The Italian Food Aisle is back – NBC Chicago

Chicago has several pockets of Italian culture: the original Little Italian on Taylor Street, as well as the West 24 . areaThe tenth Street and Oakley Avenue as well as part of North Harlem Avenue.

Steve Dolinsky of NBC 5’s Food Guy says there was also a vibrant lane along Grand Avenue in West Town at one point. Recently, that area has been experiencing a slow comeback.

For decades, the area around Grand Avenue, about a mile or so west of downtown, has had Italian grocers, bakeries, and restaurants. There are still a few strongholds, as well as some fresh blood, pumping energy into an area that seems to have lost many of its pioneers.

At Tempesta Market, the great family-owned Italian restaurant behind the city’s best ‘nduja, the status of the deli is the focal point, according to Dolinsky. Spicy and spreadable Calabrian sausage joins other meats in a menu filled with subs and sandwiches.

Down the block, the legendary D’Amato sells bread from his coal-fired oven, while Bari also serves sandwiches and groceries. Across the street is Gemma’s brand-new Foods – an epidemic project that has become a full-time job.

“I started cooking for friends, and I showed them, I said ‘Hey, I’m going to make some pasta, are you interested?'” It’s going to be a restaurant-level experience in your own home, said Tony Quartaro, owner of Gemma Foods, “and suddenly it’s a thing.”

The pasta here is treated with respect.

Quartaro lives deep in flour and eggs, making some with a fancy extruder, others by hand. The details on the ravioli are amazing. Filled with ricotta cheese, sealed and chopped, few restaurants can compete with this level of skill.

“We have three classics on our menu: Canstre la vodka, and then we also do pacheri with Sunday broth, Bucatini Casio e Pepe,” he said.

You can have the pasta delivered or shipped and then buy the sauces separately to assemble at home.

“You add some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce a bit and then bring it together in a skillet,” Quartaro said.

If you’d rather have someone else cook your pasta, there’s Elina’s, a cozy new eatery on Grand Avenue west of Racine Street. Vodka Rigatoni isn’t a home favorite, as is the fluffy, fluffy chicken Parmesan. Most pastas are made at home. The small dining room fills up quickly, so don’t be shy about eating at the bar.

A few blocks from the Grand, the new Paolo Gelato is partially hidden behind the entrance to the CTA, but it is well worth the effort. Everything is handmade, including the pistachio dough.

“Pistachios are something I decided to start with because I really wanted to do good, and it takes a lot of time,” said Paul Petrikowski, owner.

“You have to roast the pistachios first, and then there’s a mill that runs small pieces of pistachios.”

Also, the trio – which contains dulce de leche, chocolate and hazelnut, or tricky chocolate mint. The shop is the culmination of a dream that began in Poland, but is now fully realized here.

“This was the part that I love to do that creates something new,” he said.

Here are the establishments you can visit in the neighborhood:

Tempesta Market

1372 W Grand Ave.


Jima Food

1117 W Grand Ave.


Paulo Gelato

1058 W Chicago Ave.



1124 W Grand Ave.


Bari Foods

1120 W Grand Ave.


to us

1202 W Grand Ave.



1201 W Grand Ave.


Cool Fire Pizza

1321 W. Grand Ave.


Aya Pastries

1332 W Grand Ave.


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