Jeff Mauro may be Chicago’s very own Disney prince. He’s charming, handsome and makes a mean sandwich. The Food Network Star alum and Sandwich King host’s fast casual spot, Pork & Mindy’s, is settled in the heart of Wicker Park, a neighborhood the Chicago native spent much of his twenties in. With plans for an Irving Park location, groceraunts and a Wrigley Field menu on the horizon, Mauro has been busy making Pork & Mindy’s a new Chicago classic. When we sat down with the celebrity chef, he told us where to find him when he isn’t busy popping tots, building sandwiches or catching swooning fans.
A Christmastime treat: Mauro loves Edelweiss German American Cuisine (7650 W Irving Park Rd, Harwood Heights, IL). “To me, there is nothing better than their hearty spaetzle and schnitzel with shots of apple brandy and a giant beer to get you through the winter months.”
Favorite drink: Anything with tequila or mescal, especially if Rick Bayless is doing the pouring.
Night off haunt: If there’s a game on, he’ll be watching it over craft beer at Tiny Tap (7648 W North Ave, Elmwood Park, IL) and then around the corner at Armand’s Pizzeria (multiple locations) for a slice.
Family friendly spot: Every week, you’ll find the Mauro clan out and about at 5:30pm for Friday family date night. Their most recent favorite? “Parachute (3500 N Elston Ave) is the best for the families. Their kids menu is the amazing! They give you a bento box full of different colors, flavors and textures.”
For when the babysitter comes: “I go to Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse (1028 N Rush St) more than any other restaurant in the city—by far! I love what they do and I love the way I feel when I’m there.” For a change, the couple likes Imperial Lamian (6 W Hubbard St) and GT Prime (707 N Wells St).
To fight the Chicago cold: Chili is a wintertime constant in the Mauro home. After shoveling the snow, he makes some hot chocolate with whole milk and grappa, topped with whipped cream from a canister and marshmallows. Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.