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My Favorite Cheap Lunch (Da Riv)


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My Favorite Cheap Lunch (Da Riv)

YourPalWill | Jul 27, 2005 10:19 PM

Those of you lucky enough to live in the northwest corner of the city of Chicago are blessed with an extraodinary number of ethnic selections for your lunch time chowing. Having worked in the area for about two years now, I've acquainted myself with a number of these places.

At the same time, Chowhound seems to be attracting a number of new posters to it's Chicago Forum in the past few months.

Therefore, it seems time to reintroduce a number of the chow favorites that I have discovered both on Chowhound and the LTH Forum.

Riviera Imported Italian Foods is a small grocery with deli and sausage case located near the intersection of Harlem and Belmont.

Da Riv, as it has become affectionately known in my office, is also the home to one of the absolute best lunch bargains in town, and the only lunch time special in town named after me, the Will Special.

One day while perusing the deli counter at the Riv for some sandwich fixings, I went a little crazy: hot capicola, hot sopressata, salame di prosciutto, prosciutto ham, fresh mozzarella, a just a touch of hot giardinera. The sandwich known as the Will Special was born that day and has only changed in that a slice of Da Riv's excellent in house made roast beef is added on Fridays.

The cost? Today, it was $3.50. Sometimes it's $4. Sometimes $4.50. I'm not sure what drives the price variation and, frankly, I'm not inclined to ask.

The Will Special isn't all the Da Riv has to offer. Owner Carmelo Pugliese cures his own house made soppressata and capicola. In addition, you'll find a really good quality of red sauce available in plastic tubs and some high quality stuffed pasta in the freezer case. I always feel a little guilty about the cheap sandwich, so I make sure to buy a little extra sauce, or some tinned tomatoes, a lemon knot or arancini(when they have them).

In short, Da Riv is a jewel in my crown of chowdom. I encourage you to try it and enjoy it as much as I have over the past couple of years.

Thanks to GWiv of the LTH Forum for the picture of the Will Special below.

Riviera Italian Imported Foods
(773) 637-4252
3220 N Harlem Ave
Chicago, IL 60634


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