July 2017

Porter & Pig: Finding Something You Can’t Live Without

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Ivy Burdick entertains a group of gal pals from behind the bar at Porter & Pig, a delightful eatery located in Village at Wexford.

A few weeks ago, appreciation for Ivy Burdick’s girlfriends kicked in over a homemade fruit pie and four forks. It was a Wednesday, and Village at Wexford’s first summer market was a wrap. With forks in-hand, Burdick, owner of hot spot Porter & Pig, and three of her friends and comrades in business and motherhood savored their sliver of time together, gabbing about life, families, and business, while making a solid dent in the pie. “I feel really fortunate to have these women around me, because they inspire me,” Burdick said.

Aaron Dempsey mixes cocktails with a smile and a story for three ladies chatting at the bar.
A beautiful sesame tuna salad with avocado, radish and ginger.

Inspired to collaborate with the women who have surrounded and supported her professionally and personally, Porter & Pig hosts a series of pop-up events, where some of Burdick’s talented, entrepreneurial, mom-minded girlfriends come together—a unique time set aside to help grow their businesses and build connections to the community. Regular pop-up participants include Jennifer Gleitsmann, maker of the aforementioned pie, and owner of Marmalade Homemade Baking; Heather Quinn, taste-maker and shop owner of Louette; Lissy Rawl, Little Fish Boateak owner-designer, and creative soul; Linsey Solomon, consultant for Beautycounter, focused on safer, cleaner, personal care products for children and adults; and Cristina Rizk, member of Zija’s wellness-inspired supplement, essential oil, and personal care products team. (Another pop-up is scheduled for July; check out their website or call for more information.)

Today, Burdick’s restaurant and life are fueled by ideas inspired by her entrepreneurial-minded friends, and even further back by her grandmother and mother. “My family is Polish and my grandmother was a very good cook when she wanted to cook; same with my mom. It was very much in our family that the women prepared food, so I was raised in the kitchen, especially during the holidays. I was always walking in their footsteps.” Working in marketing and advertising post-college, she found herself taking one step forward and two steps back. “I always ended up back in food and beverage. I had a level of passion there and I love customer service. I felt like this was a calling for me.”

The energy and creativity required to run Porter & Pig and raise a family is demanding (fabulous four-year-old Phoebe is a regular at the restaurant), and having family and friends around to put it all into perspective is Burdick’s secret strength. “My mom is my role model,” Burdick said. “She would run a Little Caesars Pizza [the former family business], come home, cook dinner, and sew Halloween costumes.” She feels the same about the energy her girlfriends expend to get the job done every day. “I ask them, ‘Do you guys ever turn off? I mean, ever?’”

Setting out to create a pub-like meeting place for her Porter & Pig customers, Burdick took inspiration from her family. “If they were going to have appetizers before dinner, or if we had been gone for a long time and were coming back home—college or what have you—my mom would serve Jarlsberg cheese and summer sausage, and sweet hot mustard with Triscuits, and we would sit around a gab.” A bit higher on the sophistication scale, her charcuterie-inspired menu gives customers the opportunity to nosh on shared plates, an original meat and cheese selection, and sandwiches, while enjoying outstanding beers, craft cocktails, and a thoughtful selection of wine.

Burdick sees Porter & Pig as a part of the bigger picture of the burgeoning culinary community on Hilton Head Island. “You find these little pockets of culinarians that are down here, and this isn’t just a beach vacation for them,” Burdick said. “They really want to try to the food, and that’s super fun, because I can say, go see Amanda Russ at Pomodori; she makes her pasta from scratch and it’s all really wonderful. Or go see Clayton at Lucky Rooster, or go see Andrew Carmines down at Hudson’s, because he’s doing phenomenal local seafood. I can set people on these culinary adventures.

Swing by Porter and Pig for a BLT and a cold brew.
A Charcuterie plate with a bottle of Pinot Noir is the perfect way to kick off an evening with friends.

“We do have a lot of really talented and phenomenal chefs and restauranteurs on this island. Giving them the opportunity to have their time to shine, people are going to come back because, not only was this a great family vacation, a great beach vacation, a great golf vacation, now we’re really becoming a food and dining and bar scene destination. This is all starting to come together, which is going to create this amazing package for Hilton Head as a vacation destination. Nurturing and encouraging that is going to go really, far.
“Hilton Head is catching up to some larger market trends. That’s nice because I think we’re starting to see some progressive cuisine, not only on Hilton Head but also in Bluffton, too. I think that it’s aiding what my original vision was, because people are getting on-board with consuming in a different way than what they’re accustomed to. I think there’s a lot of culinary growth here; it’s becoming less about sitting down and eating, and more about it being an event.”

All that culinary growth is a part of Porter & Pig’s DNA. “Tooling around” with molecular gastronomy, Burdick and her own talented team came up with their version of beer cheese: a combination of cheddar, mozzarella, beer, and sodium citrate. Born from their creativity, the Porter & Pig pulled-pork nachos are the popular vehicle by which the beer cheese has gained great fame. “People come every week for them,” she said. “It’s great when you have the opportunity to introduce someone to something new, and then all of a sudden, it’s their thing that they can’t live without.”

Accompanying the outstanding bar selections, delish menu options, and nightly dart games, Porter & Pig brings in the kind of live music that further feeds on Burdick’s view of Hilton Head Island as fertile ground for all things creative. “We do live music on Mondays. It’s a classic rock duo—guitar and vocals. We also have live music one weekend night, either Friday or Saturday. We’re this teeny, teeny, teeny, tiny little space, and we have some phenomenal musicians that like to play here. That’s enormous because, for as small as Hilton Head is, the level of musical talent that we have here is absolutely, astronomical. I have been so fortunate because I sit there and watch it first-hand.” Some evenings Burdick may even be found playing a little background cowbell…just for fun.

That’s the beauty of role models, and appreciating the people who inspire us. Like Burdick, they are blissfully unaware that they are shooting stars of inspiration themselves. We may need a few more forks.

Porter & Pig is located in the Village at Wexford at 1000 William Hilton Parkway, Suite J7C, Hilton Head Island. For more information, please visit porter-pig.com or call (843) 715-3224.

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