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The Freddy, Another Little Known Southside Sandwich

The Freddy, Another Little Known Southside Sandwich
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  • The Freddy, Another Little Known Southside Sandwich

    Post #1 - August 31st, 2007, 12:19 pm
    Post #1 - August 31st, 2007, 12:19 pm Post #1 - August 31st, 2007, 12:19 pm
    The Freddy was discussed here a little over a year ago but I thought a new thread would be appropriate (partly to add a more informative title). As explained over there, the Freddy consists of an Italian sausage patty on a long roll with red sauce, sautéed green pepper and melted mozzarella cheese. The recipe doesn't vary.

    The Freddy's birthplace and natural habitat is the far Southwest side, around Beverly, Evergreen Park and Blue Island. It originated in the early 1970s and as businesses split or were sold, the sandwich moved on but also stayed at its original home. This has been the main mode of the Freddy's propagation.

    My Usual Order
    Image

    I ate every Freddy I could find and talked with everyone who was willing and a generally consistent story emerged. I got a few lines that differed from the consensus version but tracking the origin and evolution of the Freddy was a good deal less frustrating than figuring out the stories behind the Big Baby and Mother in Law.

    Benito (Benny) Russo is generally acknowledged as the father of the Freddy (as well as the father of Freddy, after whom the sandwich was named). While Benny was at Chuck's Pizza in Beverly in the early 1970s he put together the sandwich (obviously not an original creation) and named it after his son.

    Chuck's Pizza, Birthplace of the Freddy
    Image

    In the late 1970s Chuck's Pizza was sold but the current owner continues the Freddy tradition.

    Chuck's Freddy
    Image

    It's a traditional version, though my least favorite, with a mildly seasoned sausage patty, sweet-salty red sauce, decent sautéed peppers, all under a thick layer of cheese. I found it to be overwhelming though I imagine plenty of Chuck's customers believe there's no such thing as too much cheese (regardless of quality).

    When Benny left Chuck's he, together with some family and friends, opened Calabria Imports farther south on Western in Blue Island. Several years ago the business split and Calabria Imports moved to Beverly on 103rd Street, taking the Freddy along.

    The New Calabria Imports
    Image

    In the back of the new store by the sandwich counter there's a nice collection of framed memorabilia including this old menu from the original store.

    Calabria Imports Menu, 1985
    Image

    As you can see, the Freddy was featured at the original Calabria Imports as it is at the current location.

    The Freddy According to Calabria Imports
    Image

    This is a pretty good Freddy, with a nice griddled sausage patty and generally good accompaniments. Fries were completely ordinary.

    When Calabria Imports moved from Blue Island to Beverly, some of the founders remained behind and changed the name of the store.

    Stefanelli and Son's
    Image

    Stefanelli's Version of the Freddy
    Image

    Of course the Freddy stayed behind too. This is a very good one, maybe my favorite Freddy, with a close resemblance to the Calabria version. One notable difference is that the sausage is grilled rather than griddled.

    Stefanelli's is a nice Italian market with some good house made sausage, an interesting choice of packaged goods and a well-chosen wine and liquor selection.

    Freddies aren't exactly scarce on the Southwest side but you won't find them in just any pizzeria. Rosangela's and Beggar's, for example, serve sausage sandwiches but use link sausage, don't include peppers or cheese, and don't use the name Freddy. Barraco's, on the other hand, serves a Freddy even though they don't trace their lineage back to Chuck's Pizza.

    The "Original" Barraco's and Their Freddy
    Image

    Image

    I chose to sample the Freddy in Barraco's dark barroom. The twin oval patties were highly seasoned with plenty of salt and fennel seed and the sauce was on the spicy side. Peppers came as nearly raw halves, blanketed by the melted cheese. Mostaccioli was miserable. Not my favorite Freddy but I thought it was good drinking food, a happy coincidence since bottles of beer were only $1.50 that day.

    I'll end with a somewhat different sandwich served at Vito & Nick's, my favorite spot for southside thincrust.

    Vito & Nick's
    Image

    They serve a sausage patty sandwich but it's not a Freddy, it's a Nicky. This should not be confused with the Mickey served at Stefanelli's and Calabria.

    The Big Nicky
    Image

    I'm not including just any old sausage patty sandwich but make an exception for Big Nick because it's better than most. It's a salty, spicy, coarse-ground, char-grilled sausage patty served on Vito & Nick's pizza bread. After a few of these I've come to the conclusion I might prefer it with less cheese and will order it that way next visit. The fresh-cut waffle fries that come along are quite good too. I suppose you could make it into a Freddy of sorts by ordering it with green peppers.

    It's certainly not as if Benny Russo was the first to make a dressed-up sausage patty sandwich—just as there were double cheeseburgers long before the Big Baby was christened—but the name has stuck and the ingredients have become essentially invariant. It will be interesting to see if the Freddy continues to spread as the Big Baby has. I heard of some other Freddies but so far have been unable to track them down. Reports of any other sightings would be appreciated. Has anyone seen a Freddy (by that name) on the north side?

    Chuck's Pizza
    10123 S Western Av
    Chicago
    773-233-4282

    Calabria Imports
    1905 W 103rd St
    Chicago
    773-396-5800

    Stefanelli & Sons
    13012 S Western Av
    Blue Island IL
    708-389-0300

    Barraco's
    3701 W 95th St
    Evergreen Park IL
    708-424-8182

    Vito & Nick's
    8433 S Pulaski Rd
    Chicago
    773-735-2050
  • Post #2 - August 31st, 2007, 1:20 pm
    Post #2 - August 31st, 2007, 1:20 pm Post #2 - August 31st, 2007, 1:20 pm
    This is great. I love these threads, and they all make me want to run to the south side and eat. This is indigenous food at its best. Thanks!
  • Post #3 - August 31st, 2007, 1:46 pm
    Post #3 - August 31st, 2007, 1:46 pm Post #3 - August 31st, 2007, 1:46 pm
    :D :D :D
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #4 - February 9th, 2011, 10:09 pm
    Post #4 - February 9th, 2011, 10:09 pm Post #4 - February 9th, 2011, 10:09 pm
    Rene G wrote:Stefanelli's is a nice Italian market with some good house made sausage, an interesting choice of packaged goods and a well-chosen wine and liquor selection.


    Yep, yep.

    As I drove by Stefanelli's in Blue Island yesterday it brought back memories. My mom is a southsider and most of her sisters and my uncles and cousins from her side still live out that way. I spent many a summer weekends running around Beverly with my cousins as a kid. My uncle who worked in Blue Island not too far away would always get us lunch and dinner from Steffanelli's. We would have deli subs for lunch and then Italian sausage on the grill for dinner. It's been years since I've slept over there and ran around so I had to stop in, this was actually my first visit to here even though I've had many Italian subs and plenty of sausage from here, though that was back in the day.

    Image
    On Western ave in Blue Island

    With a full schedule ahead I wasn't looking for much to buy this time around but I did get a pound of sausage for use in a dinner this week and checked out the lunch menu to grab something to eat for it. I took a look and what do you know, they got Freddy's. I like most others learned of this specialty sandwich from this very thread when the Southside food finding pioneer started it. It shames me to say this but I had never had a Freddy until I decided to try one right then and there.

    Image
    The Freddy

    Not bad at all. I could easily eat a couple of these a month if I lived in the neighborhood. I checked out the other offerings as I waited for my Freddy to be ready. Great little neighborhood joint with most everything you would expect.

    Image Image
    Both homemade, the beef and sausage looked great

    Image
    Plenty of other options in the display case

    Image
    a variation of Maccheroni con le Sarde and Bulls basketball tonight

    I also had to get an Italian with hot peppers. I loved this sandwich as a kid and wanted to see how it stacked against Bari which I guess is my current go-to Italian. The bread is what makes Bari for me and this wasn't quite to their level as far as the loaf but everything else was excellent. They are by no means stingy with the meats here and they were using quality cuts. Both the freddy and Italian set me back ten bucks and change. I would say this is one of the better Italian's I have had, if I lived in the area it would be a regular for me.

    Image
    Italian Sub from Stefanelli

    Stefanelli & Sons
    13012 Western Avenue
    Blue Island, IL 60406
    (708) 389-0300
  • Post #5 - February 10th, 2011, 9:19 am
    Post #5 - February 10th, 2011, 9:19 am Post #5 - February 10th, 2011, 9:19 am
    Nice write up on the Freddy. Man I just got some Freddy education this morning. The sandwich does sound good and I like the sounds of the char-broiler version.
  • Post #6 - August 14th, 2012, 12:14 am
    Post #6 - August 14th, 2012, 12:14 am Post #6 - August 14th, 2012, 12:14 am
    Is it possibly to get a decent Freddy around Oak Park by chance?
  • Post #7 - August 14th, 2012, 12:30 am
    Post #7 - August 14th, 2012, 12:30 am Post #7 - August 14th, 2012, 12:30 am
    In the ballpark: at Freddy's Pizza in Cicero, call ahead and ask for the sausage patty sandwich, very good.

    If Laymon's is still there (4667 W. Washington), they had a tasty pork sausage patty on a roll (rather than a long loaf segment) with grilled onions; could scratch the itch.
  • Post #8 - August 14th, 2012, 1:04 am
    Post #8 - August 14th, 2012, 1:04 am Post #8 - August 14th, 2012, 1:04 am
    I should have thought of Freddy's LOL!
  • Post #9 - August 14th, 2012, 4:59 pm
    Post #9 - August 14th, 2012, 4:59 pm Post #9 - August 14th, 2012, 4:59 pm
    Rene G wrote:

    Calabria Imports Menu, 1985
    Image




    "The Judge" looks pretty good, is that still around?
    fine words butter no parsnips
  • Post #10 - August 14th, 2012, 6:04 pm
    Post #10 - August 14th, 2012, 6:04 pm Post #10 - August 14th, 2012, 6:04 pm
    Roger Ramjet wrote:"The Judge" looks pretty good, is that still around?

    The Judge is no longer on the menu at Calabria Imports but you can get one at Stefanelli's. That's just as well; I think Stefanelli's sausage patty is better than Calabria's.
  • Post #11 - September 24th, 2012, 7:18 pm
    Post #11 - September 24th, 2012, 7:18 pm Post #11 - September 24th, 2012, 7:18 pm
    Rene G wrote:The Freddy's birthplace and natural habitat is the far Southwest side, around Beverly, Evergreen Park and Blue Island. It originated in the early 1970s and as businesses split or were sold, the sandwich moved on but also stayed at its original home. This has been the main mode of the Freddy's propagation.

    Rene G wrote:Calabria Imports Menu, 1985
    Image

    As you can see, the Freddy was featured at the original Calabria Imports as it is at the current location [on 103rd].

    Last October Calabria Imports opened another location on 95th Street in Evergreen Park. Sausage patty sandwiches are available but the name "Freddy" doesn't appear on either the menu board or on their takeout menu. Very disappointing.

    Image

    Here's a Freddy from Stefanelli's in Blue Island that I enjoyed a couple weeks ago.

    Image

    Pretty much the same as it's always been. Even the name is the same.

    Calabria Imports (second location)
    3512 W 95th St
    (also at 1905 W 103rd St)
    Evergreen Park IL
    708-425-3880

    Stefanelli & Sons
    13012 S Western Av
    Blue Island IL
    708-389-0300
  • Post #12 - September 24th, 2012, 7:47 pm
    Post #12 - September 24th, 2012, 7:47 pm Post #12 - September 24th, 2012, 7:47 pm
    Do the Freddy

  • Post #13 - March 6th, 2013, 2:25 pm
    Post #13 - March 6th, 2013, 2:25 pm Post #13 - March 6th, 2013, 2:25 pm
    Rene G wrote:Last October [2011] Calabria Imports opened another location on 95th Street in Evergreen Park. Sausage patty sandwiches are available but the name "Freddy" doesn't appear on either the menu board or on their takeout menu. Very disappointing.

    In another thread Artie wrote:Calabria Imports Closes Evergreen Park Location
    Calabria Imports owner Pat Roberto said this week’s closing of the Evergreen Park location at 3512 W. 95th St. was not an easy decision but one that had to be made.

    “It was starting to hurt the Beverly location,” he said. “I’m sorry it didn’t work out. I appreciate everything that was done for us by the mayor and customers.”

    I didn't have a good feeling about the Evergreen Park location when the woman behind the counter had no idea what a Freddy was.

    Calabria Imports (closed)
    3512 W 95th St
    Evergreen Park IL
    708-425-3880

    Calabria Imports
    1905 W 103rd St
    Chicago
    773-396-5800
  • Post #14 - May 29th, 2013, 1:48 pm
    Post #14 - May 29th, 2013, 1:48 pm Post #14 - May 29th, 2013, 1:48 pm
    Rene G wrote:Stefanelli and Son's

    Image

    Stefanelli's Version of the Freddy

    Of course the Freddy stayed behind too. This is a very good one, maybe my favorite Freddy, with a close resemblance to the Calabria version. One notable difference is that the sausage is grilled rather than griddled.

    Stefanelli's is a nice Italian market with some good house made sausage, an interesting choice of packaged goods and a well-chosen wine and liquor selection.

    Freddies aren't exactly scarce on the Southwest side but you won't find them in just any pizzeria. Rosangela's and Beggar's, for example, serve sausage sandwiches but use link sausage, don't include peppers or cheese, and don't use the name Freddy. Barraco's, on the other hand, serves a Freddy even though they don't trace their lineage back to Chuck's Pizza.

    Stefanelli & Sons
    13012 S Western Ave
    Blue Island IL
    708-389-0300

    I happened to be driving by today the Blue Island location and the windows are papered over leaving the Lockport location the sole surviving.

    Stefanelli's Italian Imports
    1250 East 9th Street, Lockport
    (815) 834-0200
    http://www.stefanellisitalianimports.com
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #15 - November 22nd, 2013, 8:55 am
    Post #15 - November 22nd, 2013, 8:55 am Post #15 - November 22nd, 2013, 8:55 am
    Stefanellis outpost in Lockport, perhaps the furthest west where one can find the Freddy? Perhaps..

    Had my first one yesterday, and really enjoyed it. Always been a big fan of an Italian Sausage sandwich done up with sweet peppers, red sauce, and mozz, bigger fan of the sausage patty replacing the link. Just works alot better texture wise and ease of eating. At $4.99 a steal,

    they had them on special on Weds with fries for $3.99.....!


    I can see needing one of these every week for a while:
    Image
  • Post #16 - April 6th, 2016, 11:16 am
    Post #16 - April 6th, 2016, 11:16 am Post #16 - April 6th, 2016, 11:16 am
    I found myself over on Oak Lawn yesterday and a quick ride over to Calabria Imports on 103rd Street in Chicago was in order - been too long since I had enjoyed a Freddy - since Stefanellis in Lockport closed back in '15.

    Calabria has a nice Freddy for sure - they could spring for a few more of the green peppers though - I got some of their Hot giard. on the side and dressed it up with them and the oil.

    Image

    Image

    came with chips for about $8 - they could have kept the filler(chips) and knocked a buck off the sandwich and it would even be better -

    Next time Im in the area Im going to give that Freddy at Barracos in evergreen park a shot -

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