10 Things to Know About Babirusa, Opening on Eastlake Tomorrow

By: 
Julien Perry
Babirusa opening on Eastlake
That paper covering the windows won't be there tomorrow.

A little over two months ago (March 4), Eastlake Teriyaki closed down to make way for a new bar called Babirusa. It’s the newest project from owners Charles Walpole and Rene Gutierrez, who also operate Blind Pig Bistro next door. Tomorrow, it officially opens.

Here are 10 things to know:

  • The name Babirusa is a nod to “the genus of our beloved pig friend who watches over us at Blind Pig Bistro,” says Walpole.
  • The 23 seat bar will serve lunch Tues-Fri, noon to 3 p.m. and dinner nightly from 5 p.m. to midnight.
  • The food at Babirusa will be more casual than next door neighbor Blind Pig; Walpole describes it as food that’s oriented towards eating while you’re drinking — snack type stuff.
  • If you’re good at deciphering chicken scratch, here’s a photo of the menu, still in progress when I snapped it Friday afternoon. The menu includes: pork cracklins; scallop ceviche with avocado and corn nuts; kimchi hushpuppies; lingcod brandade with matzo cracker; fava bean and ricotta toast; and fish and chips with sorrel aioli. 
  • Eastlake Teriyaki was just a placeholder for Babirusa. . “We kept it going [as Eastlake Teriyaki] until we had enough money to do the bar,” says Walpole.
  • A passageway connects Babirusa and Blind Pig Bistro.
  • Babirusa is coated in the same red paint as Blind Pig.
  • Walpole stayed close to home to find his Babirusa chef. He plucked him straight from Blind Pig. His name is Kenny Gibbs.
  • Ben Sherwood, who spent lots of time behind the bar at Marjorie, will be managing the bar. Gutierrez, another Marjorie alum, will be the General Manager of both places.
  • Gutierrez and Sherwood also used to work at Tavolata together.