Chowhound Presents: Table Talk with Nadine Levy Redzepi of Downtime: Deliciousness at Home | Ask Your Questions Now ›

Restaurants & Bars

Chicago Area Bubble Tea Polish

KKK Rally, Polish Sausage with Giardiniera: Bobak’s


Restaurants & Bars 10

KKK Rally, Polish Sausage with Giardiniera: Bobak’s

David Hammond | May 31, 2003 05:33 PM

KKK rallies are actually celebrations of diversity. You have your dozen or so hooded honkies, and about 1,000 people from all ethnic origins protesting their presence and sharing a common cause against hatred and general dunderheadedness. So it was today in Berwyn, where the Klan staged a “rally.” It was really more of a police show, an amazing display of municipal muscle, featuring over 100 troops in full riot gear, SWAT teams on roofs with big black rifles, and a phalanx of baton-wielding stormtroopers in Darth Vader helmets.

It was difficult to see the Invisible Empire (there were about three layers of law enforcement between us and them), but I could hear them over their bullhorns; they use the N-word almost as frequently as Snoop or Nelly. Louder still were the protests rising from groups of Unitarians, punks, Oak Park liberals, Marxists, anarcho-syndicalists, etc., who piped up with some chants that reminded me a lot of the sounds of Chicago circa ‘68 (“Cops, criminals and the Klan, they’re all a part of the bosses’ plan!”).

Unfortunately, food was not served, so after a few minutes of “turning my back on the Klan,” my stomach started growling, and I went in search of chow.

Bobak’s has been mentioned on this board before, so I thought I’d stop by. I was in the mood for Polish sausage. They had fresh Polish (about $2.50/pound), grilled (about $1.25/pound), and smoked (about $1.70/pound). The grilled links looked like they had actually recycled it from their buffet next door, and I wasn’t in the mood for cooking, so I brought home the smoked Polish.

The smoked Polish was kind of disappointing. The texture was okay (though both of the two I ate had little gristle “surprises” hidden in them). The flavor, however, was nowhere. Fortunately, I had some Johnnie’s giardiniera that very effectively perked up an otherwise bland wiener.

I understand how people might be getting tired of hearing about Johnnie’s, and truth be told, it is kind of a cliché on this board. Still, the place is great. Last night, I bought three pounds of their beef to make sandwiches at home for my Italian mama (she gets off the plane from Venice, Florida, and the first thing she wants is a Johnnie’s beef). What amazed me last night and today was the incredible freshness of the giardiniera. Super crisp little pepper chunks, very bright green, lightly oiled, with shreds of celery and carrot, it is far and away the best giardiniera I have ever had. Almost always, when I go to Johnnie’s, I grunt down the beef in the back lot, and although I usually get sweet and hot peppers, they seem to go too heavy on the hot. At home, I was able to just dot the sammy with hot peppers, and it was just right. The sweet peppers, too, were seasoned with oregano, a touch of garlic, and another unidentified herb. To me, these pepper condiments are the unsung heroes of the Johnnie’s Italian Beef sandwich.

One more word about Bobak’s. If you love pickles, and I do, this store offers a huge selection of pickled products, all very reasonably priced. I got four jars of pickled mushrooms, kraut, cukes/tomatoes and zucchini. I opened up the zucchini ($1.39 for a large bottle) and it was very good; crisp (which must be a challenge when making pickled zucchini) with a soft garlic and dill flavor.

Bobak's Sausage Co.
5275 S. Archer Chicago
IL 60632
(773) 735-5334

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound