Fans of Sicilia Bakery know all about their pizzas, sandwiches and baked goods. But now the family behind the bakery is getting into the sandwich business, with one of the tiniest spaces in town, just 270 square feet in all. Don't expect a dining room, or even a place to sit. But do get ready for a blast of Italian favorites, either made in-house, or sourced meticulously from the best purveyors.
They are the building blocks of the Italian kitchen: Bread. Meatballs. Gravy. And all are in abundance at the new Rosie's Sidekick in Logan Square, where everything is inspired by mom.
"Rosie is my mom. Rosalia, she's my inspiration to cooking, my mom and my dad," said Fred Pecoraro, the owner of Rosie's. "We make our own bread. It's all natural, no chemicals or preservatives. All our homemade meatballs are here. Anything that we cook from our pastramis to our roast beef, everything is pretty much cooked in-house."
Rosie was from Palermo, Sicily, but the sandwiches are influenced by Chicago as much as anything. Take their Italian beef. It's thinly-sliced, bathed in the jus then piled onto Sicilia Bakery bread. You can get it dipped and then topped with a choice of sweet bell peppers or hot, briny and crunchy giardiniera. A preponderance of garlic and oregano are good things. Meatballs rest in slices of provolone, then get bathed in thick marinara, again, topped with giardiniera if you like.
A muffaletta begins with that iconic round loaf, first seasoned with oil and vinegar, then layer upon layer of mortadella, capicolla, provolone, salami, you name it, plus an assertive olive salad all smashed between those thick, puffy layers of bread.
To drink? How about a Kool-aid. Updated just a tad.
"Nobody really does it, and I thought it'd be cool to do, we'll serve real Kool-Aid, but we use pure cane sugar to make ours instead of a beet sugar or syrup or anything like that," said Pecoraro.
Even a tuna sandwich gets an upgrade. Imported from Italy, the tuna is lightly seasoned then layered onto that sturdy Italian bread with tomatoes and onions, plus that vibrant olive salad. Pecoraro says they're not reinventing anything, just recreating the flavors they grew up with.
"We just keep it really simple. It's stuff that we've cooked at home our whole lives," he said.
2610 N. California Ave.
In Steve's Extra Course video, he takes a closer look at a few of the Italian pastries they sell at Rosie's, coming directly from Sicilia Bakery on the Northwest Side.