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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

Portage Park’s Frunchroom Ditches Breakfast, Adds Dinner Service

Frunchroom uses seasonal and local ingredients to create flavors that are influenced by traditional Italian and Jewish deli-style fare.

Items from frunchroom's "chalkboard menu" which includes cheese, charcuterie and fish.
Image courtesy frunchroom.
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PORTAGE PARK — You can now eat dinner in the frunchroom.

After focusing on breakfast and lunch for their first few months in business, the Portage Park restaurant with a very Chicago name is now open for dinner.   

Named after the pronunciation of “front room” by someone with a heavy “Chuh-Kaw-Go” accent, frunchroom at 4042 N. Milwaukee Ave. first opened its doors in April. The new dinner menu includes hanger steak, grilled octopus tartine and lamb merguez sausage.

“It’s really inspired by the Italian and Jewish delis that I grew up with, all that cured meat,” said Matt Saccaro, the chef and owner of the restaurant. “We do all of our own charcuterie and cured fishes. And so those things are a very important part of the menu. They’re something that is kind of just available all day long.”

Saccaro said he always considered expanding into dinner at some point, but he wanted to get a feel for the location first. For now, he said they are going to scrap breakfast and focus on a solid lunch and dinner menu.

“That’s not to say that we won’t do breakfast again,” Saccaro said. “I would love to do an all day café kind of thing, but for now we thought it would just be a better idea to focus on doing a really great dinner.”

While the lunch and weekend brunch menus haven’t really changed, the new dinner menu was rolled out on June 19 and includes items like grilled octopus tartine served with citrus aïoli, pickled fennel and oregano ($14) and smoked pork ribs and corn relish served with sherry glaze, house pickles ($12).

“Serving dinner allows us to focus more on making our handmade pastas and some more entrée sized dishes,” Saccaro said. “So we’re able to use some of these great vegetables, especially now that summer is here … we had less of an opportunity to use them in our breakfast and lunch menus.”

A gnocchi dish is also being added to the menu, along with “more ‘snack-y’ fried things” to share, he said. 

The frunchroom remains focused on seasonal and local ingredients to craft flavors influenced by traditional Italian and Jewish deli-style fare without being constrained by it, Saccaro said. 

“I just want to make it accessible for someone to get really good, quality food and be able to keep our prices reasonable,” he said. “We’re BYOB and this is really a neighborhood restaurant, you know? The whole idea is still counter service at dinner. I guess I just want to be able to open up this kind of cuisine to as wide of an audience as possible.”

The restaurant’s new hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Lunch is served until 3 p.m. and dinner is served from 5 p.m. to close. On weekends brunch is still served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Here’s a look at some of the dishes: