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updated: 3/4/2013 10:26 AM

Chicago Johnny's Giardiniera Off To A Hot Start

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  • Chicago Johnny's Logo

    Chicago Johnny's Logo
    Chicago Johnny's logo designed and trademarked by Josh Downey

Josh Downey

While a history major college graduate was denied job after job he took matters into his own hands. While experimenting making his own giardiniera, some family got a hold of it. From the family, some friends got a hold of it. From there, it took off faster than he could handle.

Late last summer Josh Downey started to make large batches of giardiniera in his home kitchen. Downey took about 36 hours to make a 20 gallon batch of giardiniera and then turned around and sold it faster than he could handle. During Downey's 9 week stint making fresh giardiniera at home, and sometimes at his family's home near Joliet, Downey continued to sell out just over the border at the Wilmot Flea Market, at Sunnyside Little Store and Epic Deli of Johnsburg, and Joseph's Marketplace in Crystal Lake.

Downey took some time off to re-establish himself and Chicago Johnny's as a product that could be sold wholesale and in retail markets. While learning the business he also visited the SHAH center in Crystal Lake to learn the back end of business. Downey also designed labels, had nutritional testing done, found an old-fashioned hand-packed manufacturer out of Chicago, and cut through all of the red tape necessary to move forward in the giardiniera business.

Just last week Chicago Johnny's first batch was made. Since then, Downey has been filling up his car with cases of giardiniera and driving around and getting his product carried in 7 stores and 3 delis. While sampling for Darren at the The Deli Lama in Lake Villa, Darren examined the product and asked, "No olives? You gotta have olives." Darren then tried the hot giardiniera and responded, "This is (expletive) astounding!" Needless to say, The Deli Lama is now carrying Chicago Johnny's Giardiniera.

For areas in Chicagoland that are not yet serviced by Downey's Chicago Johnny's Giardiniera he is offering an online $50 per case wholesale cost with included delivery within 50 miles of zip code 60050.

For now, Downey is excited to finally have Chicago Johnny's growing quickly and building an extremely loyal fan base that has been expanded with shipments to Florida, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and even up to Canada.