Spanish grocery store around Chicago?
Hi. Does anyone know of a good grocery store in the Chicago area that sells imported Spanish food items? Not Mexican, Spanish! Thanks for your suggestions.
Iberico DOES sell Spanish items, but getting help in there is like pulling teeth. I wanted to buy some chorizo for a party. The hostess told me that she would send somebody right away (there were hardly any customers eating when I went in. The restaurant wasn't busy). SO, I waited. and waited. Asked what the hold up was. And waited. THEN I engaged the man behind the counter. He had NO IDEA what the difference was between any of the chorizos they carried. THEN the help arrived as promised. THEN a host came back to help. Then another employee. None of them knew their product either. Unbelievable. I just picked one and left.
I've had huge problems with the service at Iberico for dinner as well. I don't get it.
I've never had problems at Iberico, whether I'm eating in the restaurant or getting stuff from the deli. It's generally easiest to get service in the bar area, and every time we go in, we usually end up getting a pound of jamon and a pound of croquetas to go from the deli.
The one thing that may be tricky at the deli is that it's easiest if you speak Spanish. I would say that about 90% of the waitstaff speaks Spanish in addition to English, while 95% of the cooks don't speak English that well at all. Every time I've asked about the various products (in Spanish, granted), I've always gotten knowledgeable, in-depth responses and offers to try the various jamones before making a purchase. It sounds like there could be a very definite language barrier if you don't speak Spanish, but I've always found the staff to be very courteous, helpful and fairly speedy.
It's also important to remember, Iberico is run by a Spaniard; the chef is from Madrid. They don't run on a hurry-hurry schedule that we do in the Northern States, especially during slower hours (non-lunch, dinner or weekend evenings). Also, Iberico has that relaxed vibe that those who have studied/lived/vacationed in Spain enjoy. This is not a place to go to if you're in a hurry, whether it is to prep for a party or trying to squeeze in a 30 minute lunch.
Iberico Cafe & Bar
737 N La Salle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654
N Lasalle St Chicago IL, N Lasalle St Chicago, IL
Yeah, I've studied/lived/vacationed in Spain, too. I never had a similar issue in Spain.It doesn't explain why the hostess said she would send someone to help and simply forgot about me. It also doesn't explain the fact that nobody in the entire restaurant could explain the product they were selling. It was like a comedy routine. I asked in English and Spanish the differences between two of their products and all I got were blank stares and "I don't know"s.
BTW: my problem with the dinner service was connected to a large party that my mother threw for me. They simply weren't prepared for it, though they claimed they could accommodate the party. The night ended with the hostess literally screaming at my mother who, at the time, was barely able to speak herself because of a throat problem. Unbelievable. One of the worst experiences at a restaurant I've ever had.
The food is pretty standard, too. Maybe they've changed it since I was there (about 10 years ago now).