At the time, it was a novel idea: a restaurant that was open 24 hours per day. In 1947, Au Pied de Cochon decided to open its doors non-stop in part to accommodate workers, vendors and shoppers at the now-defunct Les Halles market, just across the street. Also in an attempt to appeal to this clientele, and perhaps because the restaurant was opened by a former butcher, it emphasized cheaper dishes, in particular those with an emphasis on off-cuts such as marrow bones, kidneys, pig’s head or the eponymous pork trotters.
Many decades later, those offal dishes are still on the menu, but perhaps the restaurant’s most emblematic dish is soupe à l’oignon au gratin. Although onion soup probably has its roots in the city of Lyon, today it’s largely associated with Paris, and especially with the restaurants that used to accommodate the workers at Les Halles, of which Au Pied de Cochon is one of the only remaining.
As served at the restaurant, the soup could also be called soupe au fromage for the generous amount of cheese that is melted on top of it. It’s listed in the entrées section of the menu, but it easily functions as a rich, fragrant, hot lunch, especially on a cold winter day—or if you happen to be clocking out after a long day of butchery.
Despite the proletarian-leaning backstory, the dining room at Au Pied de Cochon feels downright decadent with its formally-dressed waiters, chandeliers, hand-painted murals, wood fixtures and plush velvet, a charming contrast with its menu.
Know Before You Go
These days, Au Pied de Cochon closes between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., and 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.