Sandwich of the Week: Centro Ristorante’s Rosebud Meatball Sandwich in Chicago


Three hand-rolled Rosebud meatballs help make up the Rosebud meatball sandwich at Centro Ristorante in Chicago.

Chef Joe Farina’s Italian culinary education began in his childhood home, where his mother prepared traditional specialties while his father took charge of the grill. As an adult, he spent a few years learning as a line cook at the Hotel Nikko (now the Westin Chicago River North) and sous chef at the Chicago Yacht Club before becoming Head Chef at the world-famous Carmine’s at age 27. While there, he created dishes that have since become menu classics of the Rosebud Restaurants, of which he has been the corporate executive chef for over a decade. 

One of these traditional Italian staples is the Rosebud meatball sandwich, available at Rosebud restaurant Centro Ristorante in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. Three hand-rolled Rosebud meatballs, comprising prime beef, fresh herbs, and a blend of imported Parmesan-Reggiano and pecorino Romano cheeses, are cooked in house-made marinara sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella before being baked in a crispy baguette. 

“If you don’t like the food you’re cooking, you’ll never be good at it, and I love this food,” explained chef Farina. “I try to make the food perfect, and then make it better every day. That philosophy lies at the heart of what we do, and what Centro and Rosebud Restaurants are all about.” This love and dedication is certainly palpable in Farina’s food, and it’s why his meatball sandwich is this week’s sandwich of the week.


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