The Perfect Pig
A Celebration of Food, Family, Fun
June 21st, 2017
By Melissa Vidaurre
The Perfect Pig is the perfect place for tourists and locals alike. It combines the intimacy and familiarity of a café with the sophisticated palate of a gourmet market. Everything about the atmosphere from the décor, to the friendly staff, to the carefully curated menu feels like a welcome home.
Owner Vickie Miller and her family have worked in the restaurant industry for over 30 years, starting in the 1980s in multiple chain restaurants. In the ‘90s, Vickie took matters into her own hands with a cleverly named company called Eighteen Carrot Catering, while she was living in Atlanta.
“So many of our fondest memories center around food,” she recalled. Some of those memories include local success here in South Walton. Vickie and her husband Jeff had a brief venture into the food truck business where they featured the pulled pork barbecue that gave them quite a rapport with guests and an idea that would illuminate their futures.
When you find a star, you watch it shine and that’s exactly what Vickie did with her famous pulled pork, making it the star of the menu for her next business venture. She also wanted to pay homage to the dish by making it the namesake of her new restaurant.
“I wanted ‘pig’ in the name,” she explained “… and ‘perfect’ is always our aspiration.”
Thus, The Perfect Pig was born, opening its first location at Seagrove Beach in 2012. Life has been a party ever since.
“I love all aspects of entertaining, and owning a restaurant is very much like a dinner party every night!” Vickie said. As the gracious host, she has left no detail undetermined. She welcomes her guests with Southern hospitality and invites them to get to know more about her through the family recipes featured on the menu.
Though some of the original recipes have evolved, and the restaurant now boasts a second location at Gulf Place, Vickie continually aspires to elevate the dining experience through the years. It is the unexpected flavor combinations and new takes on classic dishes that give the upscale Southern cuisine an exciting twist.
The Perfect Pig is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which means you could find your new favorite meal there three times in one day. For breakfast, the morning crowd can’t get enough of the Parmesan-crusted grilled cheese breakfast sandwich, loaded with two eggs over medium, cheddar cheese, and brown sugar hand-sliced bacon. When it comes to making a lunch-time decision, the fresh smoked chicken and mixed greens salad with tomatoes, charred corn, cheddar cheese and house-made cornbread croutons is rivaled best by the perfect brisket sandwich, housing melt-in-your-mouth hickory smoked USDA prime beef (aged and cured for 52 days) between a grilled, buttered bun.
As for dinner, the pork tenderloin medallions over creamy Gruyere grits with a blackberry pinot noir sauce is an instant classic. For those preferring poultry, the Parmesan-crusted, goat cheese-stuffed chicken breast with red peppers, roasted fingerling potatoes, and glazed baby carrots is another fan favorite dinner dish. While there is no shortage of pork on the menu, The Perfect Pig’s signature dinner entree is, a bit counter-intuitively, the potato crusted grouper. The fish is served over a vegetable risotto with a citrus beurre blanc sauce and sautéed seasonal vegetables.
The Perfect Pig’s menu changes at least twice a year, meaning there is typically a fall/winter menu and a spring/summer menu. This allows the chef to showcase seasonal selections of fresh local produce. In addition, the chef will typically create a featured appetizer or entree for guests, along with a daily pasta. Dessert is always sweet when the chef dreams up and then churns out house-made ice cream based on the moment’s flavor preference.
The best part is when it all comes together.
“It just makes me happy to see people laughing, talking, making memories with their friends and family around something we created,” Vickie admitted.
The changing menu is a wonderful excuse to drive down to 30A over and over again, but for those who trek back home, the new Deep South Market next to the Gulf Place location offers an opportunity for patrons to purchase ingredients found on The Perfect Pig’s menu. That means gourmet food items such as thick hand-sliced bacon, blackberry mustard, meats, cheeses, beer, wine, and tabletop gifts can find a home down the road or across the country.
Photos courtesy of The Perfect Pig
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the spring issue of the Food & Wine Guide for South Walton.