WEST TOWN — The co-owners of Taylor Street's Three Aces plan to bring a toned-down rock 'n' roll edge to West Town in October with the opening of Italian-inspired restaurant Charlatan.
Executive chef Matt Troost is still perfecting the menu at the "locally sourced, modern Italian-inspired" spot, but it will feature a roasted pig's head for two, Charlatan co-owner Anthony Potenzo said Wednesday.
The pig's head dish well represents the team's overall mission to make Charlatan an "Italian countryside meets Midwestern farmhouse" destination. House-made pastas, crudos and other "old-school Italian" dishes will also make the cut, Potenzo said.
This isn't the first time Troost has offered up the primal delicacy, which will be butchered in-house and sourced from Slagel Family Farm in downstate Fairbury.
Troost came up with the restaurant’s name, Potenzo said, which is meant to represent “a showman, who does much with little” not a “huckster, impersonator.”
Charlatan's focus is transformation — what it takes to start with a “lesser cut of meat and [turn] it into a red wine-braised pork cheek with polenta, oxtail agnolotti, or roasted pig head in all its glory.”
The "much with little" approach influences the restaurant's design, too. Beer taps made out of refurbished New York City water pipe top a copper-front bar. Taxidermy is also prevalent — mounted animal heads are affixed to wallpaper with black-and-white cartoon images in the exposed brick restaurant.
Potenzo said the restaurant would also feature a chef's booth near the kitchen.
The West Town restaurant, 1329 W. Chicago Ave., will serve up local brews and hand-crafted cocktails, but an Italian and American wine list will be the focus.
Potenzo said the team didn't have an exact opening date yet.
"As soon as the kitchen can cook, the wait staff can wait, and the bartenders can tend bar, that's when we'll open," he said Wednesday.
Potenzo said curious neighbors had offered a "steady stream of well wishes"' during the months-long renovation of the restaurant.
"We expect to draw heavily from the neighborhood," he said.
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