LTH Home

  D'amato's [Italian Bakery]

  D'amato's [Italian Bakery]
  • Forum HomeLocked Topic BackTop
     Page 1 of 2
  • D'amato's [Italian Bakery]

    Post #1 - August 23rd, 2009, 11:32 am
    Post #1 - August 23rd, 2009, 11:32 am Post #1 - August 23rd, 2009, 11:32 am
    Imagine my enthusiasm when I find a great Italian sub shop and it just happens to have an equally great old-school Italian bakery right next to it. Needless to say, I was in heaven. Every time I go to Bari, I have to stop in to D'amato's next door and grab some sweets to go along with my sub. With a tiny storefront, a vintage cash register, a door that annoyingly opens inward, and the constant shouts of "Who's next?", D'amato's oozes Italian charm.

    The food is why I keep coming back. D'amato's serves one of my favorite cannoli in the city, and for the price (and size!), it can't be beat. The choice between regular and the rich, guilty-pleasure chocolate-covered variety is an impossible one. They're usually not filled to order, but I've never been served an inconsistent product. Each one has maintained its crisp shell and rich filling; this is a time-tested recipe, and it's been perfected. (For a more gut-busting option, try the "inis", which are fried or baked dough filled with the cannoli filling and only served on weekends.) They also serve a wide array of Italian pastries and cookies, and I've never walked away disappointed.

    Many people just come for the bread, and D'amato's delivers in this regard as well. With one of the few coal-fired ovens in the city, D'amato's is able to churn out stunning renditions of Italian baguettes, whole-wheat and sourdough loaves. It is these very breads that gives the signature crunch to Bari and Graziano's sandwiches. It's not uncommon to see people walking out with arm- and truck-loads of all the different varieties. Last but certainly not least, their dense pizza bread and focaccias are excellent, and they consistently challenge Bari's subs for my attention.

    I haven't seen much board attention given to D'amato's recently, but I attribute this to the place's timelessness. It's gotten plenty of love in the past, and I hope this continues into the future, as it is my Great Neighborhood Restaurant.

    Sadly, I wasn't able to find a main thread, but there are plenty of glowing mentions in others. This seems to be the contender:

    Main-ish Thread

    Food porn
    Mentioned as a one-two punch

    D'amato's Bakery
    1124 W Grand Ave
    Chicago, IL 60642
  • Post #2 - August 24th, 2009, 3:18 pm
    Post #2 - August 24th, 2009, 3:18 pm Post #2 - August 24th, 2009, 3:18 pm
    As I just wrote in the Bari thread, "I already nominated Pizza Art Cafe, but if I could nominate more than one place, I'd also nominate D'Amato's and Bari. So, I support [the Bari] nomination. Their subs are fantastic (and served on D'Amatos bread)." I support the D'Amato's nomination also. My first trip there was actually a little bit of a disappointment. I bought a plain Italian loaf and thought it was just too plain and flavorless (I've since learned that Italian baguettes tend not to have salt and are supposed to be like this). Since then, I've never been disappointed. The other day I picked up a large sourdough round that was incredibly good, a slice of their sausage pizza on focaccia, a rice ball filled with spinach and ricotta cheese, and a round of their tomato artichoke focaccia. All were excellent. There is a lot of discussion about the lack of great bread in Chicago. D'Amato's is one of the gems. You can also buy their bread at a few other stores around town (such as Harvestime on Lawrence).
  • Post #3 - August 25th, 2009, 8:57 pm
    Post #3 - August 25th, 2009, 8:57 pm Post #3 - August 25th, 2009, 8:57 pm
    Note that there are three D'Amato's bakeries. HarvesTime carries bread from the Victor D'Amato's wholesale only bakery, which is across the street from the bakery under consideration here. Treasure Island has carried bread from Frank D'Amato's bakery from the 1300 block of Grand.
  • Post #4 - August 25th, 2009, 9:56 pm
    Post #4 - August 25th, 2009, 9:56 pm Post #4 - August 25th, 2009, 9:56 pm
    ekreider wrote:Note that there are three D'Amato's bakeries. HarvesTime carries bread from the Victor D'Amato's wholesale only bakery, which is across the street from the bakery under consideration here. Treasure Island has carried bread from Frank D'Amato's bakery from the 1300 block of Grand.


    Really? Interesting to know. I thought the tomato loaf and sourdough loaf that I bought at Harvestime were seemingly identical to those that I bought at the bakery on Grand.
  • Post #5 - August 26th, 2009, 11:21 am
    Post #5 - August 26th, 2009, 11:21 am Post #5 - August 26th, 2009, 11:21 am
    Interesting. I have observed people from the "original" D'Amato's running bread and/or baking supplies across the street and assumed they were a single operation. (Not unlike Peoria packing, which has a warehouse across the street -- where they go to walk back whole pigs to your car.)
  • Post #6 - August 26th, 2009, 4:28 pm
    Post #6 - August 26th, 2009, 4:28 pm Post #6 - August 26th, 2009, 4:28 pm
    IIRC Victor took over the original after the brothers' father died, so there may be some degree of integration now. Victor supplied the bread for Vivere (and probably the whole Italian Village operation) the last time I ate there. My wife asked the manager about the good bread. He replied D'Amato. I asked which one. He said good question, went back to the kitchen and came out saying Victor.

    In any case the bread sold at HarvesTime is quite different from what comes out of the cola-fired oven.
  • Post #7 - August 26th, 2009, 4:36 pm
    Post #7 - August 26th, 2009, 4:36 pm Post #7 - August 26th, 2009, 4:36 pm
    Is it possible Harvestime has changed what they stock? As I said, the sourdough loaf and tomato bread that I've picked up at Harvestime seems indistinguishable from what I bought at D'amato's directly. Next time I go to Harvestime I'll check the address on the bag.

    I suppose it doesn't matter much, but I'm curious about this.
  • Post #8 - August 26th, 2009, 5:06 pm
    Post #8 - August 26th, 2009, 5:06 pm Post #8 - August 26th, 2009, 5:06 pm
    I have never seen a whole sourdough loaf of D'Amato's bread at Harvestime (don't know about presliced as I never buy that stuff). They stock Labriola sourdough, though. The whole long D'Amato loaves stocked in varying numbers are Filone, Italian, Vienna with or without sesame seeds and whole wheat. They have distinctive crusts and textures.

    We usually cut a loaf into three pieces. The center section is used the day of purchase, one end is wrapped for the next evening, and the third is wrapped for the freezer with part of the paper bag on the outside as a label. The bag for Italian bread in our freezer clearly says Victor and 1125 W. Grand.
  • Post #9 - August 27th, 2009, 2:06 am
    Post #9 - August 27th, 2009, 2:06 am Post #9 - August 27th, 2009, 2:06 am
    I'm not sure there's enough of the good ol' board imagination capturing for D'Amato's to qualify.

    Buuuuuuuut, I do feel compelled to add that if LTH were entirely populated by me and my clones, D'Amato's would be a shoo-in, as I imagine is partly evidenced by the fact that I was the source of the food porn linked to above.

    My love is, admittedly, mostly due to two items: the pizza bread, and the cannoli.

    The cannoli were, in fact, the source of one of my more amusing D'Amato's stories. In high school, my roommate Dave and I both worked a summer or two at my family's business, located on the corner of Chicago and Halsted. Naturally, D'Amato's was a regular stop. Upon first tasting a D'Amato's cannolo, Dave became a man obsessed, and proceeded to make a habit of consuming a minimum of two a day, though his record was in the low teens. This is no hyperbole. The $1 price tag made this feasible from a monetary standpoint, but more shocking was the fact that his slight frame and jet-fueled metabolism tore right through them and he appeared no worse for the wear. In any case, come Christmastime, I carefully designed and printed up a D'Amato's Cannoli Club Card, with punch squares for 20 cannoli. Vic D'Amato was good enough to sign it himself, and I had it laminated. He first received an accompanying hole punch, and then the card, which he never had the heart to actually use, and kept in his wallet instead. Just as well, I suppose. It might've lasted him three days at the outside.

    Much as I love it, I question whether D'Amato's has enough support to merit a GNR. But it has mine.
    Last edited by Dmnkly on August 27th, 2009, 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #10 - August 27th, 2009, 12:01 pm
    Post #10 - August 27th, 2009, 12:01 pm Post #10 - August 27th, 2009, 12:01 pm
    If one looks back to the golden days of LTH (which for me includes a fair amount of Antonius and Hungry Rabbi), you will find a trove of commentary about the merits of D'Amato's pizza and where it fits into the pizza pantheon. I make a point of getting "bakery pizza," schiacciatta, focaccia pizza, sheet pizza, grandma pizza, or whatever you'd like to call it wherever it continues to exist. It's an old-time Italian American curiosity to me. D'Amato's with sausage (from Bari, possibly?) is my overall favorite anywhere. And don't forget the cherry bars.

    I'm 100% behind the D'Amato's nomination.
  • Post #11 - August 27th, 2009, 12:19 pm
    Post #11 - August 27th, 2009, 12:19 pm Post #11 - August 27th, 2009, 12:19 pm
    Any lack of written commentary on D'Amato's (if there is) is due solely to the fact that D'Amato's is so ingrained in our collective LTH psyche that you forget that you need to mention it from time to time. I know I do; I've been a regular D'Amato's customer when I want Italian bread (which is most of the time) since I moved to West Town in 2001. Just the other night, I mentioned to someone that I don't think my Thanksgiving stuffing would taste the same without D'Amato's bread; their round peasant boule is the most versatile of sorts (make sure you give the crust a knock first), and their long loaf is perfect for pizza parlor-style garlic bread, as the crumb becomes perfectly light and airy after toasting for 20 minutes in the oven. I don't think that a road trip to Michigan on a Saturday would be complete without first stopping in for an assortment of cookies (I really like the fig version) and olive focaccia as sustenance for the weekend. Saturday mornings in summer are the best with lines out the door as the old folks who used to live in the neighborhood come in and buy whole sheet pans of pizza to bring to picnics and 4 lb. boxes of cookies (thus, indoctrinating the younger generation to D'Amato's goodies).

    I heartily support D'Amato's for a GNR(esource).
  • Post #12 - August 27th, 2009, 1:32 pm
    Post #12 - August 27th, 2009, 1:32 pm Post #12 - August 27th, 2009, 1:32 pm
    JeffB wrote:If one looks back to the golden days of LTH (which for me includes a fair amount of Antonius and Hungry Rabbi), you will find a trove of commentary about the merits of D'Amato's pizza and where it fits into the pizza pantheon. I make a point of getting "bakery pizza," schiacciatta, focaccia pizza, sheet pizza, grandma pizza, or whatever you'd like to call it wherever it continues to exist. It's an old-time Italian American curiosity to me. D'Amato's with sausage (from Bari, possibly?) is my overall favorite anywhere. And don't forget the cherry bars.

    I'm 100% behind the D'Amato's nomination.


    aschie30 wrote:Any lack of written commentary on D'Amato's (if there is) is due solely to the fact that D'Amato's is so ingrained in our collective LTH psyche that you forget that you need to mention it from time to time. I know I do; I've been a regular D'Amato's customer when I want Italian bread (which is most of the time) since I moved to West Town in 2001. Just the other night, I mentioned to someone that I don't think my Thanksgiving stuffing would taste the same without D'Amato's bread; their round peasant boule is the most versatile of sorts (make sure you give the crust a knock first), and their long loaf is perfect for pizza parlor-style garlic bread, as the crumb becomes perfectly light and airy after toasting for 20 minutes in the oven. I don't think that a road trip to Michigan on a Saturday would be complete without first stopping in for an assortment of cookies (I really like the fig version) and olive focaccia as sustenance for the weekend. Saturday mornings in summer are the best with lines out the door as the old folks who used to live in the neighborhood come in and buy whole sheet pans of pizza to bring to picnics and 4 lb. boxes of cookies (thus, indoctrinating the younger generation to D'Amato's goodies).

    I heartily support D'Amato's for a GNR(esource).


    I need say no more, everything I believe having been stated here. Great nomination.
  • Post #13 - August 27th, 2009, 1:40 pm
    Post #13 - August 27th, 2009, 1:40 pm Post #13 - August 27th, 2009, 1:40 pm
    geno55 wrote:try the "inis", which are fried or baked dough filled with the cannoli filling and only served on weekends.


    Yes, these were a revelation the first time I had them. I consider D'Amato's the best all around bakery in Chicago.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #14 - August 27th, 2009, 3:31 pm
    Post #14 - August 27th, 2009, 3:31 pm Post #14 - August 27th, 2009, 3:31 pm
    Note: Bakeries have historically been considered GNR(estaurants,) and for consistency's sake should remain so.

    GNR Guidelines wrote:Surprisingly, what seems like the simplest term has been the most contentious. Every year, a new nomination would further stretch the definition of Restaurant, until in the new nominations of 2008 it broke. A nomination was excluded because it did not logically fit into even the loosest definition of the term restaurant.
    As a result, starting in 2009, we decided to codify the definition of this word. For the Great Neighborhood Restaurants, a Restaurant is any place where we go primarily to get ready-to-eat food or drink. Specifically, it is any place that fits into the categories defined by the places that were already GNRs as of January 1, 2009. While we generally wish to leave it to the posters and nominators to determine the category of a place, based on tradition so far, bakeries shall be considered Restaurants for the GNRs.
  • Post #15 - September 7th, 2009, 11:41 pm
    Post #15 - September 7th, 2009, 11:41 pm Post #15 - September 7th, 2009, 11:41 pm
    I heartily endorse this nomination and agree with many of the comments above about how D'Amato's has become almost inseparable from the collective LTH psyche. But even though there's no 'main' thread about it, it's almost a given how much of a benchmark it is around here. However, I'm not suggesting that we set a new precedent. This is clearly a board favorite. If you search for D'Amato's in these forums, you'll find literally hundreds of posts -- most of which praise it and many of which identify it as the place to get a given breadstuff for applications both common and obscure.

    D'Amato's goods are distinctive and of extremely high quality. Their breads, pizza breads, focaccias and pastries are all bar-setting and consistently excellent. I recently stopped in with my family and we picked up several items but the one that really blew us away on that day was this excellent sausage pizza bread, which has always been one of my favorites . . .

    Image
    Sausage Pizza Bread from D'Amato's Bakery

    This was my son's first taste of one of these beauties and he pretty much bogarted it from the wife and I, who each got one bite (I made sure mine was from that super-caramelized edge). That was fine because seeing how much he was enjoying it was enough for me (at least, this time around). As a city, we're lucky to have D'Amato's and we'd be a lot worse off if it weren't here for us.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #16 - September 9th, 2009, 9:05 am
    Post #16 - September 9th, 2009, 9:05 am Post #16 - September 9th, 2009, 9:05 am
    ekreider wrote:Note that there are three D'Amato's bakeries. HarvesTime carries bread from the Victor D'Amato's wholesale only bakery, which is across the street from the bakery under consideration here. Treasure Island has carried bread from Frank D'Amato's bakery from the 1300 block of Grand.

    Wow, I had no idea!

    So the one being nominated is the one on the north side of Grand, across May Street from May Street Market, right?

    And the wonderful whole wheat bread they carry at Marketplace on Oakton is from one of the other two, either the one on the south side of Grand, or the one a few blocks to the west?

    Interesting!
  • Post #17 - September 9th, 2009, 5:38 pm
    Post #17 - September 9th, 2009, 5:38 pm Post #17 - September 9th, 2009, 5:38 pm
    No need to echo the heap of praise, but D'Amato's makes some bad bad bad bad-ass bread.

    My 96 year old grandmother still sends me there twice a week for their twisted loaf.

    My dad who now lives in LA still waxes poetic about their dark-crusted, rustic Italian sourdough, and hasn't found a substitute in la la land.

    My first memorable Chicago pizza memory was a warm slice of their cheese pie. It still stands as my favorite pizza in Chicago, possibly the world.

    Go D'Amatos!
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #18 - September 9th, 2009, 8:11 pm
    Post #18 - September 9th, 2009, 8:11 pm Post #18 - September 9th, 2009, 8:11 pm
    JeffB wrote:If one looks back to the golden days of LTH (which for me includes a fair amount of Antonius and Hungry Rabbi), you will find a trove of commentary about the merits of D'Amato's pizza and where it fits into the pizza pantheon. I make a point of getting "bakery pizza," schiacciatta, focaccia pizza, sheet pizza, grandma pizza, or whatever you'd like to call it wherever it continues to exist. It's an old-time Italian American curiosity to me. D'Amato's with sausage (from Bari, possibly?) is my overall favorite anywhere. And don't forget the cherry bars.

    I'm 100% behind the D'Amato's nomination.


    Jeff -- Many thanks for remembering the Rabbi and me... and I'm quite sure that you're right that we praised D'Amato's on quite a few occasions back in the day... auld lang syne...

    To the subject at hand, yes, indeed, now that bakeries need not be considered restaurants, I too am 100% behind this nomination... both for the bread and the 'pizza bread'...

    To my mind, there are two top notch Italian bakeries in the city and this D'Amato's is one of the two.

    Come si dice nel nostro dialetto, buon' comm' 'o pan'...

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #19 - September 9th, 2009, 8:13 pm
    Post #19 - September 9th, 2009, 8:13 pm Post #19 - September 9th, 2009, 8:13 pm
    Gosh... had I realized that the love ran so deep, I would've nominated them myself two years ago :-)
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #20 - September 11th, 2009, 7:29 am
    Post #20 - September 11th, 2009, 7:29 am Post #20 - September 11th, 2009, 7:29 am
    Dmnkly wrote:Gosh... had I realized that the love ran so deep, I would've nominated them myself two years ago :-)

    Love runs very deep, a strong GNR nomination from my crusty bread loving perspective.
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #21 - September 11th, 2009, 3:12 pm
    Post #21 - September 11th, 2009, 3:12 pm Post #21 - September 11th, 2009, 3:12 pm
    ekreider wrote:
    Note that there are three D'Amato's bakeries. HarvesTime carries bread from the Victor D'Amato's wholesale only bakery, which is across the street from the bakery under consideration here. Treasure Island has carried bread from Frank D'Amato's bakery from the 1300 block of Grand.


    IIRC they split the business up by territories. I remember calling awhile back for a sales rep, called one location, he asked me where the restaurant was located, then told me to call the other number.
  • Post #22 - September 19th, 2011, 5:19 am
    Post #22 - September 19th, 2011, 5:19 am Post #22 - September 19th, 2011, 5:19 am
    This place is up for renewal of its GNR. Please post your comments here until 10/10/11.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #23 - September 20th, 2011, 12:09 pm
    Post #23 - September 20th, 2011, 12:09 pm Post #23 - September 20th, 2011, 12:09 pm
    D'Amato's is one of the few places I visit nearly every time I'm in Chicago. This is partially because its an excuse to hang out with my grandmother after I pick up some bread - the only bread she'll allow in her house - for her.

    She prefers the large, twisted loaf. I love the charred, torpedo-shaped "sourdough", though there is little, if any, distance between them in quality.

    The best part of running this errand for grams is a chance to pick up, in addition to the sourdough, some pizza, foccaccia and cannoli.

    The pizza is probably my favorite non-thin crust in Chicago. I'll take a slice of D'Amato's over anything I've had in NYC so far (I haven't had similar bakery styles). Yeah its greasy and salty. But what's wrong with that? The char, the yeasty dough, the tangy tomato sauce. Superb.

    So their cannoli aren't filled to order. For a few bucks, I doubt you could do better.

    And then there's the old cash register. And the kindly storekeeps, and the list goes on...

    I can hardly think of a place that exudes GNR more than D'Amato's.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #24 - September 22nd, 2011, 2:30 pm
    Post #24 - September 22nd, 2011, 2:30 pm Post #24 - September 22nd, 2011, 2:30 pm
    Victor D'Amato's bread is the only one I will go out of my way for. I've been buying it for 25 years, and the quality remains high. The service is always friendly and courteous, even when there's a line to the door.

    A hearty, charcoal-fueled "Yes!" to this renewal.
  • Post #25 - October 2nd, 2011, 4:11 pm
    Post #25 - October 2nd, 2011, 4:11 pm Post #25 - October 2nd, 2011, 4:11 pm
    A great, distinctive place. I think their bread is some of the very best in the city. I support renewal.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #26 - October 3rd, 2011, 11:11 am
    Post #26 - October 3rd, 2011, 11:11 am Post #26 - October 3rd, 2011, 11:11 am
    Two words: Shoo. In.

    Hard to imagine living in Chicago without this place. Strongly support renewal.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #27 - October 3rd, 2011, 11:30 am
    Post #27 - October 3rd, 2011, 11:30 am Post #27 - October 3rd, 2011, 11:30 am
    My only regret about D'Amato's GNR status is that I'm not the one who did the nominating. I was thrilled that it got so much support when nominated, and it deserves it every bit as much today.
    Dominic Armato
    Dining Critic
    The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com
  • Post #28 - October 4th, 2011, 10:49 am
    Post #28 - October 4th, 2011, 10:49 am Post #28 - October 4th, 2011, 10:49 am
    The long french baguette alone makes this a great GNR. Best bread outside of Paris! Not a fan of their cookies-Palermo is better.
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #29 - October 4th, 2011, 12:03 pm
    Post #29 - October 4th, 2011, 12:03 pm Post #29 - October 4th, 2011, 12:03 pm
    Elfin wrote:The long french baguette alone makes this a great GNR. Best bread outside of Paris! Not a fan of their cookies-Palermo is better.


    pretty sure D'Amato's cookies are Palermo cookies. They're not made by D'Amato's.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #30 - October 4th, 2011, 1:43 pm
    Post #30 - October 4th, 2011, 1:43 pm Post #30 - October 4th, 2011, 1:43 pm
    Elfin wrote:The long french baguette alone makes this a great GNR. Best bread outside of Paris! Not a fan of their cookies-Palermo is better.


    Is Bari a GNR in my eyes? Well, you know me, they're nearly all GNRs in my book. I love the atmosphere here, the way the breads are displayed, the sheet pizza; still, best bread?

    I don't even think D'Amato's is the best Italian style bread in Chicago, but in the overall improvement we've seen in breads in Chicago in the last 10 years or so, it's probably not in the top ten, at least for baguette or minimal ingredient style breads.

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more