Restaurants Bars
Entertainment Restaurants Bars

Worth a trip: The Mr. G sub at J.P. Graziano Grocery Co.

It's not just a sandwich. It's an obsession. The meat and cheese on the Mr. G sub ($8.25) at J.P. Graziano (901 W. Randolph St. 312-666-4587) is sliced in the same order every time: provolone followed by prosciutto, Genoa salami and hot sopressata (or "supersod" --like Tony Soprano, Jim Graziano uses the Neapolitan dialect to describe his meats. If the meats aren't cut that way, the order is restarted. It's a quality control mechanism so the sandwich makers know what they're making. Graziano said, "It's might seem controlling, but that detail is what makes great food."

If you've ever scraped the roof of your mouth on a crusty sub bun, you can appreciated that Graziano cuts the sandwich on a bias, which makes it easier to take the first bite of the crispy-crusted coal-fired Italian loaf from D'Amato's Bakery.

The condiments--Roman-style artichokes, basil, red wine vinegar-dressed lettuce and tangy funky truffle-mustard vinaigrette (whipped up daily from products Graziano sells to his wholesale customers) offset the richness of the meats. The vinaigrette is slathered on both sides of the bun, while a spicy oil, reserved from hot giardinara brine, is drizzled on only one side to prevent sogginess.

The sandwich was inspired by the Will Special--a sub invented by local foodie Will Philpot with the folks at Riviera Italian & American Imported Foods (3220 N. Harlem Ave.)—that a local food writer asked Graziano to recreate at his shop. Graziano said, "I love the guys at Riviera. They're one of my oldest wholesale customers. I recreated the sub they do, but then I started thinking of ways to improve it to my taste." His father, also Jim Graziano, but known as Mr. G, had recently passed away, so the younger Graziano named the sub after him. Graziano said, "It puts a smile on my face to hear my dad's name with every order."

If you've never ordered a Mr. G, Graziano will try to steer you away. He said, "I always tell people to order an Italian sub first. If we can't make an Italian sub, why would you try anything else?" Graziano has impeccable taste, but don't listen to him. Trust us, he makes a great Italian, but it's the Mr. G you want.

Michael Nagrant is a RedEye special contributor. Reporters visit restaurants unannounced and meals are paid for by RedEye. | @redeyeeatdrink

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Yep, I took my dad to Lollapalooza

    I suppose I should be old enough to know by now that something doesn't become un-cool just because your parent is there.

  • Lollapalooza style portraits

    Lollapalooza style portraits

    Concertgoers pose at the three-day fest in Grant Park.

  • Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 2: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    And just like that, there’s only one day left of Lolla. Here’s what stood out to us from day 2. Best: The Tallest Man on Earth: Maybe it was just a right-mood, right-set situation, but boy this was the perfect mid-day act to take a breather, sit in the sun, and just chill and listen to and enjoy....

  • 50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    50 Cent at Parliament and Wyclef Jean at The Underground

    Shots in The Dark at Parliament Nightclub with 50 Cent and The Underground Nightclub with Wyclef Jean and Joey Fatone July 31st

  • Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    Lolla day 1: Best and worst, plus superlatives

    One day down! Here’s the best and worst we saw at Lolla on Friday, plus a few superlatives from day 1. Best: Anyone who knows me knows I was bound to pick Paul McCartney as my favorite act of the day. The Beatle came out and gave it his all with more than two hours of hits, tributes and jokes about...

  • Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    Lolla day 1: Let's just rename it Paul-apalooza

    What can you really say about Sir Paul McCartney, the former Beatle, pop music pioneer, worldwide cultural icon, and all-around great guy, that hasn't already been said? I mean, seriously. With the Beatles changing music for the better, becoming a pop culture institution and being "more popular...