Pigs just hop into the meat grinder and come out as sausage links at Rosario's. Or, at least, that's how Chicago's most inventive neon sign depicts it at this more than 50-year-old institution.
With "chef pig" guarding the cash register, a flying pig hanging from the ceiling and a gigantic ceramic smiling pig keeping watch over a bank of freezers, Rosario's is a museum of pork-related products. The weekly specials are still handwritten on placards affixed to the wall, while a baseball trophy stands shoulder-to-shoulder with hot peppers on the meat counter—the spot for stocking up on barbecue beef, Italian beef and homemade bratwurst by the pound.
But the star is by far the homemade Italian sausage, studded with fennel seeds and red pepper. Sure you can buy it by the pound, but getting a charred link rolled up in a chewy French bread roll with zingy red sauce and sweet peppers is the only way to go.
Rosario's also doubles as a small Italian grocery, stocking mozzarella, spices, cookies, fresh and frozen homemade pastas and sauces.
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant