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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

I recently visited a whole bunch of Italian delis, traveling up to Edison Park and down to Tinley Park. While each had its own character, they shared a similar aesthetic that can best be described as old school. They felt like they were bedrocks of their communities, with a lived-in and comfortable vibe. The one real exception was Italia Imports in Orland Park. Though it actually was built in 1999, it feels like it could have opened last year, thanks to an open layout, high ceilings, and plentiful parking.

While I visited for an Italian beef—which is good—I was much more impressed with the deli's Italian sub, which is distinguished by a light and flaky roll that kind of tastes like a better version of the bread you'd find at Jimmy John's. I realize this sounds like a dis, but I hope not. The lighter, airier bread made it easier to appreciate the freshly sliced meats and cheeses. I can't say it's worth a special excursion out to Orland Park just to try, but if you happen to find yourself near the southwest suburb, it's the kind of neighborhood lunch spot we'd all be glad to live by.

Italia Imports

Italia Imports

11351 W 143rd St Orland Park IL 60467 7083492007

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