Italian-American Comfort Food
Out West on Grand avenue you'll find a part of Chicagoland where old school Italian is still going strong. Suburbs like Melrose Park and Franklin park have multiple family owned businesses of the Italian variety. Today we head to the latter to get a taste of some real deal Chicago style Italian.
Locals Favorite in Franklin Park
Owner's Carl Dote and his wife Paula have been a part of the area forever. She used to cook at a local deli that's well known for their Italian-American comfort food and as of a year or two ago they went out on their own. Paula's Cafe is their place and it's quickly become a locals favorite. I stop in now and then when I can which is usually when I don't have anything to do the rest of the day. Reason being is this is heavy food and eating a plate full of it isn't going to make you motivated to run around. Take for example the Chicago classic of Chicken Vesuvio. Paula's serves a long narrow plate swimming in sauce. The potatoes always come cooked to the perfect tenderness while peas get sprinkled over the top. A near perfect example as the only complaint I have is the chicken is boneless.
The star of the show at Paula's is actually something that came over with her from her previous place of work. The fried meatball sandwich is iconic in these parts and Paula is it's creator. Instead of balls you get a long patty carved out to the size of a sub roll. It gets fried in the pan until nice and colored and then it goes into a roll with sauce and cheese and hot peppers if you please. It's such a good sandwich both in terms of flavor and eatability that it makes you wonder why more spots dont go the route of a patty rather than balls. So often the meatballs end of slipping out but none of that here.
Fried Meatball Sandwich
9400 W Grand Ave
Franklin Park, IL