The Piggy Bank is located on Main Street in Beacon, just minutes from I-84. It's so named because the well worn building that houses it was once a bank. The former bank vault is now the wine vault, with a small bar built in front of it. The room has a high, tin-tiled ceiling with several ceiling fans. The tables look like valuable antiques that could have easily been purchased at the many antique shops in the area, which also has its share of upscale bakeries and ice cream shops. Outside, there's al fresco seating in the warmer months and a huge bonus: a free parking lot.
Ribs are pork spares, offered in quarter racks, half racks, three-quarter racks, whole racks and on platters with other meats (brisket, chicken, pork). Pulled pork is available on platters and on sandwiches with or without cheese.
As evidence that the Piggy Bank offers barbecue but doesn't dwell on it, there are eight different salads, including smoked duck. There's a vegetarian plate, a vegetarian chili and two different veggie burgers. Luckily, there's also regular burgers, regular chili and three different steaks. Appetizers include shrimp, wings, calamari and fried okra. All you can eat ribs is a feature on Monday nights (though the website lists this as Tuesday night).
I originally attempted a visit more than a year before my actual visit: on a Friday, not long after noon, I stopped in to find a large party (about 18 people) just getting their drink orders taken. I tried to wait at the bar for counter service but left after five minutes of being ignored.
The actual visit was for a Saturday lunch on the weekend of the nearby Hudson Valley Ribfest. This time, the greeting and the overall service couldn't have been friendlier. I mention this not to penalize the first visit or praise the second but more to convey the idea that service, while very important, can vary greatly at any restaurant from visit to visit or from server to server.
I started with a bowl of chili made with crumbly soft beef, a minimal amount of beans and a few noticeable vegetables. It had a nice mouthfeel but was woefully light on heat. Some Tabasco helped.
I ordered the Pig Out Sampler plate, which included pork ribs, pulled pork and brisket ($17.95). According to the online menu, this platter includes chicken instead of brisket.
The pork spare ribs were large and nice looking, with a crust that succeeded more for its texture than its flavor. The juicy inner meat also had a nice texture and a naturally porky flavor, though smoke and spice were all but nonexistent. As barbecue ribs, they were flawed, but as just ribs, they were pretty good.
Pulled pork was a pile of tender meat generously coated in an intriguingly unusual golden yellow sauce. The pieces were of various sizes and included a fair amount of bark. The texture was a little steamy and soft, but the meat had a good flavor. Surprisingly, the mustard sauce had a nice flavor that enhanced the meat, offering a nice mix of sweet and tangy.
Brisket was pale, trimmed neatly and devoid of fat, with just a hint of bark. Its peppery finish and turket breast texture reminded me of deli meat.
There's no sauce on the table, but the platter contained a few different sauce approaches. I liked the pork's balanced mustard sauce: not too sweet, not too mustardy, not too sour. The other sauce was a ketchupy concoction that tasted store bought.
Cole slaw was homemade, simple and fairly bland. Collard greens were limp but compensated with an unexpected flavor intensity, almost the antithesis of the cole slaw. Cornbread, provided upon request, was served warm. It had a coarse texture and a decent, mildly sweet flavor.
The bottom line: I wouldn't call this hard core barbecue, as I'm not so sure all the meats were smoked. Despite this and the generally unassertive flavors, I'd still recommend giving it a try if you're in the area or are looking for a convenient lunch while antiquing. But I wouldn't make a special trip.
Yelp reviews of the Piggy Bank