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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Logan Square’s Diversey Dining Boom Continues With Former Au Cheval Chef Opening New Spot

Sam Engelhardt is opening En Passant, an "old world comfort food" restaurant, at 3010 W. Diversey Ave. this summer.

Sam Engelhardt (left) is opening an “old world comfort food” restaurant, called En Passant, at 3010 W. Diversey Ave. sometime this summer.
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LOGAN SQUARE — A restaurant industry veteran whose resume includes top-rated Au Cheval is opening his first restaurant on Logan Square’s Diversey Avenue.

Sam Engelhardt is opening an “old world comfort food” restaurant, called En Passant, at 3010 W. Diversey Ave. sometime this summer.

When the restaurant opens, it’ll be the latest addition to the stretch, which was dubbed Chicago’s new “restaurant row” for its growing number of acclaimed eateries.

Engelhardt is drawing from his years of culinary experience and childhood recipes to craft the menu, which will include dishes like fish pie with cold tarragon, mirepoix, pie crust, smelt and tartar and Choucroute Garnie, an Alsatian dish made with kielbasa sausages, sauerkraut, raisins, bacon, apples and yukon gold potatoes.

“I’m German so [the latter dish] is a little fancier version of what my mom used to make,” Engelhardt said.

“When people invite you into their home, and you get to try their home cooking, it’s always the best because they put so much into it. Those are the dishes I connect with.”

Engelhardt is a Florida native who moved to Chicago 11 years ago with the goal of eventually opening his own restaurant. He went on to work for a number of restaurants including Longman & Eagle, Chicago Firehouse Restaurant and Kith & Kin. Notably, he was the opening chef de cuisine at Au Cheval, a West Loop eatery known for its burger.

Engelhardt said after years of cooking in other people’s restaurants, he’s ready to strike out on his own. He hosted an En Passant pop-up dinner at Baker Miller over the weekend to gear up for the opening.

“I’ve seen a lot of things, I’m still learning every day with food, but … I finally have a style that I could say is my own,” he said.

En Passant will have a “warm” vibe with dark wood finishes, a 40-seat dining area, a seven-seat bar and a chef’s table with a special menu, according to Engelhardt. Menu prices are still being worked out, but Engelhardt said he doesn’t want the restaurant to be cost prohibitive.

“I want people to be able to go out for a casual dinner and not break the bank,” he said.

Engelhardt named the restaurant after a special chess move; he’s a fan of the game and the word is French and helps convey his French culinary leanings, he said.

Logan Square’s Diversey Avenue has become a hot dining destination in recent years, so much so that Crain’s dubbed it Chicago’s new “restaurant row.”

The stretch is already home to Superkhana International, 3059 W. Diversey Ave., Cellar Door Provisions, 3025 W. Diversey Ave., Fat Rice, 2957 W. Diversey Ave., Diversey Wine, 3023 W. Diversey Ave., Masa Azul, 2901 W. Diversey Ave., Four Letter Word Coffee, 3022 W. Diversey Ave. and Lost Lake, 3154 W. Diversey Ave.

Engelhardt, who lives in Logan Square, said the Diversey Avenue dining boom was a factor in choosing En Passant’s location.

“A lot of great restaurants in the area have so well-defined concepts and they’re unique concepts that allows everyone to shine on their own and do what they do best,” he said.

“It’s comforting they’re there. It lets you know people in the area do value quality.”

Eater was first to report on the opening.

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