Chow, Baby is a sucker for a silly joke, but until now it never got the name of Slavko Gromovic’s last Chicago-style restaurant, Wieners Take All. It helps to know that in Chicago patois, “wieners” and “winners” are pronounced sorta alike.

Anymore, Chow, Baby doesn’t really care – the important thing is that Gromo’s new place, Sweet Home Chicago, is the city-wide wiener when it comes to the Italian beef sandwich ($5.29). Finally, Chow, Baby gets the appeal of this sandwich; the key factor is the salty, garlicky jus into which the hoagie is dipped (even double-dipped, if requested with a smile) until it’s so soggy the bottom melts away.

To facilitate this messy deconstruction, on one visit Chow, Baby chose the Italian Combo ($6.29), which is Italian beef plus a link of Italian sausage at the base, the better to poke through the bread with. This sausage is a fennel-y marvel: fresh-tasting and juicy, with a wonderful licorice aftertaste. Chow, Baby’s other top pick from the “Chicago-Style Sandwiches” section of the menu is the Polish sausage ($3.99) “Maxwell Street Style,” which means heaped with thick onion slices grilled to the intersection of caramelized, al dente, and sweet. Of course the Chicago-style dog (jumbo $2.99) is a wiener winner, with what Chow, Baby has learned to recognize as the de rigueur elements of a Vienna Beef dog on a soft poppy-seed bun, with many flamboyantly colored toppings.

And then there’s the pizza. Since Sweet Home Chicago makes a point of cooking everything to order, its 14″ very-deep-dish combo pizza ($20) takes an hour to prepare, as warned on the menu. But lugging this monster home was worth the back strain. Zesty pepperoni, more of that fresh-tasting sausage, chewy crust, thick sauce, lotsa mozzarella – bet on it, Chow, Baby’s next research trip is going to be to Chicago. Grudge over.

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Cuba Goodies, Junior

The small, lunch-only Cuco’s Sandwich Shop (6650 Glenview Dr, North Richland Hills) was out of flan the day Chow, Baby visited, but otherwise wonderful. Julio Neira and family opened Cuco’s nearly 15 years ago, and Chow, Baby doesn’t know what took it so long to spot the place – the building is blindingly fuchsia. No dainty little teashop, here, though; the workmen’s vans parked outside – mechanics and plumbers and electricians and the like – suggest that lunch will be a manly affair.

And so it is. The daily specials are hearty: One day it might be chicken sautéed with bell peppers, tomato and onion; another day roast pork over rice; another day a classic Cuban beef stew. Chow, Baby went traditional with a Cuban pressed sandwich (12″ $5.49; the 9″ would have been plenty), a baguette stuffed with roast pork, sliced ham, and Swiss cheese; topped with pickles and yellow mustard, then smushed flat on a hot griddle. A side of lightly fried plantains ($1.89) was sweet enough to be dessert, but Chow, Baby also forced in creamy, firm bread pudding ($1.09). This job may not be as hard as plumbing, but Chow, Baby still needs its sustenance.

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