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Country Market Pork Store & More

March 14, 2023

  • 228 E. Michigan Avenue
  • Paw Paw, MI 49079
  • (269) 251-2639
  • Website
  • Menu

I never pass up a place claiming to do “Chicago-Style” food.  I’m usually disappointed but it’s something I’m always going to try.  

I had been seeing Facebook posts from a place in downtown Paw Paw doing Italian beefs and Chicago pizza.  I was confused because it looked like the place was a butcher shop but the lure of an Italian beef was too much.  

I was in Paw Paw last week for work and had a little bit of time.  I had forgotten about this shop I wanted to check out until I drove by.  The pig on the side of the building and the neon Vienna Beef sign in the window reminded me I needed to get lunch.  

Country Market Pork Store & More is on Michigan Avenue in downtown Paw Paw near Niles Street.  The small, one story yellow storefront is part of a larger wooden building that looks out of place amongst the century old brick buildings surrounding it.  This space was last used by Captured Memories, a photography services store that closed a couple of years ago.  

The name implies the shop is a butcher shop, and it is. There is a case of fresh pork right as you walk in the door.

But the place is really set up more like a counter service restaurant. There’s a large wrap around counter that has both the meat counter and an order area that encloses the small kitchen.

The menu at Country Market Pork Store & More isn’t very big. It’s pizza and a couple sandwiches. You can order a whole pizza but they also do pizza-by-the-slice which is on display in a warming tower on the counter.

My plan was to try the Italian beef sandwich and a slice of the deep dish pizza. Unfortunately, the deep dish pizza was a spinach ricotta pizza which really isn’t something I like. I ordered a slice of the thin crust pizza instead. The bill for lunch was right around $14.

There is a little seating area in the restaurant and even that has Chicago vibes. There are a couple of tables but there is also bar seating area facing the windows. This is a super common set up in Chicago sandwich shops. You can choose to use the metal bar stools

It took just a few minutes for the sandwich to be put together. I was handed a paper bag with the beef and told to grab a can of pop out of the cooler behind me. I also had a foil wrapped paper plate with a slice of pizza.

I ate the pizza first because I could do that quickly and easily before heading back to Kalamazoo. I love Chicago thin crust pizza. Most Chicagoans will tell you what the world sees as “Chicago Deep Dish” is a sometimes food, not something every Chicago loves. Chicagoans do love their tavern cracker thin crust pizzas. These pizzas are usually cut in to squares but that wouldn’t work well for a slice place. The thin, crispy crusted pizza is cut into a large triangle. It has a deep golden brown crust on the cheese and some super crispy pepperonis on top. This slice was really good but I bet it would be even better fresh out of the oven.

As snobby as I am about Chicago pizza, I kick that snobbiness up a notch for Italian beef. I hate it when places claim to have “Italian beef” then serve it on a hot dog bun with shredded chuck roast. The Chicago Italian beef is a work of art and there have to be certain elements to make it a true Chicago beef sandwich.

This sandwich from Country Market Pork Store & More hits a lot of those elements. The bun is a nice crusty French roll that soaks up the gravy from the thinly sliced beef. My guess here is that this is a kit from Vienna Beef since they’re also selling the hot dogs but in some ways, that’s a good thing. You know you’re getting an actual beef and not some knock off. I asked for hot peppers on my sandwich and was a little surprised to see the sport peppers you usually see on a Chicago dog and not the typical giardiniera. It was still tasty, just not what I’m used to.

I enjoyed my lunch more than I was expecting to. I’m always super hesitant when places outside of Chicago claim to do Chicago food. It’s like buying a Detroit Coney in Nebraska…it’s close enough but it’s really not the same. Country Market Pork Store & More does a really good job of nailing the Chicagoness. I really wish they would have had a deep dish slice that was a little more traditional, but I was happy with what I got and I’ll have to go back and order a deep dish pizza sometime in the near future.

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