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Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.

A Sandwich a Day: Italian Sausage and Pepper Sandwich at Il Vicinato

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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

As I mentioned in the Cheap Eats guide to Pilsen, Il Vicinato is a deeply confusing place. But since no one chimed in with an explanation, I've decided to post about it again. See, at first glance Il Vicinato looks like every other average Italian-American joint in town, but that's all undercut by the fact that you can pay someone to valet your car. On a Monday. At Lunch. On a street with lots of free spaces available. I mean, it's a good five miles to the Loop.

I'm not sure the absolutely massive Italian sausage sandwich ($8.50) will clear everything up, but you might care less after finishing it off. The kitchen chars a long Italian sausage until crisp, and then tosses it on an equally long bun with roasted peppers. It's solid, dependable stuff. But it wouldn't be worth writing about without the heap of meat sauce that's ladled on top. Sure, it's ridiculous and over the top, but it's also oddly comforting. And as long as you don't eat too many of the bland fries, you won't feel too bad about yourself.

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