The Nut House, 7281 W. 87th St. in Bridgeview, is the kind of wonderful place you stumble upon, unless you're tapped into the Middle Eastern community on the Southwest Side of the city. From the looks of the multi-colored inventory, you'd think this was a candy store from another planet. But The Nut House - smack dab in the middle of a Bridgeview strip mall - is just a source for familiar flavors from the Middle East.
"Actually we started The Nut House back in 1953, in Jordan in the Middle East. And we we're known for roasting the grade-A quality tree nuts," said Munir Shujaeih, owner of The Nut House.
Pistachios are probably the biggest item here. Almost as soon as they come in to the store, they're roasted in machines as big as cement mixers. Nuts aren't the only things they'll roast: even green coffee beans get heated until they're a deep, dark ebony. As for the assorted nuts, which may or may not include dried fruits, the almonds are just about the only thing domestic; pretty much everything else - from the pumpkin seeds to the Japanese peanuts - is shipped from overseas.
"Cashews we get it from Brazil and everything is pretty much imported. The hazelnut is also from Turkey. Most of our Turkish delight is obviously from Turkey as well," he said.
And that Turkish delight is truly unique. Available in more than a dozen flavors, imagine the smoothest, sweetest, chewiest creation consisting of powdered and granulated sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice that's then flavored with an assortment of pistachios and other flavorings.
"Some of it is stuffed with nuts, some of it is plain and the best way to descirbe is just gummy delights," said Shujaeih.
They'll cut them into manageable, bite-sized pieces, then assemble them on a sampler tray if you like.. But be sure to get at least one or two flavors that include pistachios.
"They use it in all kinds of sweets, we roast it and then you know people buy it. They put it in Turkish delights, I think it's the biggest out of everything," he said.
They do have some sampler trays available pre-made, but you might want to call ahead to place any special orders.
The Nut House
7281 W. 87th St., Bridgeview