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Juicy Pig Now Oinking in Guerneville

Bucks River Mill Dinner Theater is no more, but Sonoma County diners have a new opportunity for good food, with the opening of The Juicy Pig in the two-story building on 4th Street.

As the name suggests, it’s barbecue, the dig in, get messy, brisket, chopped pork, chicken and ribs kind.

But not too messy. The Guerneville Dinner Theater has been completely transformed from its former incarnation of supper cabaret and drag parties, into a rustic-chic restaurant fashionably trimmed in wood and Saltillo tile. There’s lots of artwork, too, such as a giant portrait of a swine on the back wall.

It’s actually two restaurants in one, with The Juicy Pig as the main dining room with its own bar, and The Trophy Room as a bar and lounge. Each space has a separate menu, though there are many of the same appetizers on each.

For the ‘cue, go to the Pig, and fill up on a full rack of St. Louis pork ribs with two sides like Rancho Gordo beans and apple poppy seed coleslaw or juicy greens and tater tots. Smoked chicken tostadas come with carrots, cucumbers, tomato, cotija, chipotle and lime juice and choice of one side, while Bodega Bay rockfish is battered with cornmeal, and served with crispy tater tots and Serrano-spiked tartar sauce.

Lighter snacks and flatbreads can be had at The Trophy, like Bodega Bay rock cod ceviche cured in lime, orange and habanero; flatbread topped in baba ganoush, mozzarella, olives and chopped herbs; or fried green tomatoes dipped in Sriracha remoulade.

The project is the work of Russian River residents Christopher and Julie Aff along with partners Shawn Webber and chef Ruben Gomez, and the goal is to showcase local ingredients, including all wines and beers from Sonoma County. More and more diners are coming to the Russian River area specifically in search of its fresh local ingredients, noted Christopher Aff.

Guests can also expect a personal touch. During a recent meal here, chef Gomez visited from table to table, greeting everyone and asking for feedback.

Two sauce-stained thumbs up.

The Juicy Pig: 16440 Fourth Street, Guerneville; (707) 604-7120 or www.thejuicypig.net. Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Weds.-Sun.

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