Good Eats at Daniel’s Charcuterie: Beautiful charcuterie boards, creative sandwiches, sommelier-selected wines and more at this cozy Uptown bistro
By Trent Modglin
15 S. Fairview Ave. in Park Ridge
History in short: Daniel Boland, who opened Daniel’s Charcuterie in 2020, earned his stripes at notable Chicago restaurants like Publican Anker and Girl and the Goat, learning from Paul Kahan and the host of reputable chefs involved with the One Off Hospitality Group.
“I’ve always loved cooking, even for my friends in high school here at Notre Dame and in college at Missouri,” Boland tells me. “It’s a little bit of art and a little bit of science. I’ve always liked the creativity and working with my hands, and the love of food has always been there.”
A lot of Boland’s childhood friends would earn money for good grades, but his mom had a different approach, choosing instead to take him to different specialty food stores like H Mart or Jerry’s Fruit and Garden to let him pick out rare fruits or food to try as his reward. Needless to say, it helped fuel his passion.
Boland’s focus with the menu was to create new items you don’t see everywhere else, and the wine list has been hand-selected by a professional sommelier. “By design, we have a smaller menu, but the items have been thought through very thoroughly.”
The scene: There’s no denying the comfortable, cozy European bistro feel of Daniel’s Charcuterie. Very inviting and quaint, with big front windows allowing tons of natural light to stream in, hardwood floors, flowers, a giant wine rack and European retail items. The goal: Make it welcoming even for those who aren’t well-versed in charcuterie or wine.
Who they’re catering to: Daniel’s is especially popular as a dinner-and-wine-night destination for smaller groups of women, as well as as a date-night spot. “We have lots of locals coming in for salads and sandwiches at lunch, and I think it makes for fun conversations over a board of meet, cheese and fruit,” Boland says. “Kids actually like picking at the plates too.” Private party bookings have been on the rise as well, for everything from birthdays to bridal showers.
Menu expectations: Boland’s focus with the menu was to create new items you don’t see everywhere else. “By design, we have a smaller menu, but the items have been thought through very thoroughly,” he says. “We like to think the menu is approachable yet elevated.”
The attention to detail — from the appealing presentation to the fresh, sustainably grown ingredients, dressings and marinades made from scratch and fresh-squeezed juices — is obvious. Boland and his staff analyze the textures, colors and flavor profiles of their cheeses, rotating them constantly, and their boards touch on a lot of different flavors that flawlessly complement each other, right down to the mustard and honey spreads.
The boards — available in three different sizes — include a diverse, hand-cut assortment of cured meats, imported cheeses, fresh-baked bread, crackers and a selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, olives, dried fruit, spreads and nuts.
Appetizers, like crunchy bruschetta or hummus with warm flat bread, will get things started off right, and the four salad choices (try the apple and spicy walnut with goat cheese tossed in a honey vinaigrette) are perfect for a lighter approach.
Two of our favorite sandwiches are the tuna (with red onion, lettuce and red wine vinaigrette on a soft croissant) and brie grilled cheese, a melty combination of brie, green apples, fig spread and saba (an Italian condiment similar to a sweet balsamic) served on whole grain — with the option to add prosciutto around the outside of the plate. But don’t sleep on one of the local favorites, their New Orleans-style muffuletta, either.
Imagine picking up a few “chef’s choice” boards, a tray of sandwiches and a bottle of wine for a summer outing like Concerts in the Park a few blocks away in Hodges Park or a trip to listen to your favorite band at Ravinia. Sounds enticing, no?
The wine list at Daniel’s Charcuterie has been hand-selected by a sommelier, so you’re sure to find something that appeals to your palate. Bonus: You can get $8 glasses of house red, white or rosé and 30 percent off bottles of wine to go. Italian sparkling sodas and craft beer are available as well.
Coming soon: Imagine picking up a few “chef’s choice” boards, a tray of sandwiches and a bottle of wine for a summer outing like Concerts in the Park a few blocks away in Hodges Park or a trip to listen to your favorite band at Ravinia. Sounds enticing, no? They also do a ton of catering and host private parties as well.
“We made it through our first year, gotten our feet wet, and we are in a good place now to try out a few specials and menu changes,” Daniel adds. “Things are constantly evolving, which is the best part.”