Last April, Greg Laketek—founder of beloved charcuterie seller West Loop Salumi—abruptly shuttered his small retail space on Randolph Street after five years of preserved protein production. And beginning late-July, he’ll rev up salumi-making under his new brand Salumi Chicago, while planning a retail concept likely to hit the West Loop.
For both concepts, Laketek has partnered with Joel Janecek whose background is in finance, making him somewhat of a newbie to the hospitality industry. The duo is looking to launch a “communal cheese, charcuterie, tinned seafood, plus beer, wine, and cider” place, says Laketek. At the moment they’re still in the initial stages.
Of course all of the charcuterie will come from their newly-minted 20,000 square-foot production facility in Back of the Yards. Laketek will continue making many of his most popular products—like those unctuous pork snack sticks—though he’s removing sulfites from everything. He’s also focusing on sourcing meat from small farmers throughout the Mid-West, especially Illinois.
Looking ahead, Laketek will introduce a number of new items, some collaborative creations with other Chicago businesses. In addition to prosciutto and a line of wild boar salumi, he’s working with Marz Brewing on a beer salumi, and a blood chorizo with Longman & Eagle executive chef Max Robbins. Laketek is also excited about his forthcoming halal-certified wagyu bresaola. Locally, one will soon be able to score Salumi Chicago products at shops like Eataly, but the plan is to export outside the state to California, New York, Florida, Colorado, and elsewhere in the Midwest.