restaurant and serves as a chef. His co-chef, Will Sullivan, also hails from Arlington.

Harlan has traveled around the world in an effort to perfect his culinary skills and has worked in kitchens of famed chefs like Gordon Ramsay. He made his way back to the area to work at notable local establishments such as 2941 and Inox, but now wants to try his hand at running a restaurant in the community his family has called home for many years.

“We’ve been here a while and we’ve seen this location change from a Sears parking lot to an area hot for 20 to 30 somethings,” said Harlan.

He said one of the things that will make Green Pig Bistro stand out is that it’s not run by a corporate entity, but instead by a chef-owner. Harlan thinks his desire to keep it simple and let the food shine without experimenting with exotic blends of spices in dishes will keep customers coming back.

“I’ve spent the last 10 years doing tiny, 16 touches on a plate,” Harlan said. “I find more value in not going in that direction. You’re not paying for the paint on the plate, you’re paying for the food and ingredients and our staffing. Not for innovation.”

He likes innovation in cooking techniques, but not in flavor combinations. Harlan believes some classic dishes just shouldn’t be messed with.

“Customers don’t always really dig it,” Harlan said. “It’s just a small percentage of customers looking for something like that. I’m trying to get everybody in here.”

Harlan stresses that the restaurant is an American take on a French bistro. But he wants customers to remember that “bistro” doesn’t mean “small restaurant.” Rather, it connotes a certain theme, such as Green Pig’s “nose-to-tail” cooking, in which all of an animal is used.

The menu will change slightly based on which items are available seasonally. One of the more unique dishes available right now is a “rabbit cake,” which is the Green Pig’s spin on a crab cake. More traditional items, such as hamburgers or steaks, are also available. Harlan’s pastry chef training shines through in simple desserts, such as a donut with chocolate and peanut butter ice cream.

The back of the restaurant houses most of the seating, and patrons can see into the kitchen. The front, which overlooks 11th St N. and Fillmore St, has a bar and a few tables. Harlan believes many customers will like the bar area not just for the food and ambiance, but also because he tries to keep beer prices below those of many nearby establishments.

For now, Green Pig Bistro is only open in the evenings, but the plan is to start serving brunch in about a month. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.

“People think it’s strange to be closed on Tuesdays, but I think it’s strange that people close on Mondays,” Harlan said. “You’ve got many holidays, you’ve got Monday night football.”

Green Pig Bistro’s grand opening party is scheduled for April 17.

  • novasteve

    Duh, is it kosher?

    • Zinger

      Your face is kosher

      • AllenB

        It most certainly is not.

    • geezer

      only in the smoking section

  • Rachel

    I gave it a try for dinner earlier this week. I just didn’t have the best experience in there, as far as the food’s taste that is. Cool Waiter though.

    • But

      According to Yelp it has an average of five star reviews! You can always trust Yelp, right?

      • Tabs

        Ha, interesting isn’t it…I know three of those reviewers. I don’t think they could afford to dine out as often as they do if they weren’t getting a lot for free.

  • nunya

    a donut with chocolate and peanut butter ice cream?

    i’m there.

    • JBalls

      Is the donut made by artisans?

      • geezer

        heirloom handtossed artisanal donuts with organic farm raised peanut hand whipped ice cream in a light glaze

        • nom de guerre

          and infused with sustainable hand fed berkshire pork bacon topped with organic micro greens that allows for the perfect marriage of flavors.

        • Stu

          I’d only eat that if the peanuts were locally sourced and the cream came from cows that were hand milked by maidens at a local family owned dairy.

          • nunya

            And the maidens were truly virginal.

            Speaking of bacon, have you had the Shake n Bake shake at Ray’s to the Third. MMMMM.

    • BlueSkies


    • Good Grief

      Agreed – that looks amazing!

  • Chris

    I like it, but I am not sure about the statement that beer prices are lower than other nearby establishments… its $6 for a beer, which is the same as 3, Circa, Lyon Hall, etc., except those places offer happy hour specials (maybe green pig will as well in the future??)

  • South Awwwlington

    Has anyone been yet??? Rockfish tonight, YUM.

  • drax

    “an area hot for 20 to 30 somethings”

    I lost my appetite.

    • geezer

      I think they meant an area for hot 20 to 30 somethings, Although I’m a hot 50 something hot for 20 to 30 somethings


    Cheaper than normal beer? FRANKTANK

  • I’ll check it out even though everything that’s been posted about this place so far on ArlNow–like quotes from the owners–has been awful.

  • ?

    What quotes have been awful? I’ve seen none.

    • Donut-crafting Artisan from Southe Arlingtowne

      From a Feb 13 Arlnow article about the Green Pig:

      “I’d rather pay for labor and technique than pay for ingredients and glassware. I’m literally buying used plates from places,” Harlan told the Washington Post in November.

      I think I kind of get what he means, but the not paying for ingredients thing still sounds slightly off-putting.

      Maybe the donuts are made in a sweat shop.

      • Sikudhani

        He’s saying that, with the right people in the kitchen, you can make a delicious, quality meal without having to spend a ridiculous amount of money on “premium” ingredients (organic, grass-fed, whatever other buzzwords make people feel better about what they eat).

        And he’s right.

    • “Don’t expect to find loins, micro greens and baby veg here,” the help wanted ad says. “Think sous vide. Think obscure cuts of meat in their finest form — food that is hearty, not heavy; sustainable and with proper technique above all.”

      “I’d rather pay for labor and technique than pay for ingredients and glassware. I’m literally buying used plates from places,”

      the restaurant would feature “sustainable American comfort food with high-quality ingredients and reasonable prices.”

      “I’ve spent the last 10 years doing tiny, 16 touches on a plate,” Harlan said. “I find more value in not going in that direction. You’re not paying for the paint on the plate, you’re paying for the food and ingredients and our staffing. Not for innovation.”

      the soon-to-open restaurant, which promises to serve “obscure” cuts of meat in the style of a rustic French bistro, is looking for “only those with serious food passion.”


      Reading between the lines, it sounds like my kind of restaurant (rustic nose to tail bistro fare), but man… Harlan desperately needs a spokesperson. He’s a walking contradiction and everything he says makes him sound like an ass.

      In one quote he’s all about high quality ingredients, but in the next he’s against high quality ingredients. In one quote he’s tired of making fancy small plate dishes for food snobs, but in the next quote he’s talking sous vide and only hiring staff with food passion as if catering to food snobs.

      There’s just so many buzz words and rhetoric that it all ends up sounding so vacuous.

      • John Fontain

        I liked Harlan’s current comments on his food and his restaurant’s approach, but I did get the feeling that he had changed his tune since his last interview (likely because of people making fun of “locally sourced” etc.).

  • novasteve

    So let me get this straight, they have the universal symbol for tobacco, the indian statue, but you can’t smoke inside it, and I have a huge feeling you can’t smoke outdoors either?

    • Stu

      Maybe if they smoke any of their own meats they’ll let you stand back by the smoker and blow your fumes into it – might give you a discount for helping cook your own meal.

    • Tabs

      Is that a “huge feeling” or is the Indian just happy to see me?

  • Stu

    I’m surprised they didn’t call it Black Dog Bistro given the building it is in.

    • Bob Plant

      I just want a piece of their custard pie.

    • cahill22201

      Boogie with this poster.

  • Tabs

    “You’ve got many holidays, you’ve got Monday night football.”

    Uh, yeah, and people stay home for Monday night football. Or go to sports bars.

    How much restaurant experience do they have? Mondays are dead.

    • Peter

      Uh oh, sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays.

      • Tabs

        Gonna have to have you come in on Saturday!

  • Seriously?

    I don’t mind paying good money for good food but those prices on the menu are ridiculous for a restaurant that isn’t even established yet. Sixteen bucks for a cheeseburger? Twenty bucks for their “plats du jour”? If i want to pay that kind of money i’ll just go to Ray’s.

  • MC

    I wish them success and like seeing local independent restaurants. That said, as a vegetarian I’m never going there – I feel even more excluded than at most home style restaurants of this type.

  • DCCHughes

    We ate there last night and it was great!! My husband was a little disappointed they didn’t have the plats du jour (meatloaf) yet, we had a really great meal anyway. Can’t wait to go back and try some of the other items on the menu.

  • Tj

    My girlfriend and I dined there yesterday. The food my wife ordered was undercooked and my dish was overlooked. Go figure!

    • JBalls

      But they averaged out. It’s 6 sigma cooking – you invest in technique and the ingredients are a kind of 80/20 pareto deal.

    • nom de guerre

      Did you go there with both your wife and your girlfriend?

      • Tabs


        And “overlooked”…huh?

        • nom de guerre

          I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume the “dish” he was referring to was his girlfriend!

      • Sikudhani

        It averages out to his “fiancé”.

        • JBalls


      • geezer

        He’s hot for 20 to 30 somethings

  • Perfect Pete

    My soup tasted good. The rest of our order was not prepared well at all. Bless this mess of a place. I gues I can’t go back?

  • Ned

    Green pig??

  • Ned

    You are a pimp! I love it!!

  • nom de guerre

    I realize that there are high dining standards in Arlington particularly Clarendon. All joking aside, I think it would be fair to give this establishment at least a month to work out the kinks.

    • Sabers

      we wish your friend well, sounds like you have a good relationship with the guy. or you are that scot guy owner person. nobody else would get this place’s back if they were not affiliated. others were right though, the owner was quite over the top with those quotes. he doesn’t sound humble at all.

      • nom de guerre

        Three strikes and you are out-not a friend, no relationship/affiliation, not “that scot guy owner person.” Best wishes to your on your future endeavors as a human being, spouse, parent, and/or business owner-I hope you have more than three days to succeed in any of these challenges although you do sound very humble.

        • Steve


  • Steve

    Ate there last night. Didn’t taste very good at all.

    • AllenB

      For some reason, I don’t believe you at all.

  • Stacy

    I can’t find a website. Facebook doesn’t list hours. Do they serve brunch?

  • D Santino

    I was at the opening night party they had, my roommate grew up with Scot. Free food is great, which is what we got, but it just didn’t taste all that good., I have to agree with some of these people who have eaten there, the food wasn’t good tasting at all. No way I am going back.

    • Tabs

      Negative spam is as bad as positive spam. Who writes “the food wasn’t good tasting at all”? Strange language.

  • Riiight

    The reviews on Yelp up to this point are so comical you can’t even take them seriously. I realize Yelp is at heart kind of a shady operation, but when so many long-winded, ridiculously detailed, thesaurus in hand five star reviews are written by people who are clearly affiliated with the owners and/or given free food to write them for a place that’s been open FOR A WEEK, it’s pretty clear to see, especially the ones from “Nicole” and “Justin.”


    • Tabs

      I don’t know where the money comes from–he can’t get free meals and drinks all the time–but Justin really does go out all the time. I think he’s afraid of being alone.

      • South Arlington

        Justin C is one of the most prolific and top reviewers on Yelp. If there’s one person’s reviews I’d trust, it’s his.

    • dirty biker

      Ahhh Yelp…

      The best part is that the single 1-star review will disappear as “filtered” within the day (I kid you not- the reviewer only had one review, thus they lack yelp-credibility) My org has 60+ 5 star reviews that have been filtered because of this…

  • Kony Thornheiser

    Rabbit cake sound tasty, but deer cake would help us cut down on their population.

  • E

    Just got back. It was decent, but pretty over priced. For what we paid for we were under a different impression. The yelp reviews are a little fishy as others have posted.

    • Phil Richman

      “The yelp reviews are a little fishy as others have posted.”

      Any “fishier” and they would still be flapping their tails and trying to get back in the water !!

      If you want to “salt” reviews you should at least attempt to make them somewhat believable……..

      • tim

        What are you people talking about go there and have dinner and then write about it….

  • Zoe

    The yelp reviews are such a fabrication get real Phil

  • Clarendon papa

    I have yet to eat at green pig, but I am turned off by the overly gushing yelp reviews because they ate seemingly fake. I post on yelp all the time, the people posting are sickening that I usually would go To a place with good reviews, but these one’s are insulting the readers intelligence. That being said, I did hit up bgr and Larry’s on Saturday for the first time an loved it

  • CW

    Happy hour specials? This will determine the frequency with which I visit.

  • Patty

    I have eaten here, and it was amazing.
    HAVE YOU TIRED IT???? Maybe you guys should try it before making such ridiculous comments when you haven’t even tried it.

  • Leafster

    Cool place! Nice bar and really good food.

  • Gina

    We finally got over to Green Pig Bistro last night. We waited about 40 minutes for a table for two, but it was worth it. Had the beet salad, the riblets and clams, and the rabbit cake. Delicious! We’ll be back!


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