[Photograph: Chelsea Ross]

When it comes to finding the perfect Italian sub, I take the hunt very seriously. Fresh ingredients are key&madsh;from the type of bread down to the choice of dressing. After moving to Chicago for school, the first one I came across that left me full and satisfied was discovered at J.P. Graziano's deli.

The 9-inch Italian sub ($6.25) had all of the components that any Italian sandwich should possess. The crusty Italian bread was soft on the inside, which absorbed the seasonings and dressing, while also sturdy enough to hold the meats and cheese together. My first bite awakened my senses thanks to the saltiness from both the Volpi Genoa salami and hard salami, smokiness from the hot capicola, and the zest from the peppered mortadella and oregano, which I later found out are all imported straight from Italy.

Another great addition to the sub were the fresh tomatoes that lined the center of the sandwich; I could smell and taste the juiciness as I took my first bite. It is crucial to use ripe tomatoes in a sandwich, which J.P. Graziano's clearly accomplishes.

J.P. Graziano Grocery

901 W Randolph St Chicago, IL 60607 (map)


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