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[Photograph: Josh Conley]

I've been like a moth to the iridescence of Capt'n Nemo's for some time now. Always the same scenario: after hours, coming up Ashland, those neon lights and customers painted in the booths beckoning me for a late-night nosh, then—pling—I smack right into that 8:00 p.m. closing time over and over, confused and hungry. Then one day I got the bright idea to go earlier in the day, where I was greeted with a friendly nautical theme and a soup sample.

Their bestseller is the Northern Italian ($4.49), consisting of Genoa salami, mortadella, provolone, olive dressing, and LTO (lettuce, tomato, and onion). The bread is toasted to a wafery crispness, and the toppings are nice and fresh. You get some garlic from the salami, but the meat ends up being largely a cold-cut chaser, an epilogue to the overarching Life of Olive Dressing story. Luckily, it's a good story, one of black and green olives, pimentos, and oregano. Along with the soups, they also make their own Italian beef in house, and instead of adding a credit card surcharge, they actually subtract 3% if you pay cash. That's just how they float this boat.

Capt'n Nemo's

3650 North Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60613 (map)
773-929-7687
Capt'n Nemo's

Josh Conley is single-handedly trying to re-introduce the verb beget into the everyday lexicon. He traveled to Easter Island one Christmas out of sheer irony. He excises a hefty syntax, and shamelessly promotes the color orange. His wife begat him two small children that he regularly belittles HERE.

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