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Graziano's: Italian Groceries on Randolph [pictures]

Graziano's: Italian Groceries on Randolph [pictures]
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  • Graziano's: Italian Groceries on Randolph [pictures]

    Post #1 - February 26th, 2005, 10:19 am
    Post #1 - February 26th, 2005, 10:19 am Post #1 - February 26th, 2005, 10:19 am
    J.P. Graziano Grocery Co., Inc.

    In an essay I posted recently focussing on the Masi's Italian Superior Bakery on Western Avenue in the Tri-Taylor district of the city, I discuss to some degree the demise of the Chicago's old Italian neighbourhoods. As noted there, many of the Italian residents of those neighbourhoods moved out toward the western and northwestern fringe of the city, along Harlem Avenue from around Grand Avenue and on north, or else to the western and northwestern suburbs. It is therefore not surprising that that general and fairly large area boasts a considerable number of fine Italian groceries, bakeries and delicatessens, that is, salumerie, of which there is something of a reasonable concentration around Harlem Avenue on the stretch from around Diversey northward to Belmont and a bit beyond.

    For those of us who live in the city and not especially near to that area, this stretch of Harlem Avenue's 'Corso Italia' seems to have been placed with maximum inconvenience in mind, as it stands roughly halfway between the Kennedy and Eisenhower Expressways and inevitably entails a fairly long drive or else an even longer and multi-staged journey via public transportation. Of course, such a trip can be made as part of a weekend outing, as it were, and that seems especially worth doing now and again if one has specific items on the grocery list, such as the house-made pork products at Riviera or otherwise impossible to find greens such as cime di cicoria at Caputo's. But for those of us who cook and eat Italian food habitually or at least on a very regular basis, the passage to the great Northwest renders the stores of Harlem Avenue and beyond impractical for basic shopping.

    Luckily, in the inner part of the city, especially in the remnants of the old Italian neighbourhoods, a few excellent salumerie such as Bari Foods on Grand Avenue and Conte di Savoia on Taylor Street still exist, which in addition to offering Italian delicatessen services also sell a nice range of Italian grocery items. Also offering various fine Italian packaged goods and fresh items (i.e., salume cheeses) are such upscale stores –– and typically then with especially high prices –– as L'Appetito (locations on Michigan and Huron) and the Whole Food and Treasure Island grocery chains. Indeed, for those of us who live in the city and more toward the Lake or the Southside, good to excellent Italian food products are available at a number of places, but unfortunately at relatively higher retail prices then one encounters on the northwest-side's 'Corso Italia' –– that is, unless one shops at one of the best kept secrets of Chicago's Italian community, J.P. Graziano Grocery Co., Inc. on Randolph Street.

    *****

    Image

    The Grazianos' grocery business dates back approximately to the same year the Italian Superior Bakery opened on Western Avenue, about 1933, but was part of the Italian community of Grand Avenue; the original location was at 1376 Grand near Noble. The business was founded by Jim Graziano, who immigrated to the States in 1905 from Bagheria, a town on the northern coast of Sicily just a short way to the east of Palermo. The first Jim Graziano left the business to his sons, Fred and Paul, and now Fred's son and grandson, both named Jim, are keeping the business alive and well.

    J.P. Graziano Grocery Co. has for some time been first and foremost a wholesaler and importer specialising in Italian foods and as such is well known in local food industry circles. But what is not so well known is that the store is also open to the general public. Given the location of the business, on Randolph Street amidst so many other large-scale food wholesalers and distributors, casual walk-in traffic is probably not common and one could easily drive past the store without noticing the signs that beckon the home cook to enter.

    Now, while the general public is welcome, the basic nature of the business as a wholesaler has some noteworthy implications for the non-commercial buyer. For the most part –– though the Grazianos are in the process of changing this –– items to be sold by weight such as olives and cheese and large sausages and baccalà, are sold in rounded off and large quantities; when I started going to Graziano's, a pound was generally the smallest basic quantity for such items (though, as mentioned above, they are now happy to sell at least some if not all such items by the half pound and are more generally looking to better serve the individual customer). For packaged items, be they cans of tomatoes or olive oil or bags of pasta or small, individually wrapped sausages, obviously no such limitation exists and one can simply buy the quantity of packages desired.

    Now for some people, the limitation of needing to buy, say, a pound of parmigiano reggiano or even half a pound may seem daunting, but of course there comes with limitation a great advantage, namely, much lower prices than one encounters in any of the Italian specialty shops or upscale groceries in the city and prices also significantly lower than one encounters in the high-volume retail stores of the northwest. Of essential importance in this regard, however, is the fact that the lower prices at Graziano's are not special sale prices or attempts to move older or inferior merchandise: these prices reflect the basic wholesale nature of the Grazianos' business and the quality of all the items I've purchased there is as good and typically better than I find in retail shops.

    Here is just a short list of some of the items I've purchased at Graziano's that I've really loved, both for quality and price (typically a few dollars lower than elsewhere per pound):

    • imported provolone, extra sharp
    'ncanestratu, a sharp sheep's milk grating cheese from Sicily
    pecorino romano
    parmigiano
    baccalà
    • oil cured olives
    • small cacciatore sausages
    • Divella brand pasta ($1 per bag)

    In the following pictures, one can see many of these items as well as many others. Herebelow is the main counter with massive chunks of 'ncanestratu and the really delicious extra sharp provolone:

    Image

    More cheeses to be seen through the window of the cooler, including some table pecorinos, Argentine grana, ricotta salata, mascarpone and more:

    Image

    The shelves of the west wall of the store hold many common tinned and bottled goods, such as capanata, roasted peppers and Nutella, but also some less common ones, such as large cans of scungillë. The plastic barrels in the foreground and to the right contain various bulk dry goods, including a wide variety of dried legumes (split peas, various kinds of beans, chick peas, lentils) and dried spices and herbs:

    Image

    In the shelves of the east wall are more canned goods, as well as a nice assortment of shapes of Divella and Granoro pasta. On the bottom shelves there are tinned fish of various kinds, including cans of salted anchovies. In the two boxes with paper inside reside beautiful slabs of our beloved baccalà, with or without bones:

    Image

    One of the pleasures of shopping at Graziano's is talking to Jim Sr. and Jim Jr., be it about the products themselves or about recipes in which to use them:

    Image

    As mentioned above, this stretch of Randolph doesn't have the trendy look of a place where you might find a gourmet boutique, but what you find at Graziano's is excellent Italian food items at great prices.

    Image

    If you like Italian food and don't shop here at least once in a while, you're a cucuzzë.

    :wink:

    Antonius


    J.P. Graziano Grocery Co., Inc.
    Wholesalers, Importers, Distributors of Domestic Food Products
    901-905 Randolph Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60607
    312-666-4587
    312-666-4604

    Monday-friday: 7:30 - 3:30
    Saturday: 8:00 - 12:00

    Parking available for customers in the loading zone in front of the building.

    Typos corrected and minor stylistic improvements made; post-site-move character problems fixed.
    Last edited by Antonius on May 24th, 2005, 12:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #2 - February 26th, 2005, 10:36 am
    Post #2 - February 26th, 2005, 10:36 am Post #2 - February 26th, 2005, 10:36 am
    Thanks for the post and the great photos. I'll be planning a trip there in the very near future!
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa
  • Post #3 - February 26th, 2005, 10:41 am
    Post #3 - February 26th, 2005, 10:41 am Post #3 - February 26th, 2005, 10:41 am
    A,

    Thanks so much for posting this. Grazianos is literally around the corner from my office, yet I have never thought to stop in. I will remedy that situation soon. I have found that many of the wholesale distributors in the area will sell to the public. A few won't, but the more I explore the area the more I'm convinced that they are in the minority. I don't think they get a huge volume of walk in retail traffic, as you pointed out, and in many cases look at retail sales as a novelty (and a source of off the books cash). I love shopping in the area. It gives one a feeling of being a little higher up in the food (distribution) chain. You can save a few $$$ as well.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #4 - February 28th, 2005, 9:10 am
    Post #4 - February 28th, 2005, 9:10 am Post #4 - February 28th, 2005, 9:10 am
    Steve:

    You're lucky to be so near this place. The savings can really add up, especially for items like grating cheese. The freshness of everything is also very striking -- each time I've gotten such cheeses or table cheeses (e.g., the sharp provolone) that also come in large 'wheels', my piece of cheese has been cut from a wheel that itself had clearly just recently been started on. I bought a pound of parmigiano there a few weeks back which was especially delicious. In the end, it's often the same cheese everywhere, so what one looks for is cheese that has been handled well and priced fairly.

    If you like sharper grating cheeses, I really recommend that you try the 'ncanestratu. On my last visit there a week ago, I got a chunk of this and since then I find myself gearing the choice of pasta dishes to make around the grating cheese -- sort of a tail wags dog deal. In retail stores, on account of the fact it's a little known cheese, it may not move too quickly and, indeed, I've gotten pieces over the years which had been sitting around too long. I've also gotten beautiful pieces of 'ncanestratu elsewhere before but, again, at Graziano's you pay at least a couple of dollars less per pound.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #5 - February 28th, 2005, 10:29 am
    Post #5 - February 28th, 2005, 10:29 am Post #5 - February 28th, 2005, 10:29 am
    How is their olive oil selection?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #6 - February 28th, 2005, 10:45 am
    Post #6 - February 28th, 2005, 10:45 am Post #6 - February 28th, 2005, 10:45 am
    stevez wrote:How is their olive oil selection?


    To be honest, Steve, this is one basic category I haven't explored there much. I'm generally a creature of habit and regularly buy my beloved Greek (from Crete) Sitía at Athens Market. Since I moved to Tri-Taylor, I've also been buying Oro di Sicilia for $5 at Masi's bakery, then also the occasional Arab oil in Albany Park, etc. So, as it turns out, on the occasions I've been at Graziano's, I guess I didn't happen to need oil.

    But I recently tried an oil from California at Graziano's that was really delicious -- unfortunately, I can't remmebr the name. If you go there soon, please fill us in on what oils they have available. Whatever brands they carry, I'm sure the prices will be lower than elsewhere.

    A

    P.S. In the photos I took, you can see some cans on the shelves but I can't quite make out what they are.
    Last edited by Antonius on May 24th, 2005, 12:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #7 - February 28th, 2005, 3:38 pm
    Post #7 - February 28th, 2005, 3:38 pm Post #7 - February 28th, 2005, 3:38 pm
    A,

    I remember 25 or so years ago, the vendors on the South Water St. market would hesitate to sell to retail customers (some demanded a license before a purchase could be made, but usually backed down). These days, it seems distributors, especially smaller ones, are willing to make the effort to serve even smaller customers (why not?).

    Excellent pix -- the documentary clarity gives me a good sense of what this place is like. Though I live fairly close to Harlem's "Little Italy" (well, closer than you, at least), I will make the trip to Graziano's the next time I need to replenish the stores.

    Hammond
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #8 - February 28th, 2005, 11:46 pm
    Post #8 - February 28th, 2005, 11:46 pm Post #8 - February 28th, 2005, 11:46 pm
    David:

    There's something aesthically really neat about a place like this in the age of faux-this and faux-that... stone-washed faded-jeans, artificially "distressed" furniture... This place is, beyond the main things regarding quality and price of food, also just a really great looking, for me nostalgia-inspiring space on a stretch of a street that, for the moment, still is a real part of the food industry. Of course, it's near downtown and the developers are already at work transforming the area into a district that will soon be Starbucks friendly.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #9 - March 1st, 2005, 4:41 am
    Post #9 - March 1st, 2005, 4:41 am Post #9 - March 1st, 2005, 4:41 am
    Antonius wrote:David:

    There's something aesthically really neat about a place like this in the age of faux-this and faux-that... stone-washed faded-jeans, artificially "distressed" furniture... This place is, beyond the main things regarding quality and price of food, also just a really great looking, for me nostalgia-inspiring space on a stretch of a street that, for the moment, still is a real part of the food industry. Of course, it's near downtown and the developers are already at work transforming the area into a district that will soon be Starbucks friendly.

    Antonius


    Having officed in the area for nearly 10 years now, I have seen the area go through lots of changes. I frequently tell the story about the parking meters that were installed on Washington Blvd the day we moved into our office. Since that time, there has been a cattle ranchers vs. farmers type turf war going on between the developers and the established businesses on Randolph, Lake and Fulton, with a truce of sorts worked out a couple of years ago by the local neighborhood organization. Since that time, development has continued to expand, mostly to the South and West of the several block long stretch of Randolph comprising the wholesale district. Recently (the last year or two) the developers have begun slowly worming their way into that area as well. Moto & Folia on Fulton and several shops (including the impending Chicago Chocolate Comapny) have displaced some of the vendors on Randolph. I'm afraid the character of the Randolph Market District (as they have taken to calling it) is slowly changing for the worse. Hopefully, the condo glut in the area will stop the builders before they destroy what is left of the wholesale market.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #10 - March 1st, 2005, 10:12 am
    Post #10 - March 1st, 2005, 10:12 am Post #10 - March 1st, 2005, 10:12 am
    Steve,

    Thanks for the comments on that area.

    When I went to Moto, my map had it positioned a bit further east than it really is. I being fearful of parking problems (I dislike valet parking) left the car just north of Lake Street. Walking in and around the loading docks with trucks still picking up and delivering. I was wondering why would anyone situate a high level restaurant there. Relatively cheap rents and build-it-and-they-will-come certainly factored in. Diners and fast food is expected, though not nationally acclaimed restaurants.

    I was wondering what uneasiness there might be between the diverging interests of the businesses in that area. When the wholesale businesses are displaced, have they gone out of business or moved on? Is there a new locus evolving? If their property taxes are jumping up on their commercial property --- and from real estate shopping there is a big difference in taxes for retail and industrial/wholesale use buildings --- the developers may not be the only impact on their decisions to leave.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #11 - March 1st, 2005, 11:14 am
    Post #11 - March 1st, 2005, 11:14 am Post #11 - March 1st, 2005, 11:14 am
    Stevez:

    At the moment, the spanking new, ritzy houses being thrown up on Fulton look really out of place... at the moment...

    There is here an interesting and partly commercial variation on the gentrification theme... Usually one thinks of the progression:

    tough ethnic neighbourhood -->
    tough ethnic neighbourhood with artists' colony -->
    not so tough neighbourhood with artists' colony and students -->
    Then it becomes trendy, the yuppies move in and chase away the artists and students and ethnic locals that made it cool...

    Here it's more 'tough wholesalers/packers area' with a restaurateurs' 'colony'... What's neat about the district to my mind is, aside from the old architecture, the clutter and busyness... As they rip down buildings and drive away the businesses, it will barely be disguishable from 10 other neighbourhoods.

    On the near southside, another wholesalers' complex has been vacated, moved out from Blue Island by Racine (just south of Roosevelt) to a spot further south and west (by Damen and the river). The impetus for the move here seems to have once again been the Destroyer of Neighbourhoods, UIC, and its attendant development projects (University Village).

    I hope the Grazianos will be able to benefit from the increased residential presence in their area with the steps they are taking to make the business more amenable to the individual buyer, but I would hate to see the shop get too gussied up. I love the atmosphere of the place as it is.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #12 - March 1st, 2005, 11:31 am
    Post #12 - March 1st, 2005, 11:31 am Post #12 - March 1st, 2005, 11:31 am
    Right, in this case it seemed to be not artists but restaurateurs-- who were familiar with the area for obvious professional reasons-- who led the charge in dropping their chic spots into the grittiest neighborhood they could find, like a fashion shoot in a crack house. It actually has a New York, lower east side feel to me, not so much from the reality (I haven't been to that part of New York much) but from movies like Fatal Attraction that also used a warehouse district setting for that kind of reverse chic.

    Ultimately, I suppose, someone will open a hot hot hot new restaurant right in the middle of the main lockup at 26th and Cal-- Brasserie Felon
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  • Post #13 - March 1st, 2005, 11:51 am
    Post #13 - March 1st, 2005, 11:51 am Post #13 - March 1st, 2005, 11:51 am
    Mike G wrote:Right, in this case it seemed to be not artists but restaurateurs-- who were familiar with the area for obvious professional reasons-- who led the charge in dropping their chic spots into the grittiest neighborhood they could find, like a fashion shoot in a crack house.


    You've put the cart before the horse. The Fulton Market district has been home to a number of art galleries for several years. They were there long before the restaurants moved in.

    Mike G wrote: It actually has a New York, lower east side feel to me, not so much from the reality (I haven't been to that part of New York much) but from movies like Fatal Attraction that also used a warehouse district setting for that kind of reverse chic.


    The Gansevoort Market district is likely what you think you mean.


    Erik M.
  • Post #14 - March 1st, 2005, 12:02 pm
    Post #14 - March 1st, 2005, 12:02 pm Post #14 - March 1st, 2005, 12:02 pm
    Hmm, maybe so around Randolph (I've been to a couple of parties in some gallery space along there) but a friend lived on Grand (above Bari, in fact) for a long time and it was definitely restaurants before galleries there (since I can't think of any galleries to this day, maybe one workshop). Anyway, the point is that I think that area developed less along the classic gentrification paradigm (artists' lofts, yuppie lofts, Starbucks) than from a conscious intention to stage the chicest restaurants of the moment against a cinematic backdrop of industrial squalor and grit that happened to be convenient to downtown. I have no idea if the Gansevoort market is what I'm thinking of, because what I'm thinking of is from movies (and album covers and fashion shoots and so on) more than reality.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
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  • Post #15 - March 1st, 2005, 12:07 pm
    Post #15 - March 1st, 2005, 12:07 pm Post #15 - March 1st, 2005, 12:07 pm
    I'm not as pessimistic about the additions of restaurants to the Randolph/Fulton/Lake neighborhood. What's not to like about a series of generally solid upper-mid priced restaurants close to food wholesalers? I like it in NY, in Pittsburgh's Strip, and in similar places around the country. And there have been clubs and bars in the neighborhood forever: big spaces, cheap rent and no neighbors to bother at night.

    Lake is my favorite of these streets, and the one least likely to become "yuppified," owing to the L and the still very active meat wholesalers. The newer spots like Folia, Rushmore, and Schopf Gallery fit right in, I think.
  • Post #16 - March 1st, 2005, 12:16 pm
    Post #16 - March 1st, 2005, 12:16 pm Post #16 - March 1st, 2005, 12:16 pm
    JeffB wrote:I'm not as pessimistic about the additions of restaurants to the Randolph/Fulton/Lake neighborhood. What's not to like about a series of generally solid upper-mid priced restaurants close to food wholesalers? I like it in NY, in Pittsburgh's Strip, and in similar places around the country. And there have been clubs and bars in the neighborhood forever: big spaces, cheap rent and no neighbors to bother at night.


    Jeff:

    Were it just the restaurants I would agree. But the problem is that there are residential units already built and occupied, standing cheek-by-jowl with the packers and wholesalers, and there are still more on the way (look at the block just west of Follia and Moto). And there have already been run-ins, referred to above by Stevez, with these knuckleheads who move into the area and then complain that there's a lot of noise at 5 a.m.: Of course, there's noise, you knuckleheads, because the businesses that give the area the edge you were looking for are not Hollywood sets but real packers and wholesalers!

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #17 - March 1st, 2005, 12:27 pm
    Post #17 - March 1st, 2005, 12:27 pm Post #17 - March 1st, 2005, 12:27 pm
    And there have already been run-ins, referred to above by Stevez, with these knuckleheads who move into the area and then complain that there's a lot of noise at 5 a.m.: Of course, there's noise, you knuckleheads, because the businesses that give the area the edge you were looking for are not Hollywood sets but real packers and wholesalers!


    Or those who buy homes in the country, then are annoyed the pig farm next door has real smells!
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #18 - March 1st, 2005, 12:41 pm
    Post #18 - March 1st, 2005, 12:41 pm Post #18 - March 1st, 2005, 12:41 pm
    Mike G wrote:Hmm, maybe so around Randolph (I've been to a couple of parties in some gallery space along there) but a friend lived on Grand (above Bari, in fact) for a long time and it was definitely restaurants before galleries there (since I can't think of any galleries to this day, maybe one workshop). Anyway, the point is that I think that area developed less along the classic gentrification paradigm (artists' lofts, yuppie lofts, Starbucks) than from a conscious intention to stage the chicest restaurants of the moment against a cinematic backdrop of industrial squalor and grit that happened to be convenient to downtown.


    Grand Avenue.? I didn't realize we were talking about Grand Avenue. At any rate, the stretch of Grand to which you refer is a commercial thoroughfare in an otherwise solidly residential neighbourhood, and it has been so for a hundred + years.

    Mike G wrote:I have no idea if the Gansevoort market is what I'm thinking of [...]


    Understood. I think I accounted for precisely that fact when I wrote: "...is likely what you think you mean." If, however, there is still a better way to indicate that fact, then that is what I really mean. ;)

    Erik M.
  • Post #19 - March 1st, 2005, 1:12 pm
    Post #19 - March 1st, 2005, 1:12 pm Post #19 - March 1st, 2005, 1:12 pm
    Antonius wrote:
    JeffB wrote:I'm not as pessimistic about the additions of restaurants to the Randolph/Fulton/Lake neighborhood. What's not to like about a series of generally solid upper-mid priced restaurants close to food wholesalers? I like it in NY, in Pittsburgh's Strip, and in similar places around the country. And there have been clubs and bars in the neighborhood forever: big spaces, cheap rent and no neighbors to bother at night.


    Jeff:

    Were it just the restaurants I would agree. But the problem is that there are residential units already built and occupied, standing cheek-by-jowl with the packers and wholesalers, and there are still more on the way (look at the block just west of Follia and Moto). And there have already been run-ins, referred to above by Stevez, with these knuckleheads who move into the area and then complain that there's a lot of noise at 5 a.m.: Of course, there's noise, you knuckleheads, because the businesses that give the area the edge you were looking for are not Hollywood sets but real packers and wholesalers!

    Antonius


    The restaurants and galleries around here have never really been an issue. It is the mass redevelopment of the old warehouses (and the building of new ones to look like the old ones) that seems to be causing the problems. This was a really great place to have my studio when I first moved in. Now, it's gotten so gentrified, that I don't know I will be able to (or want to) afford the rent when my lease next comes up for renewal.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #20 - March 1st, 2005, 1:32 pm
    Post #20 - March 1st, 2005, 1:32 pm Post #20 - March 1st, 2005, 1:32 pm
    Yeah, I agree that folks who move into a warehouse under the L next to an abattoir have no right, literally, to complain about noises and smells. I live close to Wrigley Field, and unlike many neighborhood knuckleheads, I try to take the bad with the good.

    My anectdote elsewhere about the "Back of the Jewels" neighborhood on Paulina [ed. stretch of Paulina between Belmont and Fullerton defined by the loading docks of a Jewel, an ominous plastics factory and vacant lots, is sprouting scores of $1.5 million McBrownstones] goes to what I think might be the problem: very few people are buying homes on the near west and south sides because they are Bohemian (no Pilsen pun intended), but because they want absolutely the biggest damn house they can get for the money that is also close to "Downtown." May the L, the Teamsters' trucks and and the vomiting clubbers give them no sleep.
    Last edited by JeffB on March 1st, 2005, 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #21 - March 1st, 2005, 1:38 pm
    Post #21 - March 1st, 2005, 1:38 pm Post #21 - March 1st, 2005, 1:38 pm
    JeffB wrote: May the L, the Teamsters' trucks and and the vomiting clubbers give them no sleep.


    :lol: :lol:

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #22 - August 18th, 2005, 9:49 am
    Post #22 - August 18th, 2005, 9:49 am Post #22 - August 18th, 2005, 9:49 am
    Antonius wrote:J.P. Graziano Grocery Co., Inc.
    Wholesalers, Importers, Distributors of Domestic Food Products
    901-905 Randolph Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60607
    312-666-4587
    312-666-4604

    Monday-friday: 7:30 - 3:30
    Saturday: 8:00 - 12:00

    Antonious,

    Last Friday I stopped at Graziano's for a wheel of Pecorino 'pepato (w/whole black pepper corns), which you introduced me to, 7:30am on the dot, to bring to the Michigan Q-Fest, they were not open. I asked a couple of people in the area and the consensus was Graziano's now opens at 9am during the week.

    9am accurate, or did I simply catch them on an late opening day?

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #23 - August 18th, 2005, 10:05 am
    Post #23 - August 18th, 2005, 10:05 am Post #23 - August 18th, 2005, 10:05 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    Antonius wrote:J.P. Graziano Grocery Co., Inc.
    Wholesalers, Importers, Distributors of Domestic Food Products
    901-905 Randolph Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60607
    312-666-4587
    312-666-4604

    Monday-Friday: 7:30 - 3:30
    Saturday: 8:00 - 12:00

    Antonious,

    Last Friday I stopped at Graziano's for a wheel of Pecorino 'pepato (w/whole black pepper corns), which you introduced me to, 7:30am on the dot, to bring to the Michigan Q-Fest, they were not open. I asked a couple of people in the area and the consensus was Graziano's now opens at 9am during the week.

    9am accurate, or did I simply catch them on an late opening day?


    Gary,

    I think perhaps you just caught them on the last day of their vacation or, as you suggest, at a time when something was delaying opening. In any event, I just called and checked and they were indeed recently away on vacation for a bit (I didn't ask exactly when) but now are back and still have their old schedule:

    Monday-Friday: 7:30 - 3:30
    Saturday: 8:00 - 12:00

    By the way, they now have a website: www.jpgraziano.com.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #24 - August 18th, 2005, 10:33 am
    Post #24 - August 18th, 2005, 10:33 am Post #24 - August 18th, 2005, 10:33 am
    It's nice to see this thread resurface. As I predicted, when lease renewal time came around, my rent would have nearly doubled. Sadly, I had to move my office out of this neighborhood. The good news is that it is now located a scant 5 minutes from my house, although I really miss being in the Randolph Street area every day.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #25 - August 19th, 2005, 10:10 pm
    Post #25 - August 19th, 2005, 10:10 pm Post #25 - August 19th, 2005, 10:10 pm
    Hi Antonius,
    I loved the pictures in the original post---it reminded me of when I was a kid & my family used to go to Randolph Street on Saturday mornings, and buy salami & vegetables & spices; I wonder if this is one of the places we went? And then to D'Amato's bakery on Grand Avenue, where we bought "pizza bread" (we didn't call it foccaccia, but now I know that's what it was)...So, thanks for the reminder....
    But I'm really curious about the "Corso Italia" you mention. I'm a west suburbs girl & don't know the city very well. But you mentioned it's Harlem Avenue between the Kennedy & the Eisenhower. The Eisenhower is convenient for me; I'd really appreciate it if you could tell me a store name or two so I can plot a day trip from where I live. Thank you!!
    ---Paisanaa
  • Post #26 - August 19th, 2005, 10:30 pm
    Post #26 - August 19th, 2005, 10:30 pm Post #26 - August 19th, 2005, 10:30 pm
    The 'corso italia' runs on Harlem from roughly Fullerton to Addison, so it's not very close to 290 (which meets Harlem nearly 4 miles south of Fullerton). Within that stretch you get Riviera, Pasta Fresh, Caputo's, etc etc.

    That being said, the small, awesome grocery/salumeria/baker/restaurant Freddy's is very convenient to 290. It's a block west of the corner of 16th St and Austin in Cicero, so just a mile or so off the Austin Eisenhower exit.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #27 - August 19th, 2005, 10:33 pm
    Post #27 - August 19th, 2005, 10:33 pm Post #27 - August 19th, 2005, 10:33 pm
    Thanks Gleam. That is a coincidence---I saw a Pasta Fresh truck today *shudder*
  • Post #28 - August 19th, 2005, 10:37 pm
    Post #28 - August 19th, 2005, 10:37 pm Post #28 - August 19th, 2005, 10:37 pm
    Depending on where you're coming from in the west burbs, North Ave. can be a good way to access Harlem Ave. The Eisenhower is horrible, awful, intolerable, from before you get off it and also as you creep up Harlem Ave.

    Grand Ave. is another good arterial that moves fairly quickly, but I'm less sure what happens to it in the west burbs.
  • Post #29 - August 20th, 2005, 6:44 am
    Post #29 - August 20th, 2005, 6:44 am Post #29 - August 20th, 2005, 6:44 am
    Paisanaa wrote:Hi Antonius,
    I loved the pictures in the original post---it reminded me of when I was a kid & my family used to go to Randolph Street on Saturday mornings, and buy salami & vegetables & spices; I wonder if this is one of the places we went? And then to D'Amato's bakery on Grand Avenue, where we bought "pizza bread" (we didn't call it foccaccia, but now I know that's what it was)...So, thanks for the reminder....
    But I'm really curious about the "Corso Italia" you mention. I'm a west suburbs girl & don't know the city very well. But you mentioned it's Harlem Avenue between the Kennedy & the Eisenhower. The Eisenhower is convenient for me; I'd really appreciate it if you could tell me a store name or two so I can plot a day trip from where I live. Thank you!!
    ---Paisanaa


    Paisanaa:

    I'm really glad you liked the pictures and I wouldn't be at all surprised if Graziano's was one of the places your family used to visit on Saurday mornings, since they've been around a long time (and before moving to Randolph, they were on Grand just a little west of D'Amato's).

    The "Corso Italia" is fun to visit because you can get everything there: around the 2500 block of North Harlem is Caputo's for general groceries, produce, salume, cheeses, fresh meat... Across the street is a fish store... Riviera, mentioned above is not right there but rather a short drive away to the north, in fact, north of Belmont (first block, west side of Harlem)... Nearby are some more Italian places on Belmont within a few blocks to the west of Harlem, specifically, Notoli's salumeria (north side of Belmont) and a bakery (south side of Belmont), the name of which I can't remember (nice folks, but not an especially memorable bakery, at least in my experience). There are also some Italian pastry shops and cafés in that general area, some of which have been discussed here and can probably be found via the search engine.

    But I strongly recommend making the trip into the city on a Saturday morning... Graziano's and either on to Grand by May for a combination of Bari (salumeria & butcher shop) and D'Amato's (bakery) or down to Taylor for a combination of Conte di Savoia (salumeria, by Bishop), Ferrara's (pastry and cakes, on Taylor by Leavitt) and Masi's (bread and pizza, on Western at Taylor). In addition to the shopping, there's a social aspect of interacting with other members of the local Chicago Italian community, including quite a few folks who return on Saturday or Sunday mornings (n.b., Graziano's is closed on Sundays but the others are all open) from the suburbs.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #30 - August 20th, 2005, 3:49 pm
    Post #30 - August 20th, 2005, 3:49 pm Post #30 - August 20th, 2005, 3:49 pm
    Paisanaa wrote:Thanks Gleam. That is a coincidence---I saw a Pasta Fresh truck today *shudder*

    Not sure about that shudder. Pasta Fresh is run by Tony Bartucci, a native of Rende, Calabria (outside of Cosenza) and they make good stuff. Their arancine and panzarotti are superb, too.

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