Bar Pastoral

 

The Purple Pig (Haas and Hass Photography)

Where to find Chicago’s best housemade charcuterie

By Lauren Mandel

Is there anything better than an array of meats and cheeses paired with a crisp glass of wine? We think not. In fact, we’re pretty sure we could eat just those three things—maybe accompanied by a crispy loaf of bread—for every meal from now on and stay perfectly happy. And if you’re in Chicago, you’re in luck: We’ve found some of the most delicious house-made charcuterie around at these seven spots. Dig in.

Big Jones
You don’t have to go far outside the city center to find authentic Southern cuisine—and a killer charcuterie board. The Boucherie Board at Big Jones is filled with various house-made charcuterie, plus complementary preserves and pickles, house-made breads, and crackers—and it’s just $22. Yes, you’ll definitely want to save room for their fried chicken, but don’t skip this meaty appetizer.
Neighborhood: Andersonville MAP

Quartino

Quartino
Quartino is beloved for its lively atmosphere and sharable small plates. The menu is filled with traditional Italian dishes, including the Italian version of charcuterie, salumi. The best bang for your buck? Try a salumi tasting platter for just $29, which will get you two salumi, two cheeses, two spuntini—small Italian bites, like roasted peppers—plus an assortment of olives.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

Publican Quality Meats
Any spot with the words “Quality Meats” in its name better have some outrageous charcuterie. Publican Quality Meats in the West Loop serves up a full assortment of options for breakfast and lunch, but if it’s the charcuterie you’re after, you’ll want to head to the butcher shop. There you’ll find all manner and variation of house-made charcuterie and sausages, with ingredients sourced from local, organic farms ranging in price from $9-$32. Make sure you also try their spreads, like the ‘nduja salami and pork and duck rillettes.
Neighborhood: West Loop MAP

Bar Pastoral
At Bar Pastoral, you can expect to find only the highest-quality charcuterie items from the finest local artisans and farmers. They also make some of their own in-house, like the chicken liver mousse and country pâté, and you can even get a sampling of three for just $18. After you fall in love with everything you taste, don’t forget to sign up for the Cheese and Charcuterie of the Month Club (from Bar Pastoal's retail parent, Pastoral) before you leave.
Neighborhood: Lakeview MAP

I Salumi & I Formaggi at Eataly

Eataly
While you can’t go wrong with the seafood, pizzas, and pasta at Eataly, you can’t make a trip here without checking out their extensive selection of artisanal meats and cheeses from Italy and the U.S. You can grab a prepackaged option from the refrigerated section, or spend some time tasting and talking to the experts at the I Salumi & I Formaggi counter. Sample some of their housemade mozzarella, locally-sourced cured meats, or Italian cheeses to bring home, then grab a glass of Italian wine at La Piazza before exploring their marketplace.
Neighborhood: River North MAP

The Purple Pig
When it comes to prominent Chicago chefs, Jimmy Bannos Jr. is a household name, and his restaurant, Michigan Avenue’s The Purple Pig, features “cheese, swine, and wine”—and charcuterie. In fact, an entire section of the menu is dedicated to cured meats, with everything from the traditional pancetta and prosciutto to more adventurous choices, like blood chorizo. No matter what you choose, make sure to pair it with a few cheeses.
Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile MAP

West Loop Salumi
If you’re looking for a grab-and-go option, maybe to load up on charcuterie for an upcoming party, check out West Loop Salumi. Naturally, there are plenty of types of salami available, but the salumi platters is where this place really shines. For $80, you’ll get a salumi and cheese platter that can easily feed 10 people, loaded up with house-cured meats, imported Italian cheeses, dried fruit, nuts, bread, and crackers. Each week they feature a new creamery's entire line of cheeses, so there's plenty to choose from. Now you just have to choose which friends to invite over for a tasting.
Neighborhood: West Loop MAP

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