Chicago is a meat-loving town, and perhaps no singular dish serves to celebrate the tradition quite like a well-rounded charcuterie platter. From Restaurant Row to neighborhood joints scattered throughout the city, Chicago has no shortage of options when it comes to housemade charcuterie presentations.
There’s a lot to love about The Purple Pig, the wining and dining Mecca on the Magnificent Mile. Chief among them, as the restaurant name suggests, is a particularly impressive spread of meats. The Purple Pig’s charcuterie program is among the best in Chicago, arranged neatly on adorable pig-shaped platters brimming with the likes of testa, blood chorizo, lingua, mortadella, tartufo, jamon serrano and more. Match your meat board with some pork liver pâté and the housemade ’nduja for a memorably meaty meal.
For years now, Table, Donkey & Stick has reigned supreme in Logan Square for its unique Alpine cuisine. With a knack for hearty, burly fare, it’s a regional style that lends itself well to charcuterie, which chef Scott Manley exhibits a real skill for. Cured meats dot the dinner menu in various styles both traditional and contemporary, from beef tongue pastrami and hopped cocoa ham, to duck liver mousse and schweinekopf, aka pig head. Such delicacies can be sampled at Table, Donkey & Stick as well as they’re upcoming casual spin-off joint, Danke, which is opening this summer inside the Loop’s Revival Food Hall. For example, that aforementioned schweinekopf can be ordered inside a sandwich along with duck liver mousse for added creaminess.
This French-accented steakhouse in Portage Park is full of pleasant surprises. Chief among them, Community Tavern’s impressive house charcuterie program is the definition of destination-worthy. It’s all courtesy of chef de cuisine Matt Saccaro, who oversees the charcuterie preparation and presentation of the unique meat board. This includes pork terrine with dried cherries, pistachio, house-cured bacon, and housemade coppa; chicken liver mousse; a dry-cured sausage made from wild boar called salsichia di cinghale; guanciale; and soppresata.
This Humboldt Park gem is beloved for many reasons, from its approachable and reliable wine list to its dizzying craft beer selection, brunch, burger, and much more. Then there’s the lauded charcuterie platters, which command a loyal fanbase in and of themselves. Selections rotate, but regular fixtures include the likes of chicken liver pate, capocollo di doman (spicy pork collar), chicken mousseline terrine, coppa with red wine and peppercorns, saucisson rouge, and cold-smoked beef belly terrine.
One place deserving of some serious charcuterie cred is Cafe des Architectes, which went to the great lengths of establishing its own charcuterie and cheese company called Chestnut Provisions, wherein an immense array of products are made in-house. Not only does the restaurant utilize these items throughout its regular menu, but customers can even enjoy Chestnut Provisions tasting menus specifically highlighting these ingredients. Said items range from hunters salami and ice wine-venison soppressata to miso-togarashi salumi, bresaola, finocchiona, and pepperone.
Putting an Argentine accent on the charcuterie presentation is Rural Society, which showcases its assorted housemade sausages as part of an asado mixto platter with charred scallions alongside. Available sausages include a beef and pork version, a provoletta-stuffed pork option, blood sausage with pine nuts and raisins, and lamb sweetbreads.
Considering Chop Shop is part butcher shop, it’s no surprise the hybrid concept boasts one of the burliest meat boards in town. Their signature “butcher’s board” contains a variety of meats and cheeses with grilled toast points, house jams, and house pickles. Optional meats include porchetta, speck, rillettes, duck breast pastrami, chicken liver mousse, smoked pork loin, lamb pancetta, and gin and juice elk salami.