A Pig in a Fur Coat

Back of the House Fall 2017 Issue

A Pig in a Fur Coat

By Jamie Lamonde | Photos By Jim Klousia 0

From the outside, A Pig in a Fur Coat’s understated grey exterior and subtle signage lead into a cozy, familial dining space with a community table at its center. Lots of wood. Warm lighting. And yes, a portrait of a pig…in a coat. The vibe is inviting, low-key and creative, much like Chef Dan himself.

We set up camp in the long and narrow kitchen as the crew waited patiently for the evening’s first guests to arrive. Once we were settled, Dan turned to me and admitted that he wasn’t exactly sure why we wanted to visit because they were “boring.” He said, “We’re not loud or partiers or anything like that.” I assured him that we didn’t come to be entertained and that they were far from boring.

Seriously. Not. Boring.

In fact, their zen-like execution and off-the-chart flavors were exciting as hell.

As dinner service picked up, Dan explained that he is all-too-often asked to define what type of food he makes. I could tell he was burnt out on this question, but of course, I wanted to know the answer. He said, “I just do me. I don’t do things for sales. I like the art and joy of it.” He does what he feels like and puts his own spin on it, and it showed in each and every plate that left the kitchen.

Later, Sous Chef Jonathan Huttsell took us to the butcher room to see the batch of pig heads just in from Lonely Oak Farm for Yum Yum Fest. When we returned to the kitchen, Dan told us more about their approach: “Kill an animal, use all of the parts, don’t burn it. Do it right, and give it a proper send off.” Right on.

After watching the crew all evening, I finally asked Dan, what makes his team hum? What’s their secret ingredient? His response: “I don’t like egos and show-offs. That’s not what we’re about.”

Dan Bonanno and his team at A Pig in a Fur Coat clearly let their food speak for itself. And it speaks volumes. If you haven’t visited, visit soon.


Jamie Lamonde is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Edible Madison, a free, quarterly publication that celebrates the abundance of local foods in Southern Wisconsin.

Jamie has worked in the organic and sustainable lifestyle industry for more than a decade. She is a communications professional with a deep commitment to nurturing positive social change through values-driven, education-based public outreach. Through her work, she is committed to building bridges between family farmers and citizen-partners to change the food system for the better.

Jamie graduated from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, with a B.A. in English Literature. She lives in the beautiful Driftless Region of Southwest Wisconsin and continues to be inspired, and inspire others, through the organic and local food and farming movement.

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