Image of Johnny B's courtesy jimbo a. via Yelp
The Lardo sandwich cart is finally going brick-and-mortar. The Oregonian is the first to report that chef/owner Rick Gencarelli will take over the SE Hawthorne space that was the long-time home to the Johnny B's diner, across the street from the Cartopia cart pod.
According to Gencarelli — who is partnering with ChefStable's Kurt Huffman for the project — the lease should be made official later today, bringing the popular Lardo out of the Good Food Here pod and into permanent digs, complete with an outdoor patio and expanded menu. "Being out the cart will allow me to offer more sandwiches," Gencarelli tells Eater. "Right now they're in rotation because I can only physically do six or seven at the cart. This will allow me to do all of them, including seasonal specials." (In addition to the popular porchetta sandwich and pork belly banh mi, Gencarelli serves up killer seasonal veggie sandwiches, like a broccoli rabe with peppers.) Expect a menu expansion that also includes "at least one or two soups and a couple of salads," in addition to at least 16 beers available on tap.
The brick-and-mortar restaurant, however, also marks the end for the Lardo cart. "I would love to hang onto it — it's been great for me," Gencarelli says. "But the plan was always to launch from it. It doesn't make sense to hang onto it — hopefully it'll be as good to [a new owner] as it was to me." Though Gencarelli hopes for a seamless transition from cart to restaurant, "I don't think that it'll be possible," he says. "In a dream world, Lardo will be open until the day that the brick-and-mortar opens."
The Lardo restaurant is shooting for an opening in the first week of June, with tentative hours: 11am-midnight, daily. More information as it becomes available.
· Lardo [Official site]
· All Previous Lardo Coverage [Eater PDX]