If you’re familiar with J.P. Graziano Grocery & Sub Shop, then read along and nod your head in agreement while we further emphasize all the praise you’ve already heard. If you’re unfamiliar, then listen up, because this is an educational session to file under “important things you need to know.” Lose the geography knowledge because nobody cares Sacramento is the capital of California anyway.
J.P.’s has thrived as a small Italian market in the West Loop for over 75 years. The majority of its business caters to importing and selling wholesale products, but there has always been a select number of spices, pastas, and other Italian specialties available to buy. But with the transformation of the West Loop from a meatpacking and manufacturing area to a hub of fancy restaurants and apartments, fourth generation owner Jim Graziano decided it was the perfect time to set up a sandwich counter on site.
And why not? The Graziano family was already importing high end Italian meats and cheeses, plus a fresh daily supply of D’Amatos bread from down the street. Jim realized he could provide a sandwich supply to an increasingly inherent demand - Econ 101 – we told you this would be educational.
Today, J.P Graziano makes some of the best old school Italian subs in town, and you should pop into the no frills store for a quick and fresh lunchtime bite. Dine in at one of the few small tables, or more often than not pick up a sandwich to go. The bread has a bit of crunch on the outside while maintaining an airy center, and the imported meats and cheeses are as good as they come. J.P Graziano doesn’t serve gigantic and crazy concoctions, but few things are better than a simple Italian or turkey sandwich done well. Spice things up with some homemade mild or hot giardiniera, which you only need to ask for by ordering a sandwich with “mild” or “hot.”
It's the kind of place we see all different kinds of people, including businessman, mechanics, cops, and moms with babies in tow. That's the sign of a good place to eat.
The house specialty named after current owner Jim’s father. A combo of provolone, hot sopresatta, prosciutto di parmi, genoa salami, hot oil, marinated artichokes, basil, lettuce, red wine vinegar & oregano, and a bit of house made truffle mustard balsamic vinaigrette. The truffle vinaigrette is delicate enough that it doesn't overpower everything else.
The classic, and a good one at that. Hot capicola, genoa salami, hard salami, mortadella, provolone, tomato, lettuce, and red wine vinegar with oregano. Despite the number of ingredients, it’s not overbearing, but rather artfully done.
The tuna is made to order for every sandwich, which means it doesn't sit around in a jar all day. Ingredients include your choice of mayo, roasted red peppers, celery, onion, artichoke lettuce, provolone, tomato, and hot or mild giardiniera.
Despite the flare of some of the other sandwiches, this is our favorite and personal go-to. Turkey breast with provolone, roasted red peppers, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and don’t forget the giardiniera.
The good stuff capped with an Amerena cherry on both ends. Treat yo self.