Under normal circumstances I would not dream of including a review of somewhere that sells Popcorn in the El Stop Food Hunt Project, but somehow I find that I can easily justify talking of my experiences with Garrett’s Popcorn. It has been as much a part of my food encounters in Chicago as my flirtations with Italian Beef and Chicago Style Hot Dogs.
The first encounter was during an Open Top Bus Trip around the city, I believe that this is almost always the best way to learn about a new place and get orientated with it;s major sites and locations. On the trip I went on there was a voucher for a free sample sized bag at Garrett’s, and the rest has been history.
On that occasion the sample was of a mix of caramel crisp and the cheese flavoured popcorn. The caramel crisp was a winner, I did not like and still do not like the cheese flavoured one, it is right up there with those damn pickles as something I actively will avoid.
Since then the sampling of Garrett’s Popcorn has coincided with visits from my Mother to the city, so about 3 bags a year. But today I actually went in and bought my first bag with my own money. It was a small bag of the Cashew Caramel Crisp. I like this one the most, sweet, crispy, crunchy, nutty, sticks in your teeth and makes you fat. Excellent!
I love the generous sized bag sizes in the place. In my mind the small bag is actually equivalent to a Jumbo bag. I could never even contemplate getting a bag bigger, except for on that brief moment when the last piece of popcorn has been consumed and all the Garrett shops are shut.
There are quite a few Garrett popcorn chops in Chicago and over the last few years I have frequented all of them, albeit only on those rare occasions that I mentioned before. I was slightly perturbed though on a recent visit to New York city to find a branch close to Madison Square Gardens. Some things should not be allowed to travel out of state. My fave stores to take visitors from out of town to are the one at Navy Pier, just because I love an excuse to go down to the pier, and the ones in the Loop as they are easy to get to from any of the lines.
For Navy Pier 600 East Grand Avenue, get off at either the Chicago Red or Chicago Brown line stops and catch a bus over to Navy Pier. For the shop at 26 West Randolph Street get off at the Lake Stop, For the shop at 27 West Jackson Boulevard go to the Jackson-Blue, or the Jackson Red stop. On Michigan Avenue just get off at Grand or Chicago and look for a long line.