Archestratus, the first food critic, praised Italian cuisine's "top-quality and seasonal" ingredients and "fair to middling" ability to tranquilize rampaging baboons. Today's Groupon stuns with $20 worth of deli sandwiches, salads, and pasta for $10 at Panozzo's Italian Market in the South Loop. Though you cannot use your Groupon toward the market's groceries, you can get any of the succulent offerings on Panozzo's menu.
Located inside a charming South Loop storefront, Panozzo's Italian Market buzzes with welcoming neighborhood atmosphere. Exotic meats and cheeses fill the lit-up deli cases, behind which the talented John Asbaty (formerly of Alinea) and his sandwich architects shave paper-thin meats and melt mozzarella into delicious white lakes. Panozzo's sandwiches highlight artisinal-cured meats from Salumeria Biellese, Framani, and La Quercia; cheeses imported from Monti Trentini in Asiago, Italy; and exclusively locally grown produce. The lightly salted meat and rich basil bouquet bring fresh mozzarella to life in the mozzarella and proscuitto sandwich ($7.99), and a hot meatball sandwich gets a pickled perk with banana peppers, melty mozzarella, and tomato sauce ($6.49). Hot or cold, these succulent ingredients combine to create a handheld wonder that's easier to use than a smart phone and just as effective at checking your email. Panozzo's also offers a rich lasagna with caramelized eggplant, spinach pasta, and tomato sauce ($5.99/lb.), plus a simple mixed green salad ($3.99) for a complete dinner, or a whole roasted chicken ($13.99) brined with citrus and herbs.
Sandwiches are the ideal lunchtime meal. Besides being easily transportable, you get a variety of food groups in every bite without annoying utensil requirements, prep work, or expensive, stallion-aided cleanup. Buy multiple Groupons and use them as bait in your office snare traps.
- This tiny but well-stocked neighborhood store is a popular spot for South Loopers seeking tasty takeout and quality ingredients for their kitchens. Enlarged black-and-white photos of Italian families serve as wallpaper on several walls, and the rest of the decor feels simple and clean, keeping the focus on Panozzo's carefully chosen assortment of stock. – Julia Steinberger, Centerstage Chicago
- What sets Panozzo's apart is their suppliers--Panozzo's is the only deli I know of in town that carries Fra'Mani artisan salamis and La Quercia prosciutto. These two producers insist on using the leaner, more flavorful meat of humanely treated pasture-raised pigs. For both brands, the result is cured pork of exceptional quality, worth hoarding and savoring bit by bit. My favorite treat these days is the aforementioned prosciutto, mozzarella, and pesto sandwich, with an upgrade to La Quercia prosciutto. While eating such prosciutto and salami might make you feel virtuous, you'll likely be too busy sighing in delight to notice. – Anderson Gansner, Chicago Reader
- Everything at their deli counter is made with the finest ingredients and their dry goods and frozen sections are filled with imported italian [sic] treats, oils, spices, sauces and pasta. Very friendly. Every time I come in here I end up trying something new only to love it as well. – Dena L., Insider Pages
Panozzo's Italian Market
"A nice job . . . too much of a nice job!" Such was Guy Fieri's verdict on the addictive meatballs at Panozzo's Italian Market when he came to visit for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Fieri is one of many who have fallen for these morsels, crafted from natural pork, spices, and black currants. It's not all meatballs at Panozzo's, however—the menu and deli cases also hold rustic items such as house-made porchetta and herb-roasted chicken from Gunthorp Farm, one of several local sources for the meat and produce.
Growing up in Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood, owner Mike Panozzo relished the community atmosphere of the local Italian markets. When he and his wife Ellen moved to the South Loop, they leaped at the opportunity to establish their own neighborhood gathering spot. They recruited chef John Asbaty to bring the menu beyond the standard Italian deli, a task he prepared for with stints in the kitchens of Trio and Alinea. Along with original dishes, Panozzo's stocks treats from local producers such as Zarlengo's Italian Ice, Nona Santi's Biscotti, and Passion House Coffee Roasters.
1303 S Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60605Get Directions