Meet Justin Severino, Pittsburgh’s Sultan of Spiked Salami

CURE-JustinSherry-spiked saucisson, Fernet Branca–spiked salami, Cynar-spiked swordfish: with so much booze in the food, it’s hard to imagine that Cure, chef Justin Severino’s quasi-quaint charcuterie spot in Pittsburgh, started out just two years ago as a bone-dry BYOB. “We had almost no money,” Severino says of his fashionably rustic-looking restaurant’s humble roots. No, Cure’s chef-owner didn’t grow up in a barn. He merely reconstructed one inside an urban retail setting, with interior walls of reclaimed wood and meat hooks for coat hangers. “We opened minimally,” he says. Surviving for so long on food sales alone is a big source of pride for Severino: “We had a year and a half to gain success without selling liquor, and restaurants don’t typically do that that easily.” Nowadays, however, the hooch is in high supply, both at the bar and in the kitchen. And the chef himself couldn’t be happier about having a properly stocked shop from which to sip and to experiment. “I like to drink adult beverages and I tend to be a bit of a snob about what those things are,” he says. Continue reading

Hot Doug’s Mastermind Doug Sohn On The Only Sausage He Couldn’t Sell

Hot_Doug's2Doug Sohn, owner of Hot Doug’s, Chicago’s most glorified hot dog stand, has sold all sorts of sausages over the years, from the classic Windy City–style Vienna beef dog to the “Tuben,” his tubular take on a traditional Rueben sandwich. Sohn’s often obscurely titled franks (“The Shirley Hardman,” anyone?) span virtually every type of meat in your butcher’s repertoire and probably beyond, including an ever-revolving “Game of the Week” special, which spotlights a different wild animal: alligator, crawfish, pheasant, snake — you name it, he’s probably stuck it in a bun, added some unusual toppings for good measure and sold it. Only one weird wiener has ever turned out to be a total dud, according to Sohn: the andouillette, which he explains is the French word for, basically, “intestines stuffed with more intestines.” Continue reading