• Tuesday , 20 February 2018

Get Your Squab on at Hungry Pigeon in South Philly’s Fabric Row

Photos, story by Cassie Hepler

We stumbled upon this chef at Feastival in Philly where we scarfed down a quick sample they were slinging like all the other vendors. However, it was so memorable that we snagged a card and emailed them. Without a storefront location, Scott Schroeder told us to check back. And that we did.

Most journalists will wax on and on about Scott’s chef background talents but we went in blind… and followed our tastebuds instead (which have never led us astray so far minus that hella spicy Indian gratuitous appetizer after too much red wine).

This is our first time eating squab, which is a young domestic pigeon. The term is probably of Scandinavian origin; the Swedish word skvabb means “loose, fat flesh”. Every time we see a pigeon cooing on the streets of Philadelphia, we will think, “I ate your cousin from Lancaster,” which is one of the three farms the Hungry Pigeon gets its farm to table meats from. Joe Weaver farm in Lancaster provides the squab, don’t worry it’s not pooping on your head on South Street pigeon meat. Country Time Farm provides the pork and whole cows are purchased (much like we do in central Pa., where I’m from), so menus rotate depending on meat available.

Hungry Pigeon Exterior

Hungry Pigeon exterior on a nice summer night was like the calm before the next heat wave storm. The unique thing about this restaurant is it is open all day with delicious food available for whatever floats your boat.

The interior with it's greenhouse glass front, green plants and succulents is gorgeous in the muted sunlight.

The interior with its greenhouse glass front, green plants and succulents is gorgeous in the muted sunlight minus that spray painted van out front. That reminds you that you are still in Philly.

Hungry Pigeon Bar

The self serve breakfast bar which transitions to a booze bar after 5 p.m.

Hungry Pigeon wine

While waiting for my friend from work, a nice 2013 Loire, France Muscadet from kept me entertained along with studying the killer drink list with the best beers at Hungry Pigeon. I moved onto another French muscadet later, Le Fay D’Homme and found that very refreshing. Curious about the short but sweet craft cocktail list, I stuck with wine as I did have to drive.

I have into my stomach rumbling at me and snacked on the most exquisitely delicious organic chicken pate.

I gave into my stomach rumbling at me and snacked on the most exquisitely delicious organic chicken live mousse toast with pickled eggs, pickles, relish, grilled radish and full sours drizzled with olive oil and fresh herbs. Trying to share, I saved one lone square for my friend and that was difficult so you know it’s good!

Hungry Pigeon Sign

A reflection in the mirror shows the exposed, rustic brick wall and the tempting options available until 5 p.m. every day.

Hungry Pigeon dining table

A dining table fit for a queen or a king, large gatherings or birthday parties. It practically has its own room!

We loved the pigeon artwork sprinkled about, some statues smartly decorated with napkins around their necks, bird cages and the vintage blue pigeon wallpaper in the restrooms.

We loved the pigeon artwork sprinkled about, some statues smartly decorated with napkins around their necks, bird cages and the vintage blue pigeon wallpaper in the restrooms.

Hungry Pigeon space

The view from the back of the house to the front is just as stunning as the front. Shabby chic elegance exudes here with minimal effort.

Our delightful waiter, Michael, led us on our culinary journey with these pork skewers with peaches, rich in flavor, perfectly grilled and a sauce that is bread dip-able.

Our delightful waiter, Michael, led us on our culinary journey with these pork skewers with peaches, rich in flavor, perfectly grilled and a sauce that is bread dip-able.

Hungry Pigeon croissants

One thing I could instantly tell is the bread is on point here and by the looks of these croissants and pastries, sheer photo perfection with the endless amount of French flakiness.

Hungry Pigeon pasta

Not one to usually veer toward pasta, we were tempted by the buttered lobster noodles but went instead with the pasta fagioli full of veggies, beans and such a light delightful texture with organic wheat noodles. The touch of cheese took it over the top and the textures were pleasing and savory.

Hungry Pigeon squab

The namesake plate, the Hungry Pigeon squab was a must try. This is a full version (half is available too) with succotash, claws and all. Greasy, salty and thicker than dark meat chicken, the thighs had a slight texture of steak.

Hungry Pigeon Blueberry Torte

Without a menu for dessert, it is always rotating so we went traditional with the Hungry Pigeon Blueberry Torte which was just like grandma used to make. Kudos to the house baker/pastry chef.

Hungry Pigeon Dessert

This Filipino halo halo was more like heaven heaven and is my newest favorite dessert in the summer. Topped with coconut ice cream and finished with evaporated milk, shaved ice, flan, blueberries, jelly and fruits made this a cool down, fit in the cracks mixture from the Gods.

Sometimes less is more and Hungry Pigeon is an excellent addition to the neighborhood at any time of the day. Breakfast is packed and bangin’ with those pastries, which the extra are given away to a homeless shelter at the end of each day instead of tossed. We will certainly be back for the other menu options earlier in the day, even after school snacks are available for kids… or nostalgic adults. And while you’re at it, take a walk through Fabric Row and get some inspiration to decorate or design. The food, ambiance and vibe may just inspire you.

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