Before Italians invented deli cases, mozzarella and provolone roamed the streets freely, egging cars from overpasses and crank calling foreign dignitaries from pay phones. Free formaggio from behind the glass with today's Groupon: for $5, you get $10 worth of Italian deli fare and drinks at Rex Italian Foods in Norridge.
The delicatessens of Rex Italian Foods dish out a menu of saucy pastas, meaty sandwiches, piping-hot pizza slices, tomato-laced focaccia, and more. The Italian deli's Leaning Tower–long list of bread-based noshes includes the Milanese sub, which cradles a breaded steak in a provolone cloak ($4.95–$7.95), and the caprese panini, fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil pressed between two slices of grilled italian bread ($4.95). Mouths can engulf the hand-stuffed sausage and peppers ($5.49) or unstuff the stuffed pepper bursting with rice, ground beef, and mozzarella ($4.99). A five-item children's menu sporting meatball pockets ($1.50) and mozzarella sticks ($1.99) keeps wee mouths from licking the cold deli case or questioning the origin of storks. Edible expeditions end sweetly with a homemade dessert, such as the liquor-laden tiramisu ($3.99), and a foamy cappuccino ($2.95–$3.95) sends an urgent espresso telegram to sleepy gray matter.
Rex Italian Foods
At Rex Italian Foods, Josephine Pinello and her son Anthony prepare what Time Out Chicago describes as "rare items" from their native Sicily. Their signature schiacciatas—which are like a mixture between pizza and paninis—drew the attention of Guy Fieri's _Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, which aired a segment in which Anthony Pinello reveals the secrets of the family recipe for the dish. Available in five varieties, the schiacciatas blend fresh peppers, cheese, and a variety of ingredients on panini-pressed bread, creating a dish so iconic it's depicted on the 5-euro bill, though the dish itself is only accepted as currency at banks during lunchtime. The eatery's house-made pastas, hand-stuffed Italian sausages, and imported deli meats are available for dine-in, carryout, or catering.