Friday, September 10, 2010

Bari Italian Foods

-Chicago's Italian Grocers

Welcome back, the football season has begun and with that it means the Fall is here and so is primetime grilling and Smokin' season. You can expect alot of football related food posts on chibbqking and today's is a Chicago classic that me and many, many others just cant get enough of. Bari Food's on Grand ave. is one of the few Italian grocery stores/delis left in that area and is a spot I get too more so than often during the pigskin season. It's just a little storefront that used to be easier to spot when it had a sign, but that's been gone for a while. Bari is mentioned on some printed paper plastered on the windows along with some current sales. But the fact of the matter is Bari don't need no damn sign, it's a Chicago institution that I've been going to since I was a kid. Oh and what do I think about the 2010 Bears? No comment. I could write an entire story in itself about how weird of an organization the Bears are. All of the the people running it from the coordinators to the coach to the front office to the owners, all odd. Why do they have to be so god damn weird at Halas Hall? Oh well at least I know I got Bari this season.

a Chicago legend (pic by Bertran Projects. Circa 2006)

Bari is a family owned Italian grocer known for having one of the best sandwiches in Chicago along with a great deli/butcher and most everything you need for cooking up an Italian feast . They do it all right at Bari and take hardly any shortcuts and that includes making the sausage in house and cutting meats to customers specifications along with homemade canned and bottled goods like those seen below. The super hot giardiniera is what it says it is. it's not for those who don't like it HOT. i brought a jar of this stuff to the cooks at my hotel in Jamaica and they thought it was scorching. My buddy likes to use it in his housemade marinara sauce to take it up another level. This stuff is great for tailgates and just to have in your fridge for those that think they can handle it all.

Bari makes alot of its own items

It's by no means a big place, its actually pretty small but between the four short aisles and the deli counter/butcher in back they pack the place up with a great selection of offerings. Like I said above, its a place you can go get a bunch of stuff needed for a feast or even a tailgate. I love going to Bari and the feeling it gives me of going back in time to an old school butcher and what that was like back before I was even around. The place has a great charm and real character to it.

Fresh sliced deli meats, dried sausages, salads, antipasta, they got it all

Cured sausages are big with da superfans

Perhaps Bari's biggest money maker is its deli in the back where they pump out 100's and 100's of fresh made to order subs on a daily basis. You can almost always count on there being a line to order a sandwich off the menu on the wall in back surrounded by Chicago sports memorabilia. If you call ahead they'll have your order ready within 15 minutes or so. There's never a bad time to get a sandwich from here but I love to get the three footers early Sunday morning and eat them for the first slate of NFL games.

The line extends to the aisles for sandwiches

The sandwich menu

Bari is my gold standard for an Italian sub and where I will usually end up when I'm craving one mightily. Its the use of quality meat cuts with fresh ingredients, both of full of flavor that really sets them apart from the rest. Everyone loves the Italian and it is my go to "with hot". The bread is delivered fresh several times a day from D'amato's bakery next door. It's also the sandwiches strongest quality. The crunchy French bread is the best of its kind in the city and they got it right next door whenever they need it. Always super fresh. Any best sandwich in Chicago list of mine includes an Italian from Bari. Others swear by the prosciutto and fresh mozzarella. They're all good.

Italian sub with hot from Bari

--Tailgatin' and how to make mofos start playa hatin' (Recipes)

Located to the right of where you wait for your sandwich to be made is the butcher. This is where you go to get all of your gameday and at home grilling needs. If your planning a big Sunday night Italian dinner than Bari is a spot to shop at if your in the vicinity. Along with all sorts of specialty products you'll find some great meats and sausage. Like I said up above this place is an old school butcher and will take care of you with beef, pork, chicken and some of the best housemade sausage in Chicago. Its a S'C'&C Hall of Fame legend.

Bari's butcher case

Sausage is made fresh in house with mild, hot and Barese being available

I got a little tailgate recipe that's sure to be a go getter and instant touchdown at any grilling event. The best part of it all is you can get everything you need for this simple yet so succulent recipe at the great Bari foods. I never order Italian sausage sandwiches from restaurants or beef shacks with the exception of Combos from Johnnies. This is because this sandwich here is what I want when I am in dire need of some Italian tube steak. The Barese sausage is some of my favorite sausage of any kind. Its a little smaller and is ground with garlic and herbs and made with sheep casing as opposed to pig casing which is what they use for the Italian sausage. Both are amazing so you might as well have the two of them. Read on.

The Bari Gameday Sausage Sandwich @ Home

Bari Sausage Sandwich


-1 lb each of hot Italian sausage and Barese sausage from Bari's
-1 loaf of french bread from D'Amato's next door (at the moment across the street)
-2 cups/cans beef stock
-3 green peppers, sliced for sweet peppers
-2 smashed garlic cloves and some crushed red pepper


1) Start out by grilling the sausage (over charcoal for best results in taste and flavor) and sauteing the sliced peppers in a pan on the stove with oil or butter. When peppers get that nice color add in the smashed garlic and let it cook for couple minutes more. Then dump in the beef stock and red pepper flakes and let it come to an almost boil and then put the heat on low.

2) Slice bread and place a piece of hot Italian in the middle and a couple pieces of barese sausage next to it. Add sweet peppers on top and then dip the sandwich at each end into the stock and then take a spoon and pour some gravy over the sausage and peppers.

Grilled Sausage and the sweet peppers in beef stock

Always a satisfying sandwich

-Chicago's Italian Grocers

Another Grand ave. classic

I mentioned in the post that Bari gets it's bread delivered fresh from a bakery next door named D'amato's. I also said that this is where you need to go to get a loaf of French bread for the recipe up above and any other recipe that calls for it. D'amato's is another one of my favorite spots and since it's linked to Bari and a place I visit often when going to Bari I'm featuring it on here with them. Stop here for all your baked bread needs and some amazing cookies for after the grilling fests and while your at it get some of their pizza bread, its the best snack to munch on while getting the grill and everything else ready for the festivities. As of summer of 2010 they are remodeling their location next door to Bari but are open across the street.

D'amato's pizza bread (Veggie on L and sausage on R)

Bari Italian Foods
1120 W Grand Ave # 1
Chicago, IL 60642-6048
(312) 666-0730

Bari Foods on Urbanspoon

D'amato's Bakery
1124 West Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642-5801
(312) 733-5455

D'Amato's Bakery on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

OMG I love the super hot giardinera at Bari. the pleasure of pain. and the barese sausage is amazing.

and D'amato's has so many authntic italian treats that you can't find anywhere else near downtown.

great post

Mike said...

I read this post about Italian grocers and I was in heaven!

Reminds me of when we were kids and we would go into Chicago and my dad and mom would stock up at various stores.

Thanks for the memories.

Anonymous said...

Dude I was looking for a resturant or store that sells the replica of soldier field made out of sandwiches. But when this site pulled up and I went on it WHOA! Grand ave here I come I can't wait to get that sausage sandwich! Great job guys. If anyone knows of the snadwich I seek. Hit up at udkbree76@yahoo.

Anonymous said...

this ex chicago girl has a hankering for some d'amato's pizza bread; california can't compete with chicago food. any chance you know how to recreate that flavor at home?

signed, santa barbara missing santa amato.


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