Johnny Brown Bag | Andersonville | Italian, Pizza | Restaurant
Quick-service small plates, pasta, pizza, and panini from the owners of Via Carducci.

Our Review

The opening of Johnny Brown Bag at the site that once held the haute bakeshop Pasticceria Natalina ensures a continuity in Italianness at 5406 N. Clark, but the similarities end there. This new space tends toward the savory, for one thing; for another, you can get a sandwich and fries (or coleslaw) here for what was probably the price of a ladyfinger at the old tenants'. Your sandwich might even be quite decent, made with classic fillings like Italian beef or sausage, steak Milanese, and eggplant Parm or with interlopers like bratwurst and a turkey BLT. There's also meatball—and it's a bit bland, though the slaw that accompanied it was refreshing. Better was the Milano pizza, a nice prosciutto-and-arugula-topped thin-crust from a menu of pies including a margherita, a Roma (sausage, mushrooms, onion, mozzarella), and a Rustica (figs, caramelized onions, Gorgonzola). Better still were a couple of excellent small plates: borlotti beans and rapini—oily, salty, garlicky, and just perfect for a cold night and a couple of delicate little potato and whitefish croquettes whose only flaw was their dressing, unhappily redolent of honey mustard. Those last two were $5 and $7, respectively; this is a menu that's priced right. Service is fast and casual, and the space is narrow and cute—it's BYO, and I suggest you do.

Sam Worley

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Price: $$
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa, Discover



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