BACON! The spoken word alone can bring a grown man to his knees and Worcester is now the lucky recipient of a bacon-themed gastro pub. Located smack-dab in the middle of Green Street of Worcester’s Canal District sits a thick slice of smoky candied heaven. With a name like The Hangover Pub, one might conjure thoughts of Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis sitting by the pool trying to remember the prior night’s conquests over a hearty breakfast. While the proprietors of The Hangover Pub first conceived the idea of opening the gastro pub with food & beverage options specifically tailored to curing your hangover, owner Jay Grey explains that the concept evolved as they began developing their menu. The Hangover Pub, as told by Grey, offers a creative menu and flirtatious environment designed to cure whatever ails you: a breakup, a fight with a friend, a bad day at work or simply the need for a good hang with your best buds. If you’re wondering just how committed to this project he is, Grey showed us some fresh ink on his forearm of a sunny-side up skull and bacon cross bones.
As expected, you’ll find bacon in most of the menu items. Whether through subtle but flavorful notes or as the star of the dish, I was pleased to see that Bacon had a major presence on the menu. The Small Plates or the bacontizers, as I like to refer to them, were tough to choose from so naturally my table chose to order a few: Man Candy (maple flavored strips of salty but sweet bacon that came in a whiskey glass), Kimchi Bacon & Rice Balls (in a set of three) that were crunchy on the outside and wonderfully rich and gooey on the inside) and finally the Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad. The salad was pretty big and had a little more greens than I thought necessary. Brussel Sprouts are my favorite kind of BS and I think they could have stood on their own.
For the main course, I chose the Sous Vide Chicken & Waffles. Like most people, we eat with our eyes first and this was one of the mostly beautifully plated meals I have ever had, borderline sexy. The chicken was pure perfection, golden-fried but not too crunchy, topped with a sprig of thyme and lightly dusted with confectioner’s sugar. The French-sous vide method of preparing the chicken prior to battering and frying ensured that this was one tender bird. I was surprised that the chicken, a drum stick and thigh, were bone-in but after a little post-dinner research I found that bone-in IS the classic presentation for this meal. This is a frozen chicken tender-free zone! The waffle beneath was drizzled with a very sweet bourbon bacon maple reduction. The chef put a lot of love into this syrup. It was a little sweet for me but a nice balance when paired with the chicken. While I paired my dinner with a Notch Session Pils from Salem, MA, there were many crafty hand-tailored cocktails to choose from. A few of which I have earmarked for Sunday Brunch!
From the server who made sure my drink never ran dry to the owners care and attention to our group, the service was terrific. The prices are very reasonable so you don’t have to have to worry about breaking the bank on this indulgence.
I was nervous when I first caught wind of The Hangover Pub’s idea to introduce a bacon-themed restaurant to Worcester. Would they really be able to pull it off? I am very happy to report that this is a well-executed concept that is playful but when it comes to the food, it’s serious business. I expect that this pub will continue to grow in popularity and I’m excited to see how the menu evolves as the seasons change.