I have fond memories of going to Eastside Café with my family when our children were young. It was one of the few places the kids' very best behavior was assured since the promise of roaming through the garden out back was their reward. It has been a while since I have visited, but when I heard about their sister restaurant, Elaine's Pork & Pie, I knew I had to stop by to try it out. Named after owner Elaine Martin, Elaine's Pork & Pie is located in what was once a garden gift shop on the same property as Eastside Café on Manor Road. The bright and cheery space has tables arranged in an L-shape along the length of two walls, with the front counter in the center. A friend and I had lunch there early last week during the bout of gorgeous spring weather. As a result, all of the tables on their front patio were taken, so we opted to eat inside. The servers at Elaine's were very friendly and helpful, giving us suggestions and telling us about their favorites on the menu. The menu is limited, befitting the scale of the restaurant, but they have daily specials as well as a soup of the day. We decided to split a a bowl of the lentil soup and the pulled pork sandwich.
The soup was hearty and warm, filled with veggies and perfectly cooked lentils in a densely flavored and satisfying broth. The jalapeño cornbread muffins served with the soup were light, fluffy and act as the perfect accompaniment. The pulled pork sandwich is quite a meal in itself and we were glad we split it since even a half portion was very filling. The very tender pork had a crunchy slaw layered on top, which was a nice tangy addition. The sandwich bread was very thick and soft with a subtle eggy flavor. The barbecue sauce served on the side brought some extra zing to the sandwich. Keep in mind the pulled pork is also available as a taco, which sounds like a great option. For dessert we tried a small sample of the Ancho Fudge Pie, which was deliciously rich and nutty, containing the slightest whisper of spice. We could not pass up the famous Bourbon Buttermilk Pie. A bit lighter than the Ancho Fudge, the Buttermilk has that smooth, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth quality reminiscent of vanilla custard. The crust on both pies was extremely flaky and tender.
The atmosphere is relaxed and easy going, but the quick and bustling staff get orders out quickly to help you on your way if you need to take items to-go. They even have daily happy hour specials 3:00 p.m. to close. Elaine's is a great neighborhood spot to pop into if you are near Mueller or Cherrywood. Make a point of taking a stroll in the garden after your meal.