I’ve been thinking a lot about how I became the foodie geek that I am today and with Father’s Day just around the corner, I’ve realized that credit is do to my dad. Because of him, I’ve experienced a lot of the top-notch food Chicago has to offer, and one of my favorite places he took me to was Hero’s Subs.
For 49 years, Hero’s Sub has stood on the corner of Addison and Western and has continued to provide some of the most notable subs Chicago has to offer. Manager Donna Bieniek, 56, is one of seven children who help run this close nit family establishment.
“Our food is unique because our food is not out of a bag,” said Bieniek. “We do our own slicing, our own produce, and everything comes out fresh everyday.”
But to me, what truly makes this place a sub lover’s haven is the fresh bread delivered daily from Toronto and the oregano seasoning that gives each sandwich a warm and slightly vinegary taste.
Since I can remember, I have always ordered the same thing — Ham and provolone sub, everything on it, no tomatoes. But this simple, no frills sandwich has an anything but ordinary flavor. Take one bite of any of the sandwiches and you will see how the provolone and oregano mix with the freshly sliced meat to almost melt in your mouth.
And who can resist a charming family owned restaurant?
“People respect the hard work that we do,” said Bieniek. “We’re here, it’s not like I have somebody who comes in. I’m here, my brother is here, my sisters are here, and my parents still come in. We’re here.”
But for many small businesses around the country, a tough economy provides a roadblock to future success. Luckily, this family establishment is staying strong, which leaves this foodie feeling relieved.
For me, walking into Hero’s subs isn’t just about the fresh and hearty food — although I’m already craving another sub — it’s about the comfort you feel when you walk through the door and are greeted by one of the many generations of family.
“We’re hanging tough,” said Bieniek. “I just hope people continue to respect what we do and continue to walk through that door and keep us in business.”