There's no shortage of good Italian sandwiches in Chicago, so if you plan to serve one, it better be good. Now that that public service announcement is out of the way, please go get a Spicy Italian (12" for $11) from Chop Shop in Bucktown.
This new butcher/deli/bar/restaurant/event space (seriously) is still getting its feet wet in Bucktown, but it's got a near-perfect Italian sandwich coming out of the deli section. The meats are all incredibly flavorful, each showcasing their own unique seasoning. The hot soppressata shines through the most—peppery and spicy—followed by the fatty casalingo. The hot coppa has a strong red pepper flavor with an intense saltiness. It's all topped with a mild provolone, crisp lettuce, tomatoes and a small helping of hot or mild giardiniera if you want them. I opted for hot giardiniera, which was a spicy mix of carrots, cauliflower, peppers, and celery. I longed for just a bit more heat than what they gave me, but it was an easily fix. One extra side of giardiniera and I was a blissfully happy girl, devouring a sandwich almost the size of my forearm.