Nothing captured the 2019 food world zeitgeist quite like the Popeyes fried chicken sandwich. The simple (but admittedly delicious) $3.99 sandwich spawned a collective freak-out across the country, plus an endless stream of gushing news stories, memes, and hot takes. It sold out in two weeks.
But for me, there was no need to bother chasing one down. That’s because I knew there was a better sandwich just down the street — Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken, a Chicago mini-chain affiliated with Lettuce Entertain You partners, has been quietly making a stellar Midwestern sandwich for the better part of a year and selling it for the same price.
The Mr. Piggy is a pork tenderloin sandwich. But it’s so much more than that — it’s a brined, lightly breaded, and crisp-fried quarter-pound pork tenderloin cutlet that’s topped with iceberg lettuce, tomato, and pickles, and tucked into a toasted brioche bun from 3D Baking in Chicago. A trio of condiments includes mayo for creaminess, a squirt of yellow mustard for a little tang, and the kicker: an acidic-sweet-spicy relish made from roasted jalapenos and sweet cherry peppers that ties everything together.
“For me, this sandwich is all about texture — it balances the richness of the pork and the mayo with acidity and heat from the relish and the mustard,” says creator Francis Brennan, chef and partner of Do-Rite. “Then you get the soft brioche and the fresh crunch of the iceberg. I can see why people get hooked on it.”
And although it represents maybe 10 percent of sandwich sales at the chain, ranking behind its signature chicken offerings, “We have a loyal and growing following for Mr. Piggy. We love it,” Brennan says.
I do, too. It’s the perfect sandwich. And at $3.99, it’s a steal. So much so, in fact, I question who needs Popeyes.
Mr. Piggy, $3.99, can be purchased at four Do-Rite restaurants: Willis Tower, West Loop, Wrigleyville, and Streeterville.