Illinois Food Contributors

Episode Description | State Plate Seasons

Von Bergen's Country Market

Von Bergen’s Country Market  |  Mike Von Bergen

Popcorn | Website

Take a trip to Von Bergen’s Country Market, and you’ll feel right at home because this farm and market is a family affair with Mike Von Bergen at the helm. The market offers the freshest local and regional fruits and veggies with much of the produce grown right on the Von Bergen’s farm—including their popular homegrown popcorn kernels, which can be popped in oil or in an air popper with equally tasty results. This family farm is also family-friendly, hosting seasonal events, for kids and adults who want to feel like kids again.

Pop(corn) Quiz: Are the ears of corn grown for popcorn different from the corn on your dinner plate?
Answer: Yes! Corn grown for popping have smaller kernels with lower moisture than other corn. That’s what makes them “pop.”

Episode Description |Illinois| Episode Schedule

D’Amato’s Bakery  |  Rosanna & Nick D’Amato

Italian Beef Sandwich | Website

Rosanna and Nick D’Amato’s Italian bakery is truly a hidden gem. Established in 1970, the long-standing bakery is famous for its coal-burning brick oven—one of only two remaining in Chicago. Customer favorites include their savory tomato bread, Italian and French breads, focaccia, meatball and beef sandwiches, subs, panini, pizza and sesame bread sticks. This popular, traditional Italian restaurant also creates scratch-made pastries and cookies, including what one Facebook reviewer called “The best cannoli anywhere.”

Dip or Not to Dip? Two popular ways to eat the Italian Beef Sandwich are “Hot Dipped” with bread dipped in gravy before piling on the beef and giardiniera (sautéed Italian sweet green peppers).

“Sweet Dry,” beef placed between slices of plain, dry bread, topped with giardiniera.



Gulliver’s Pizza & Pub  |  Dino Karageorgis

Deep Dish Pizza | Website

Gulliver’s opened in 1965 in a relatively small 100-seat restaurant featuring the North Side’s original pan pizza. They proved so popular that over the years, they expanded that location to seat 350 pizza lovers! But that still wasn’t big enough. Today, they also serve diners at two additional locations bringing their world-famous pizza to thousands more.

The one thing that hasn’t changed over time is the winning recipe—pizzas baked in a brick oven to produce the perfect crust, using only fresh, high quality ingredients.

As we learned, the good folks of Chicago love their toppings, and Dino Karageorgis goes all out – from pepperoni to pineapple, anchovy to Alfredo sauce!

The Dish on Deep Dish: In 1943, entrepreneurs, Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo wanted to put their own spin on the traditional, thin crust pizza and took the beloved food in a completely different direction. Deep Dish Pizza, now a Chicago icon, was introduced to the public when Sewell and Riccardo opened the original Pizzeria Uno in Chicago’s Near North Side almost three-quarters of a century ago.


Kim & Carlo's Chicago Style Hot Dogs

Kim & Carlo’s Chicago Style Hot Dogs  |  Kim Basile

Hot Dog | Website

Kim Basile is from Royal Arkansas, a very small town just outside of Hot Springs. She started working in the food business at the age of 13, and continued to work in restaurants all through junior high and high school.

Kim moved to Chicago shortly after graduating from high school with the intention of studying art. Throughout college, she continued to wait tables. Eventually, she changed her major, and completed a degree in Social Work at the University of Illinois. She was a social worker for a little over a year, but continued to waitress. The food industry stuck with her and she realized the restaurant business was her true calling.

In the early nineties Kim opened her first hot dog stand and she loved it! She hasn’t looked back. She had a small walk up window on Ontario Street for several years and eventually was awarded a contract with the Chicago Park District.

Kim now has three locations in Chicago; two hot dog stands on the Museum Campus and one hot dog stand in Eckhart Park, which is located in West Town.

“I have been in the hot dog business for twenty five years, but have worked in the restaurant industry for thirty eight. I love what I do and feel very fortunate to have such great locations in the city and wonderful employees to help me. I couldn’t do any of it without my fantastic staff,” Kim says.

Kim and husband Carlo, a classical and Flamenco guitarist, have a five year old daughter, Isabella. When not serving hot dogs to hungry customers, the family loves to travel.

“We have visited over forty countries. Most recently we took our daughter to China, Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam.”

Kim plans to keep selling hot dogs for at least a few more years, but she still has her eye on that long-ago dream. “…my goal is to eventually go back to school and finally finish my art degree.”

Hot Dog Bites Back! When you bite into your Chicago-style hot dog it should have a “snap” to it, a little resistance from the casing. Use that comment around the hot dog cart, and you’ll sound like a real connoisseur


Hartigan's Ice Cream Shoppe

Hartigan’s Ice Cream Shoppe  |  Marcia Hartigan

Ice Cream Sundae | Website

Marcia (Savely) Hartigan met her future husband, Terry, when they were in their teens, while working at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store in the late 70s. By 1980, Marcia now a sophomore, the couple negotiated to buy the store with Terry managing the business rather than pursuing college. After the duo married they settled into life serving ice cream, but in 1996, they decided to go out on their own, taking down the Baskin-Robbins sign and replacing it with Hartigan’s Ice Cream Shoppe. Now the hunt was on to find the creamiest, sweetest, most delicious ice cream to serve their customers. They found it, thanks to Marcia’s girlhood memory, at a family-run dairy in Wisconsin.

In 2004, after 20 years of marriage, Terry sadly, passed away. Marcia continues the Hartigan’s tradition, running the shop with the help of a group of young, enthusiastic employees.

They offer more than 50 flavors, including soft-serve yogurt and sherbets, not to mention the delightfully decadent sundae bar with 17 tempting dishes, including Marcias Matterhorn Sundae and the Krazy Kookie Sundae!

Fun Fact: The Ice Cream Sundae got its name in Evanston, Illinois. When the town fathers deemed the selling of ice cream sodas on Sundays as sinful, they passed an ordinance prohibiting the practice. So resourceful confectioners, decided to sell the “soda” without the actual soda, resulting in a dish of ice cream topped with syrup, and to quell the objections of naming it after the Sabbath, store owners altered the spelling of “Sunday” to “Sundae.”


Kris Hartzell  |  Kris Hartzell

Ice Cream Sundae | Website

Director of Facilities, Visitor Services, and Collections, Kris manages architectural preservation, collection conservation and educational interpretation of the Evanston History Center at the Charles Gates Dawes House.

Former Vice Chair of the Evanston Preservation Commission, Kris leads regular architectural tours of Evanston, co-authored a book on local architecture and speaks to regional organizations and the public on historic architecture and Evanston history.  She believes in the power of architecture to tell the many stories of a community, and enjoys sharing those stories with a broader audience.

Kris has a Certificate in Historic Preservation from Northwestern University and a Master’s of Science in Historic Preservation from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

We All Scream for…Ice Cream! Especially in the U.S.! We have the highest per capita consumption of the sweet frozen treat in the world! That means each American eats an average of 48 pints per year.


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