Local's Picks for the Best Italian Sub - Oak Park and the Near West Suburbs

Few can rival the classic Italian sub when it comes to iconic sandwiches. Bursting with layers of savory meats, cheeses, and vibrant vegetables, it's a beloved staple in the realm of deli cuisine, and luckily, Oak Park and the surrounding suburbs have plenty of options. Join us on a journey as we uncover some of the best Italian subs in the Near West Suburbs, highlighting  the unique offerings that make each establishment a must-visit.

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What Makes an Italian Sub?


Before delving into our delicious exploration, let's examine the essence of an Italian sub. This sandwich typically features a medley of Italian meats such as salami, pepperoni, and capicola atop a foundation of crusty Italian bread. These meats are then complemented by slices of provolone cheese, crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and tangy onions. 

However, what truly sets the Italian sub apart is the common addition of giardiniera, a zesty Italian relish made from pickled vegetables such as peppers, carrots, and cauliflower. This spicy, vinegary topping adds a kick that elevates the sandwich to new heights, particularly in the Chicago area, where it's a beloved condiment.


The Best Italian Sub Near Oak Park


We asked, and you answered, so let's dive in to the local's picks for the best Italian sub.


Alpine Food Shop | Elmwood Park & Westchester


First alphabetically and first in the hearts of most locals, the subs from Alpine Food Shop are voted by many as the best Italian sub in the Near West Suburbs. With locations in Westchester and Elmwood Park, Alpine is renowned for its commitment to quality ingredients and authentic flavors. Each bite of an Alpine sub bursts with the savory goodness of thinly sliced meats, including imported salami and ham, perfectly balanced by creamy provolone cheese and Alpine's homemade oil and vinegar dressing. Beyond their signature Italian sub, they also serve up veggie and specialty meat versions. And don't forget to add a delicious side of potato or primavera pasta salad to accompany your sub. Whether you're looking for a delicious lunch or need a whole tray of tasty sandwiches for a party, Alpine's subs are second to none.

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Capri Italian Food | River Forest


Capri Italian Foods in River Forest is a cherished gem in the community, boasting over 50 years of tradition as a family-owned Italian specialty store and deli. Every item reflects their dedication to quality and authenticity, from savory Italian sausage to succulent roast beef, flavorful meatballs, pasta sauce, and zesty olive salad. At their Italian Deli, patrons are treated to a variety of fresh sandwiches, with their special Italian Sub taking center stage. The Capri Sub features a combination of salami, capicollo, mortadella, ham, and provolone, meticulously layered to perfection. With each bite, customers embark on a journey steeped in tradition and flavor, a testament to Capri Italian Foods' enduring legacy of excellence.


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Frank’s Deli | River Forest 


Frank's Deli in River Forest is a no-frills haven for sub enthusiasts seeking authentic flavors and generous portions. With a dedication to quality, Frank's Deli crafts Italian subs that have become legendary among locals. Their crown jewel, the Italian sub, is a mouthwatering masterpiece featuring premium meats, crisp veggies, and fresh dressings, all nestled between slices of bread. But the excellence doesn't stop there; every sandwich that emerges from Frank's kitchen is a testament to their commitment to foodie flavor. For those craving a slice of pizza perfection, look no further than their other restaurant, Bertolli's Pizza, conveniently located next door. Both are sure to satisfy your cravings with unparalleled flavor and satisfaction.


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Massa Cafe Italian | Elmwood Park


Located in the Elmwood Park community, Massa Cafe stands as a beacon of authentic Italian cuisine, boasting an array of delicious treats, from award-winning gelato to freshly roasted coffee. Founded by the esteemed Lollino family, whose culinary expertise spans generations, Massa Cafe is a testament to their dedication to preserving and sharing the rich flavors of Italy. Among their offerings is the Soprano panini, a spin on the classic Italian sub. Featuring layers of prosciutto, salami, mortadella, complemented by mild giardiniera, fresh mozzarella, spinach, tomatoes, and an irresistible sundried tomato spread, all nestled within a Tuscan roll, the Soprano panini promises the perfect blend of flavors with each bite. At Massa Cafe, every dish tells a story of tradition, passion, and the timeless allure of Italian cuisine.


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Mr. Sub | Multiple Locations


With multiple locations throughout the region, Mr. Sub has become a go-to destination for sandwich aficionados seeking quality and convenience. While their menu showcases a wide range of subs and sandwiches, their Italian-style classic Mr. Sub sandwich truly steals the show. Crafted with care using ham and salami, Mr. Sub's rendition of this classic sandwich is a testament to simplicity done right. Doused in their secret sauce, a unique mixture of oil and Italian spices, each bite packs a delightful punch of flavor. Mr. Sub also offers a range of sides and salads, making it the perfect spot for a quick and delicious meal on the go.


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Publican Quality Bread | Oak Park


New to the scene in Oak Park, Publican Quality Bread is already off to a great start with customers. Their incredible storefront features a wall of fresh bread and fantastic wines to go, and up at the counter, you'll find beautiful pastries like an almond croissant with the perfect filling, a goat cheese Danish with tomato conserve, or a classic blueberry streusel muffin. On their lunch menu, you'll also find a colossal sub, known to Publican as the Super Italian, with soppressata, salame cotto, capicola, provolone, lettuce, onion, tomato conserva, nestled in between a cut loaf of their homemade bread. You can get a half pound or a pound, and so far, everyone says it's incredible. 


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Scudiero’s | Melrose Park


Scudiero's Italian Bakery and Deli in Melrose Park traces its roots back to the quaint village of Serino, Italy, where Umbaldo Datoli's family ran a cherished bakery for generations. He eventually moved to America, where it was taken over by his daughter and son-in-law, Joe Scudiero. Today, Scudiero's remains a beacon of tradition and taste, now overseen by three of Joe Scudiero's sons, Frank, Aldo, and Anthony. At Scudiero's, the essence of a family-run business thrives, which is evident in their signature offering, the classic Italian Sub. Crafted with Genova salami, sliced ham, Italian mortadella, domestic provolone, crisp lettuce, ripe Roma tomatoes, and drizzled with vinegar & oil, seasoned with authentic spices, each sub is a testament to their commitment to quality and freshness. 


Notably, all their subs and sandwiches are made to order, ensuring every bite is a flavorful experience. Beyond subs, Scudiero's offers pizza wraps, salads, and more, all crafted with the same dedication to excellence. Scudiero's is more than a bakery and deli; it's a cherished part of Melrose Park's community.


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Starship | Forest Park, IL


In the heart of Forest Park, Starship has been serving delicious soup and sandwiches for more than 45 years. The beloved neighborhood eatery is famous for the La Nasa, an Italian sub like no other. Loaded with salami, mortadella, and capicola, then topped with provolone and hot giardiniera, this impressive sandwich remains a perennial favorite among locals and visitors alike. Their amazing hot and cold sandwiches pair perfectly with soup, and Starship offers more than 150 varieties. From favorites like chicken noodle and French onions to original recipes like pepperoni pizza and Oktoberfest, Starship has a soup to satisfy any taste. So when you find yourself craving a heart sandwich, stop into Starship for a meal that is out of this world! 


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Swanson's Deli | La Grange


A new addition to downtown La Grange Park, Swanson's is a charming deli offering handcrafted classic sandwiches. At Swanson's, they use only the freshest, highest quality ingredients and have mastered the art of building the perfect sandwich. The Italian Sub, one of their signature sandwiches, includes hot capicola, mortadella, and Genoa salami layered with provolone cheese, onion, lettuce, and tomato on freshly baked Italian bread. This masterful creation is finished off with a generous splash of oil and vinegar. Or try another Italian original, the Sledge Hammer. This monster of a sandwich features mounds of soppressata, hot capicola, mortadella, and salami slathered with olive tapenade and lemon aioli and topped with fried mozzarella cheese sticks. Swanson's Deli in La Grange Park is a must-visit when searching for a hearty sandwich. 


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Submarine Tender | Forest Park, IL


Forest Park’s Submarine Tender is a late-night favorite known for its generously proportioned sandwiches and crispy butter garlic fries. While their menu boasts an array of hot and cold sandwiches, people know they can always count on Submarine Tender for an incredible Italian sub.  Another crowd-pleaser is their Depth Charge. Piled high with layers of thinly sliced roast beef, turkey, ham, and cheese, then drizzled with oil and sprinkled with spices, this sandwich is a local favorite. Paired with Submarine Tenders’ famous butter garlic fries, you have the perfect late-night, or any-time, meal. This fast and casual sandwich spot is excellent for a quick meal or dinner to go. 


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Vesuvio Bakery and Deli | North Riverside


In North Riverside, Vesuvio Bakery and Deli is a destination for Italian baked goods. From cannolis to Italian cookies and bread, this family-owned and operated establishment offers a taste of Italy right in the heart of the suburbs. In addition to pastries, Vesuvio provides an array of subs and sandwiches with an Italian flair. There is eggplant parmesan, sausage in red sauce, and even a meatball sandwich, but the most popular is their Italian sub. Served on a fresh baked Italian roll, this sub features capicola, mortadella, ham, and cheese with a splash of oil and vinegar. It’s Italian perfection! Vesuvio Bakery and Deli share an authentic taste of Italy without ever leaving the neighborhood.


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Meet Us for an Italian Sub


Oak Park and the surrounding suburbs are a treasure trove of delicious dining destinations, and the Italian sub stands as a shining example of the region's fabulous food scene. Whether you're craving a classic rendition or a modern twist, these establishments offer something for every sandwich enthusiast. So why wait? Discover your new favorite Italian sub today!