What a great life: money to eat out, reliable wheels, and Chowhound to guide me. Last night I made my first visit to Ricobene's in Bridgeport (252 W. 26th St.) and had an eggplant parm sandwich and slice of thick-crust spinach and mushroom pizza. The night before I had an eggplant parm sandwich, Mediterranean salad, and pistachio gelato at Scumaci's in Orland Park (Rt. 6 just west of Wolf Rd.).
Both sandwhiches were good, but Scumaci's takes the palm. Its eggplant's soft, thin texture and lightly bread-crumbed flavor were distinct from the chewy bun, a great contrast, while Ricobene's was more of a mushy combine of vegetable and bun. The pizza slice at Ricobene's was very good, however. I couldn't place the sourdoughy, big-pored crust, but my wife did immediately: Uno's.
Scumaci's Mediterranean salad is entree-sized with fresh ingredients (romaine, feta, olives, balsamic) served in an actual hard bowl, not styrofoam or plastic, a sign of careful preparation at this roadside cafe. The gelato was good, too.
Incidentally, Metromix lists a Scumaci's on 31st St. in Chicago. I wonder if Scumaci's in Orland is yet another suburban progeny of city Italian joints like Palermo's and Vito & Nick's. The movement of these places down here towards Rt. 80 is good news for me, but I hope they don't close up their city locations and leave more openings for the chains. What an ironic, maddening inversion that would be, eh?