If you haven't seen enough of Jeff "Sandwich King" Mauro's mug in your local condiments aisle this year, the real thing is right around the corner: Next month, the Elmwood Park native and Food Network star will open Pork & Mindy's (1623 N. Milwaukee Ave., Bucktown, 844-573-6737), a fast-casual haven for all things bunned & barbecued.
Sparked by Mauro's yen to get off the screen and back into the deli, the 40-seat Pork & Mindy's will focus on slow-smoked meats and wonky sandwich construction. "I’ve always loved sandwich shops," says Mauro, "but being on TV, you don't get that. It's time to get back to brass tracks." True to its name, Pork & Mindy's will be anchored by pig, but Mauro also plans to roast chickens and whole legs of lamb for his seven-sandwich menu. Expect to see options such as the Pig Candy BLT and Bao to the Pork (Mauro's award-winning pork bao with pickles, daikon, carrots, relish, cucumbers, jalapeños, cilantro, and Asian plum sauce).
Asked about trafficking in the carcinogen of the moment, Mauro doubles down on a tight relationship with his clean meat provider. "All of our pork and meats are humanely raised and antibiotic free," he says, adding that "in three weeks [the medical community will say] processed meats will cure cancer." Just in case, Pork & Mindy's will also offer a selection of salads, some sweets (housemade ice cream and Nutella rice pudding), and a fried-chicken and waffle sandwich.