Secret of the pig

“Don’t eat me, love me.”

“Don’t eat me, love me.”

Mulvaney’s St. Patrick’s Day Pig Roast is quite possibly the worst kept secret in Midtown.

I moved to Sacramento less than two years ago but had heard rumors of an epic, free St. Patrick’s Day party held at Mulvaney’s Building & Loan. I Googled a combination of the words “Mulvaney,” “free,” “St. Patrick’s Day,” and “party”—but came up with nothing. I came to the conclusion that if it’s not online, it must be myth.

So, this past Saturday, my husband and I rode past Mulvaney’s and saw several men pulling a huge dead animal from a refrigerated truck. Patrick Mulvaney was overseeing the process. We asked what was going on, and he explained the calf was from a farm in town. He’d been bugging the farmer to walk a cow down for one of his roasts for ages and launched into a short speech about the benefits of locally grown produce and how amazing Sacramento is because we have vegetables year-round.

He also mentioned they were doing a roast on Sunday and that we should come by. My husband asked if it was open to the public. Mulvaney coyly responded: “This is your invitation.” He walked into the restaurant, but turned once more and said, “It’s all free, too.”

We were elated: A special, personal invitation to super awesome, secret, free party.

We rode the rest of the way home on air. I immediately began planning my outfit. We went to sleep with vision of pork floating in our heads. When I awoke the next morning, the roast was the first thing on my mind. Two o’clock couldn’t come soon enough.

There was a skip in our step as we walked to Mulvaney’s that Sunday afternoon. Bikes piled up against trees and fences for blocks along 19th Street. The sweet smell of roasting meat and smoke filled nostrils. A pig turned on a spit near the sidewalk, and the cow carcass from the day before was all roasted and ready for carving.

We pushed into the mass of people looking for a wristband. The gentleman at the door checked our IDs and that was it. He didn’t ask if we were invited or for secret pass code, just checked our IDs.

After acquiring a hearty cup of Guinness, we started running into people we knew. A friend from work here, a neighbor there, people we had met the night before at Hot Italian—turns out everyone knew about this. I even ran into Mayor Kevin Johnson.

Rumors abound. For instance: Would this be the last year of the Mulvaney’s Pig Roast?

After eating our fill of tender, melt-in-your-mouth smoky meats; crunchy asparagus; fresh bread; fluffy and wholesome potato salad; and fresh berries and cream, we waddled home in the rain wondering if this would in fact be the last Mulvaney’s Pig Roast. We offered a silent prayer to the pig gods that it wasn’t.