Dishin’ on the Dish: the Italiano sandwich at Lardon

Lardon’s meat and cheese boards have been a hit as a platter to share among friends and family, but its take on a Chicago staple — an Italian sub — has also been a crowd-pleaser, especially during the lunch rush.

SHARE Dishin’ on the Dish: the Italiano sandwich at Lardon

What’s cookin’ in and around Chicago? Here’s a closer look at one of the area’s delicious dishes you don’t want to miss.

Curing meats in-house is becoming somewhat of a lost art. But Chris Thompson has made that meticulous process the foundation of a newer restaurant in Logan Square.

Opened last July, Lardon offers an assortment of charcuterie and salami made by Thompson and his staff.

“There’s still a lot of people in this country still fanning those flames and keeping the craft alive,” said Thompson, Lardon’s co-owner and chef. “Some restaurants are doing it in small ways, like making their own sausage and briskets.”

But most are not doing it to the level of Lardon.

Lardon’s meat and cheese boards have been a hit as a platter to share among friends and family, but its take on a Chicago staple — an Italian sub — has also been a crowd pleaser, especially among the lunch rush.

The Italiano sandwich at Lardon is made with sopressata, salame calabrese, ‘nduja, provolone, shredded iceberg, tomato, onion and house giardinera, all served on an amorosa roll.

The Italiano sandwich at Lardon is made with sopressata, salame calabrese, ‘nduja, provolone, shredded iceberg, tomato, onion and house giardinera, all served on an amorosa roll.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Thompson, who’s been curing meats since he was 18 and working at a restaurant in Telluride, Colorado, said he initially drew inspiration for Lardon’s Italiano sandwich from the iconic “Mr. G Italian Sub” from J.P. Graziano.

“But I wanted to take it in my own way,” he said.

Building the perfect sandwich is almost like putting together a puzzle. There’s plenty of trial and error until you get it just right.

Lardon’s Italiano starts with its sopressata and salame calabrese. Though other versions of the sandwich may feature mayonnaise or mustard as a creamy component on the bread, Thompson uses ‘nduja, a traditional salami of Calabria, Italy, that is aged to the point where it’s still young enough to be spreadable. The ‘nduja is a rich yet balanced bite of spice and salinity.

The remainder of the sub includes provolone cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato, onion and house giardiniera, and all of it is served on an Amoroso roll.

Chris Thompson is the chef and co-owner of Lardon.

Chris Thompson is the chef and co-owner of Lardon.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

“It’s just a great sandwich,” Thompson said. “It’s a good combination of crunchy bread, crunchy vegetables [and] soft, chewy meats. And it’s just kind of one of those sandwiches that kind of checks the box of what we, as Americans, [think of] that quintessential Italian hoagie, that Italian grinder.”

Lardon, 2200 N. California Ave. The Italiano sandwich costs $16. Visit https://www.lardonchicago.com/.

Got a favorite dish from a Chicago-area restaurant? Let us know via email at: dishinonthedish@suntimes.com.

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