WEST LOOP — The cured meat and pâté focused Tête Charcuterie is looking at a winter opening, according to executive chef partners Thomas Rice and Kurt Guzowski.
All charcuterie will be made in house at Tête, 1114 W. Randolph St., with customers being able to ogle the product before they eat via a glass encased charcuterie bar.
“It’s just kind of a natural fit for Chicago. People love their meat here,” said Rice, whose most recent cooking stint was at the Hilton Chicago.
While there’s no word yet on Tête’s beverage program, Rice said he planned on a small cocktail menu and solely local beer list. West Loop’s La Colombe will provide coffee, with a tea selection from North Center’s Rare Tea Cellars.
Guzowski, formerly executive chef at the now shuttered Landmark Grill in Lincoln Park, goes back 12 years with Rice when the two men worked side by side as cooks in the west suburbs.
The friends kept in touch and three years ago drummed up the financial backing to make Tête a reality.
Menu details are still in the works, but Rice said diners would see lighter á la carte items like a sea urchin and green scallop ceviche and Jerusalem artichoke black truffle salad in addition to the handmade pates and sausages.
Charcuterie is not new to the neighborhood; Tête’s neighbors West Loop Salumi at 1111 W. Randolph St. opened in late June with a focus on Old World-style salami and salumi.
With West Loop Salumi focused on wholesale distribution, owner Greg Laketek said he didn't view Tete as a competitor.
“We hang out with them at La Colombe and we’re on the same page,” Laketek said of Tete’s owners. “We’re actually looking forward to a good spot we can sit down for lunch around here.”
West Loop Salumi already sells to North Center’s Half Acre and the West Loop’s CH Distillery, but Laketek said he’s also seen a definite increase in foot traffic over the weekends.
“It’s a huge trend,” he said of the cured meats. “That you can take a beautiful piece of meat and turn it into something else, everyone thinks it’s a beautiful craft.”
Rice pointed to the popularity of charcuterie platters at restaurants like Publican or North Center’s Troquet.
“I think we definitely had an awareness of something that was missing from the landscape of Chicago,” Rice said. “This was a growing trend back then that we thought wasn’t properly being portrayed here.”