Bari Foods (Grocery Store, River West)

Location: 1120 W. Grand Ave
Phone: (312) 666-0730
Cuisine: Italian Grocery Store

Who makes the greatest sub sandwiches in Chicago? Um…Potbelly’s of course! Nope not Bari Foods, never heard of them, just move along there’s nothing good about that place. Ok, so I’m having trouble writing this article. Chicagoans love a good sammy and there’s a lot of options for a sub, which is the only thing keeping the greatest sub sandwich place in Chicago from exploding with popularity. So if you decide to read this article do me a favor and keep it to your damn self! Once you’ve been to Bari’s, you’ll never go anywhere else.

Bari Foods is in actuality an Italian Grocery store in Noble Square, a lesser known Italian neighborhood bordering River West. This place has remained a well kept secret for a reason, its appearance is nothing but a small, cramped mom and pop corner store with a few aisles of Italian/American food stuffs. But it won’t take you long to find the small line at the deli counter at the back, loaded with various cuts of deli meat and cheeses, various pasta salads and olive tapenades along with a few choice butcher items. It is here you order your sandwich from a fairly small menu, a menu you cannot go wrong with.

Obviously my first recommendation is the Italian Sub. It is their choice selections of in-house salami, capicola, mortadella, provolone and a house made giardiniera that will blow you away. But if you’re a vegetarian then read this very carefully; their vegetarian sandwich is as good as any meat sandwich I’ve ever had. It’s got this oily eggplant that saturates the French bread and causes the meatochular nerve in your brain to momentarily short circuit. Every other sub they offer is fantastic as well and since their ingredients are all house made you can pickup the goods and recreate their Italian stallions at home.

Their grocery items are also top notch with fresh pasta’s, fresh sauces and various imported ingredients from the big boot. They’ll cut a mean steak at the deli counter too, a full loin occupying the deli case ready to be sliced per order. Just hold your thumb and forefinger up in the air and say “give me a steak, this thick”. With modest pricing to go with it, you might find Bari Foods is now on your list of trusty grocers.

If old school Italian food is a fast track to your sweet spot then Bari Foods cannot be missed. This is what’s known as a true “neighborhood gem” and if it’s on any of your routes then you’ll soon find it to be a frequent stop. Then again, forget I said anything. Go eat your five dollar foot long and leave me and my sub in peace. A secret this good must be carefully guarded after all. A secret for just you, me and UPchicago.

The Essentials:

Bari Foods
1120 W. Grand Ave
(312) 666-0730

David Frankel McLean

About David Frankel McLean

I’ve been thinking philosophically about Chicago since I was jaywalking the streets at the age of 10. I don’t root for both baseball teams and I don’t put Ketchup on my hot dogs. When someone says they’re a Chicagoan they are speaking of a heritage and a doctrine, not just a location. What that doctrine is I’m not entirely sure, it’s constantly changing with the growth of the city and I’ll spend my entire life trying to figure it out.

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