Michelin Honors Corte Madera Barbecue Joint Pig In A Pickle

Pig Poke
Photo credit Jeffrey Schaub/KCBS Radio
CORTE MADERA — It's a first for the Corte Madera restaurant Pig in a Pickle.

Michelin has awarded the barbecue joint its coveted Bib Gourmand designation, which puts less expensive restaurants that serve high quality food in the spotlight. At Bib Gourmands listed in Michelin's first guide to California, diners can expect to get a two-course meal with wine for $40. 

"It's been fun," said Pig in a Pickle's Mari Stainbrook, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband Damon Stainbrook. "The texts and phone calls just started coming in, with little congratulations, so we looked it up. It's pretty cool."

The relationship between husband and wife is a match made in foodie heaven. Stainbrook is all about comfort food while her husband is a former chef at The French Laundry.

"He's pretty much gravitated toward fine dining, and I've pretty much gravitated toward pubs and nightclubs and that kind of thing" she said. "Why can't you have the quality of The French Laundry but in a casual, local, neighborhood atmosphere?"

Pig in a Pickle is definitely on the casual side. 

"We don't take reservations because we're counter service," Stainbrook said. "You walk up, take your order, sit down and we bring your food out to you." 

It was business as usual Wednesday at the restaurant despite all the excitement from learning about the Michelin recognition. Cooks in the kitchen sharpened their knives in preparation for slicing up the day's supply of barbecued brisket, which, along with ribs, chicken, collard greens and home-baked bread, bring in droves of hungry customers.

But all the attention means 'business as usual' could turn into something very different before long.

"I think a lot of people that haven't heard of us will come check it out," said Stainbrook, who pointed out that running a restaurant is more than just another job. "It's a lot of hard work, restaurants aren't easy. But it's a labor of love, it's just what we do," she said.  Pig in a Pickle is one of six restaurants in Marin County to be named Bib Gourmand for 2019, and one of 151 across the state. 

The full list from Michelin is in its first-ever 2019 MICHELIN Guide California, which is also the first statewide or regional Michelin guide for the United States.