Celebrating National Sandwich Month is easy; just find a great sub and chow down. But don’t go for just any ol’ sandwich, and forget about chain stores like Subway. Rather, get the best of the best, starting with this list and then working your way down this one, which is chock-full of fabulous local eats, many of which are found in Italian grocery stores. Buon appetito!
1120 W. Grand Ave. Chicago, IL 60642
When you first walk in to this West Loop shop, it looks like an Italian grocery store, but make your way to the back and you can grab a variety of meats, as well as sandwiches made to order. Many of the menu items feature sliced meats and cheeses, but that’s not all. When you have a craving for a classic meatball sub or an Italian sausage, this is the place to go. Even better, the sandwich sizes come in nine-inch, 12-inch and three-foot varieties for your next party. Bari even offers delivery.
Publican Quality Meats
825 W. Fulton Market St.
Chicago, IL 60607
As one of Paul Kahan’s many creations, you already know that this restaurant, also known as PQM, is going to be good. Step inside any day of the week and you’ll be greeted with a case of delicious cuts of meats, as well as breads and artisanal cheeses, but it also has a menu full of top-notch sandwiches. The best day to go is Saturday when Publican is serving up a warm porchetta sandwich. The meat itself is unbelievable, cooked as it is with rosemary, coriander, red pepper and garlic. But the sandwich really becomes otherworldly when you take a bite and also get a taste of red onion and cucumber.
John Hancock Center
875 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Not all Italian restaurants or sandwich shops are located in Little Italy, or the Randolph Corridor. Just look at L’Appetito, which established not one, but two Italian grocery and deli shops in the heart of the city (both in the John Hancock building and in the Gold Coast). All sandwiches from the deli are made to order, starting with breakfast, when you can grab a hot breakfast panini made on ciabatta bread and topped with eggs, bacon or ham, and cheese. For lunch, an array of both American and Italian sandwiches (including tostinos) are available, but its the Italian dishes that particularly hit the spot. One such tostino sandwich is the rosina, which is made with a few slices of prosciutto cotto and layered with roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella — a simple, but stellar combination, much like the rest of the menu. You can also grab a sandwich for dinner, but just keep in mind that L’Appetito closes by 6:30 p.m. most nights, unless it’s the summer and you’re at the John Hancock building location.
Related: Best Breakfast Sandwiches In Chicago
901 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607
www.jpgraziano.comEat like the West Loop restaurant chefs do and head to this Italian grocery store on the Randolph Corridor. While J.P. Graziano’s started as an importer of delicious Italian eats, it later expanded to include a small deli counter. Today, you can grab some old school eats made on nine-inch D’Amato’s Bakery bread and wrapped up in a brown paper bag, and do some grocery shopping all at the same time. Try the Mr. G sandwich ($9.25) with imported sharp provolone, Prosciutto di Parma, Volpi genoa salami and truffle mustard balsamic vinaigrette, among other fresh toppings.
174 N. Franklin St.
Chicago, IL 60606
Arrive early to this Loop hotspot (to beat the line) and come with a big appetite, because the sandwiches here are absolutely enormous. Each sandwich is piled high with your choice of meat, especially if you’re ordering from the triple decker sandwich menu. Most of these triple deckers clock in around $10, but before you scoff at the price, just know that you’re getting an enormous sandwich that can easily be two meals, whether you’re chowing down on the Frenchy’s Fantasy (made with rare roast beef) or the Carolina (with ham and turkey breast), among plenty of other options. For a bit smaller of a sandwich — but just as much flavor — opt for the “old world” sandwiches instead. And one last note? Don’t talk on your cell phone while in Perry’s or an alarm will sound.
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.