Cantina Ultima on Federal Street in Milton has been smoked, and in its place has risen the Dead Pig Tavern.
Owners Robert and Mercedes Legget said when they opened four years ago, they tried to do a concept that was different than anywhere else in Milton. The town did not have a Latin-inspired cantina at the time, but when they learned a new Mexican-style restaurant is planning to open, they thought now is the time to switch concepts.
“Since Robert has a huge resume of food abilities, we figured we’d do something different. Also, so that we’re not competing with new neighbors. This is kind of going back to his roots to what he likes to do,” Mercedes said.
Robert spent the beginning of his career in the Philadelphia area, working with Italian-style food, sandwiches in particular. There are no Philly-style sandwich places in Milton done with freshly baked bread and sharp provolone. He said rebranding is a chance to offer a lower price point - sandwiches are $10 to $12 and entrees are around $20.
Robert said the Dead Pig’s core sandwiches are Philly-style roast pork, sausage and peppers, and the Philly Hipster, a vegetarian sandwich. Among other sandwiches is It’s Amore, which Robert said includes everything on the menu in one: beef, sausage, pork, sopressata, gravy and cheese.
Core appetizers are potato frico, which Robert described as like a potato and cheese pancake; peel-and-eat shrimp; and Caesar salad. The appetizer menu will feature octopus cooked in a rotating variety of styles.
The Italian-style menu highlights Robert’s cheese making. The Philly sandwiches can be served with a whiz that Robert makes in-house using white cheddar cheese and Yards Pale Ale. Besides cheese, Robert also makes sausage in-house, something he said he started doing about a year ago.
“I always dive into stuff,” he said. “I make hot dogs too, but I only make those once in a while because they’re a real pain. It’s taxing. It takes a lot of time.”
The decor has changed with the name as comic and horror movie fan Robert has used the rebranding to indulge himself. One of the 15 beer taps includes a figurine of Ash, the memorable protagonist of the “Evil Dead” film series. Above the bar are figures of the Predator, Spawn and Wonder Woman.
“When we first opened we had talked about putting them up, but we thought, ‘No, let’s focus on the cantina thing.’ But now it was like, ‘They’re going up,’” Robert said. “It just gives it a different vibe.”
The name itself is inspired by “An American Werewolf in London,” one of Robert’s favorite movies, which had a bar in it called The Slaughtered Lamb.
The restaurant is small; it has 28 seats and nine barstools. Robert says the bar serves primarily local craft brews - Big Oyster, Mispillion and Dewey Beer Co. - as well as Yards from Philadelphia. Robert says the bar also has Narragansett from Rhode Island because it was his college beer at Johnson and Wales University in Providence. Robert also makes draft cocktails, and the restaurant carries meads from Brimming Horn Meadery, where the Leggets will soon serve German-style flatbread pizzas.
Besides the new name, the Dead Pig Tavern also has a new sign: a pig with a halo over its head.
“It was something I came up with that was just fun. I said, ‘I want a neon pig.’ It’s fun. It’s kitschy,” Robert said. “Our focus is pork.”
The Dead Pig Tavern is open Wednesday and Thursday from 5:15 to 10 p.m. and Friday, 5:15 to midnight. The tavern has a Facebook page and can be reached at 302-470-2549.