What an amazing trip to Chicago! As some of you may have read last week (Chicago: Sandwich Tour), I went on a one day trip to Chicago. I can’t think of a better city to do a SandwichTour. My friend Adam lived in Chicago, and was the perfect person to do a guy’s trip to the Windy City with. The culture that city has, and the delicious food, makes it one of my favorite cities to visit.
We took the 1st Southwest flight out of Orlando to Chicago Midway. When we got to the city it was 75 degrees, perfect weather for our plans. We took the Orange train and started towards our 1st location: JP Graziano. The Sandwich King himself recommended this place to me. Jeff Mauro had suggested some places to visit that I listed previously. He provided me with many options. I knew I could not hit them all, but I knew after his recommendation and Yelp’s reviews we had to go to JP Graziano first.
As we started walking into the suburbs I knew we were walking to a hidden gem & my stomach and I were building up with anticipation and hunger. We walked over a mile and a half, so we were ready to eat.
Entering JP Graziano’s you walk into a corner store that has been in Chicago since 1937. This is a 4th generation family owned grocery. You can see the barrels of fresh dried herbs & an assortment of cheeses, pastas, oils, olives, etc. available for purchase.
We got to see firsthand Jim greet locals and regulars as they came in for sandwiches and items. We also felt welcome from the time we walked in. It was great seeing that the family was working all together.
I ordered the Italian sub. It was one of the best I had ever had. I could tell that they took their time making it. In every bite I could taste the meats and all the ingredients blended. The only condiments were spices, vinegar and oil. The best part is that they actually toss the oil/vinegar/spices with the lettuce so it holds all the flavor and then they spread it on top of all the freshly sliced meats. The bread is also the key. Their bread is from a local coal fired oven bakery. So you get the crustiness outside and the softness inside.
Adam had the Mr. G. The Mr. G is their specialty sandwich. It’s dedicated to Jim’s dad and has sharp imported provolone, hot sopressata, prosciutto di parma, volpi genoa salami, truffle mustard, balsamic vinaigrette, hot oil, roman style artichoke, fresh basil lettuce w/ red wine vinegar & oregano.
We had the pleasure of meeting Jim who is continuing with the family business. The Italian grocery store has been open for 76 years, they use to only sell to commercial/restaurants. However, in the past few years they started selling to the public. It has only been four years since they started making sandwiches.
I loved seeing locals come in as they knew each other. I also appreciated that they knew what it takes to make a sandwich- it’s not rocket science and a sandwich is simple. However, it’s about how you craft it, the fresh ingredients and the bread. All things that JP Grazino does.
There were many great places that were near but after that tasty sub we needed to keep moving. So we kept walking in the Western Loop till we came across Glazed & Infused. We just had to walk in.
Glazed & Infused is a donut shop that has some very tasty donuts. First thing that greeted us was the sweet delicious smell. Then we saw the Maple Bacon Long John. I knew that this would be my tasty donut sandwich with the help of a knife. The girls at the shop were all super nice and when we told them we were on a Sandwich Tour and in the Windy City for the day they loved it. They also packed some sweet treats for us to take on the road.
From our glazed coma we headed out to Wrigley to try & make a Chicago Cubs game. We knew we would not be able to eat at other sandwich stops if we stayed for the whole game, we still went. Once we got to Wrigley it started raining. So we decided instead to go for a drink, recharge our phones & watch some baseball at the Cubby Bear across from Wrigley Field. After a few brews we set our Google Maps to Cheesies Pub & Grub.
Cheesies Pub & Grub is a restaurant/bar. They are all about the cheese. From the moment you walk in you can see their love for cheese on their menu & grilled cheese murals painted on the American/cheddar cheese colored walls.
They have a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, homemade soups & beers on tap & bottle. $4 happy hour all day. (speaking of beers we got to sample a beer they have that is a Root Beer Beer- tastes just like root beer buts it’s 19% proof depending on what day of the week it is.)
Adam ordered the Tradicion and I had the Tenderizer.
THE TRADICION is a Chihuahua cheese, chorizo and fresh cut jalapenos on Texas toast. Served with spicy chipotle mayo dipping sauce.
THE TENDERIZER is a Cheddar, Mozzarella cheese, hot sauce, bacon, fried chicken tenders and Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce on Texas toast. Served with ranch dipping sauce.
I eyed the great looking homemade soups but I did not have some.
I wore my In Grilled Cheese I Trust shirt at Cheesies & they were all about it. When you walk in next time look for a Grilled Cheese Biggie Bread sticker at the bar.
This place is super good and they make the cheese the star, with the fillings and bread as the strong supporting cast.
From there we walked some more and saw some of Adam’s favorite spots in the city and started making our way to Little Italy where Jim, from JP Graziano said we needed to try Mario’s Italian lemonade & eat some of his Italian beefs.
However, from where we were in the city to Little Italy was bit of a commute, even in a Taxi it would be a mad dash back to Midway to catch the last flight back to Orlando, FL.
Since the idea of eating an Italian Beef on the SandwichTour sound so good, I ended up ordering one at the airport. I had one from Gold Coast Dogs. Was it the best? No. Was it the best for being in an Airport with our flight about to take off? Yes.
All in all, we did a lot of walking (over 26k step/10 mi. per my pedometer) and met some great people, passionate about their food. We ate some delicious food from some local businesses. The bonus was I was able to tell and share with others about Deli Fresh Threads. This Sandwich Tour was a success. I couldn’t have done it without Adam’s help and his travel hookup!
Hope you enjoy & maybe it will get you & your friends to do a SandwichTour of your own; even if it just in your own city.