La familia has returned from vacay. So, I can't help myself. My cravings are steering me towards a self-described "hidden gem" of the West Loop. During my arts & entertainment intermission, I am having visions of a Mr. G Italian sub sandwich from J.P. Graziano Grocery.
Believe me, you will be tempted to put on the feedbag and enjoy every ounce of Prosciutto di Parma, imported provolone, hot sopresatta, oil and seasonings (napkin under chin, in position for the drippies) and bite into one of these freshly-prepared sandwiches. It is truly Mangia Nirvana.
For almost 75 years, Graziano has operated as a wholesale grocer and retail store. So, in addition to shopping online for pasta and balsamic vinegar, workers, residents and passers-by have another reason to stop in to see business-savvy son Jim, Mom Maryellen and sister DeAna.
Since this old warehouse remains a well-stocked store of Italian specialty items, you can also take home a can of La Squisita white kidney beans, sliced meats and a jar of Del Destino hearts of artichokes.
I am only sorry that my Uncle Tony, Uncle Charlie and my other Uncle Tony aren't here with me to enjoy this place, located among the nitty-gritty Fulton Market meat packers and vegetable vendors. They would be telling me (loudly) what to order, where to sit and how nobody knows how to make anything anymore....except for those who have come from Sicily.
I also think I know why Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is constantly cavorting with underage "dancers." There must be something in the olive oil.
J.P. Graziano Grocery Co., Inc.
901 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607