A long-vacant Logan Square corner is revitalized as Lardon, the all-day cafe that celebrates cured meats and cheeses that opened Monday. One of Chicago’s most anticipated openings of the summer, the charcuterie specialist sits on the corner of California Avenue and Palmer Street.
Designed to evoke an Old World butcher shop, Lardon goes beyond the meats. There’s also a delicatessen menu with fresh salads and to-go items, plus morning pastries from smash-hit Aya Patisserie and coffee and espresso from local roaster Metropolis Coffee served all day. Morning commuters who use the CTA’s nearby California Blue Line Stop now have a strong option.
At night, chef Christopher Thompson (Coda di Volpe) plans to introduce a tight dinner menu of eight items inspired by coastal Mediterranean cuisine such as Mussels aux Provencal with Nduja, tomato, garlic, and white wine. Lardon also houses a bar, serving a selection of classic and modern wines and aperitivo-based cocktails like Fragole (Bordiga, cassis, strawberry cinnamon syrup, sparkling rose), spritz-style drinks, and Fernet-Branca on tap.
In the back of the dining room, patrons can get a peek inside the curing process through a picture window into the space’s unusual “charcuterie cave,” a curing room where the team utilizes whole animals to create Saucisson de Campagne, Genoa Salame, ‘Nduja, and more.
Cut into delicate and paper-thin pieces on a manual flywheel meat slicer, the meats take their turns in the spotlight on boards (customized or preset combos) and in sandwiches like the Finocchiona and Butter (cured fennel seed salame, Wisconsin farm butter, arugula, sea salt, baguette) and the Frenchie (ham, country pork pate, camembert, mustard, cornichon mayo). This is the first venture from Thompson’s newly formed restaurant group Meadowlark Hospitality. He’s joined by co-owner Steve Lewis (Centennial Crafted Brewing).
The 110-year-old building at 2200 N. California Avenue was formerly vegan restaurant and music venue Township. White subway tile and antique honeycomb floors contrast against simple wooden furniture and exposed brick to create a comfortable yet stylish dining room with around 20 seats. There’s also a 30-seat patio on Palmer with twinkling string lights looped overhead.
Venture inside Lardon and peruse its offerings in the photographs below.
Lardon, 2200 N. California Avenue, Open 7 a.m. to midnight daily.