Thursday, September 17, 2009


This is a tricky review to write. I had read lots of great things about Bari and my expectations were about as high as they could be. I hadn't had a solid Italian sub in Chicago yet and I was looking forward to finally eating one.

I walked into this small convenience store and found the deli at the back with a line about five people deep. I liked the setup. There were deli meats hanging from the ceiling and it looked very authentic, very simple. Definitely no-frills.

Here's where I have an issue. When it was my turn to order, I asked for the 12-inch Italian sub with everything on it. The guy who I ordered from asked "mild or hot peppers?" I said mild. That was it. Now, if you look at the picture above, you'd assume that "everything" would include "lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mustard, mayo, oil, and seasonings" PLUS the "provolone and Bari hot or mild giardiniera" under the Italian description. But alas, you would be mistaken.

Mine came without mustard, without mayo, without pickle, and without onion. Some people think that the mustard and mayo shouldn't come standard on an Italian anyway and I may agree depending on my mood, but that's not really the point. I asked for everything and got some. A bit strange - an Italian without pickles and onions isn't really an Italian to me and the fact that no Italian subs in Chicago come with vinegar is a separate gripe altogether.

The sandwich, sans pickle/onion/mayo/mustard, was bland for an Italian, but the meats were high-quality and the giardiniera were excellent. I treated them as both a pickle and vinegar substitute. The flaky bread was a bit on the cut-up-the-roof-of-your-mouth side, but nice nonetheless. As a whole, for $5.75, the Italian was uninteresting, but a good value. Personally, I don't think it was good enough to merit the low level of kindness and poor customer treatment.

Back or Forth? I will be going back, but only to order the sub properly and then judge it. Consider this "back" conditional until further notice.

Bari Foods - West Loop - (312)666-0730 - 1120 W. Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 - Public transportation: the Chicago stop of the Blue Line or bus 65 or 66.

12-inch Italian - $5.75

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