Food and Drink the Chicago Tribune Loves

Opened in 1937, J.P. Graziano in the West Loop represents the clearest relic of what West Randolph Street looked like before it radically transformed into Chicago’s trendy restaurant row. To help the company survive the transition of the neighborhood, the shop established the city’s best Italian sandwich operation in 2007. That means that every single component of the sub is cared for, from the crusty bread to the freshly sliced meat and cheese. Even the lettuce, which lesser shops toss on haphazardly, is dressed to order, so that each bite has a pleasing vinegar tang. If you’re OK with real heat, make sure to ask for some of the shop’s house-made giardiniera, which is an incendiary mix of chiles and other crunchy vegetables in oil. The massive sandwich ($8), about the size of your forearm, is wrapped up tight in white paper, often by the fourth-generation owner Jim Graziano. While you can certainly find fancier restaurants in the immediate area, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than this. 901 W. Randolph St., 312-666-4587, — Nick Kindelsperger


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