Big Al's Bites: Pig and a Jelly Jar

Stress is a natural part of life. It comes in many forms, and at many different times, none of which are convenient. It may take the form of a treacherous exam, stalking your hard-earned grade like prey on safari. Perhaps your stress comes from a professor who has sworn to destroy all happiness in your life. Or so it seems. I swear sometimes they make pacts to see how many students they can force into mental collapse. Whatever your source of stress, it’s important to take a step back, breathe and eat some comfort food.

“But wait!” you’re saying. “Eating your feelings is a bad thing. Psychologists have told us this time and again. It’s irresponsible.” I will be the first to hypothesize that there is nothing a good meal and a hot shower can’t fix. How about it, science? Let’s find a cure-all.

While comfort food might not fix your grade, or cure more serious problems like schizophrenia or cancer, it can heal the nicks and bumps that occur in a person’s mental and emotional state during their time in stressful situations (read: college). Luckily for you, I’ve found the happy marriage between elevated cuisine and comfort food, and it’s right next to Liberty Park.

Pig and a Jelly Jar sits on the corner of 400 E. and 900 S. in the chic Sugarhouse district of Salt Lake. It has been chronically busy since its crowning of Best Comfort Food in the 2013 Dining Awards. One taste of the food, and you’ll quickly see why.

Let’s start with my dish: the Kitchen Sink Frittata. The name is precisely accurate, as the dish had sausage, bacon, tomato, onion, peppers, mushrooms, spinach and provolone, topped with Bloody Mary salsa. It was perfectly delicious. With all of the ingredients going in the pan, I was a little worried that they might not be cooked the way they should be. For those of you who have never tried making a multifaceted egg dish, consider how differently spinach and sausage cook, or bacon and mushrooms, and you can imagine the precise timing that would be needed to pull off such a dish. I’m happy to report that they hit it right on the head. The frittata was light and fluffy, with the grocery list of ingredients layered to perfection. The Bloody Mary salsa was an intriguing American twist on a Mexican staple. It had a great deal of flavor, and was the perfect accompaniment to the complex load of flavors.

I thought I had found the best thing in the restaurant when I smugly asked my wife how her chicken and waffle was. She said it was delicious. Thinking there was no way that it could beat my frittata, I dove into the Southern classic.

I was wrong. This was by far the best chicken and waffle I’d ever had.

The Belgian waffle was crispy and flaky, but I couldn’t pay attention to it. Sitting atop the delectable waffle was one of the biggest boneless chicken breasts I’d ever seen, fried and tossed in a house blend that would make any chef proud. The chicken and waffle combo was topped with maple syrup and hot sauce, and perched atop the tower of deliciousness was a single fried egg. It was one of the best dishes I’ve ever had. The chicken was cooked perfectly, and the succulence of the meat paired with the seasoning and sauces sang. The egg tied the whole dish together with a savory bow that made me wonder if the other competitors for the comfort food award were still in business.

Judging by the status of the restaurant, however, I would say they are. To quote “Hell’s Kitchen’s” Gordon Ramsay, “bloody good food needs bloody good service!” Unfortunately for Pig and a Jelly Jar, the service of the staff made the restaurant break just above even. We waited nearly 45 minutes for our food, and while it was good, it was quite the wait. I would have let that go, but we proceeded to wait another 30 minutes after our plates had been cleared for our check. I eventually walked up and explained that we needed to leave and got out. The waitstaff seemed frantic, and as good as the food was, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Overall, I will be back. Food that good with service that poor is confusing, so I’m assuming they had a bad day.

If you have stresses you can’t seem to tackle, I might recommend a heavy dose of chicken and waffles, so long as your stress isn’t based around not having enough time.

For a full menu or to make reservations, go to

So go eat, and be happy.