Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties
-Salameats down South (IL)
You may remember a post I made back in October when I ate like a Roman King for two long, long days down in the IL, IN, KY Tri-State region. As if appetizers from the West Side Nut Club Fall Fest with a main course of Hog Heaven and a meat buffet for dessert in Owensboro, KY with some loose meats on the side wasn't enough eating for an extended family of 34 we needed more food. On day two it was time for a little change of pace from the BBQ...but not the pork. Louie's P&R deli in Herrin, IL is a local treasure that has been supplying the locals with their one of a kind salameats and other amazing homemade sausages and Italian sandwiches for a very long time.
Back in the 80's there were still a few Italian corner delis left in Chicago but by the late 90's and now in 2009 there are barely any left. From the moment we stepped foot in the deli I knew it was something special, something that has become near extinct in Chicago. The family that runs Louie's has been doing it the same way since day one and its all homemade. To my best knowledge the salameat sausage is an old family recipe that they have been using since before the store even opened. They stuff salami (maybe) and other meats in natural casing creating a very memorable sausage experience. If you look around the internet there is very little information about salameats. If anyone has any information on this amazing local treasure please leave me a comment with your knowledge of it. All I know is that these salameats sandwiches are five star roadfood eats. Got it? Good.
Side of the deli
Louie's signature sandwich: salameat served on fresh baked bread with mustard and onions
This sandwich pictured below isn't on the menu but its their famous salameat wrapped in pepperoni and prosciutto covered in homemade red sauce and served with a slice of provolone and peperochinni's on homemade fresh baked bread. You will call it the "Don Barzinini". The town of Herrin had a real Italian presence from the Italian immigrants who came in the early century for mining work and was my favorite little town on the trip. The Italian tradition can be felt pretty heavily in this small town of 12,000. Frank Sinatra was a performer at the city's recreational facility and loved to play bocce ball at the park. There were a couple pizza shacks that looked like they had been around forever, real old school looking with those red and white square table cloths and I just kind of knew they were good and I haven't even been...yet.
Holy Shat! Whats that you ask? The Don Barzinini special
Louie's P & R Deli
120 E Walnut St
Herrin, IL 62948
Herrin Italian Fest