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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Mix’in It Up

Friday, June 10, 2011 @ 07:06 AM

51I was having a hard time writing this post today, not because I don’t want to tell you guys about a classic snack you may have seen featured on television shows such as The Food Network’s “Unwrapped,” but this little one in my belly is going through a major growth spurt and all I can do today is think about food! I mean…I am hungry constantly today.  This wouldn’t be so awful, except talking about food just seems to make me think about it all the more. But, I will suck it up and take one for the team…I know… I have it so hard. Winking smile

Anyway, this visit is going to be short and sweet, because unlike many of the other spots we visit, Garrett’s Popcorn Shop is known for one thing….popcorn. However, this isn’t your normal corn. What they are known for is far better…and the best of all popcorn worlds.

Now I know you are probably thinking, popcorn really, what makes it that special?  Well if you are from the Chicago-land area, you have no doubt already experienced all that Garrett’s has to offer and realize the amazingness. It is sort of just one of those Chicago staples (especially around the holidays) that people LOVE. Since 1949 this company has been focusing on fresh and natural popcorn treats in only a few flavors…Plain, Buttery, CaramelCrisp (which can be blended with nuts), and CheeseCorn.  Having a limited menu allows them to really focus on what they do best and I think they do a pretty darn good job; and what they are especially known for around the windy city is their “Chicago Mix”…a mix of the CaramelCrisp and CheeseCorn, which if you have never tried it, I’m sure sounds weird, but believe me don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Garrett’s is often a holiday staple for people’s homes or even as gifts to give. It has even been on Oprah’s Favorite Things list TWICE if that is any indication. So needless to say, when people are in the city doing their holiday shopping, the lines often wrap around the corner.

Well, we happened to be in the city around that holiday time and thought we might as well grab a little bag for ourselves. You know…for the blog’s sake of course.

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Lucky for us the line wasn’t awful and we didn’t have to wait outside long (which is good cause it was REALLY cold!). I know of some people that have waited in the cold for hours. I’m telling you people go nuts for the stuff!

Well, we rather quickly got our “Mix” and I promptly enjoyed a few bites on our ride back to Indiana. And, yes…it was just as good as I always remembered it!  There is something about that sweet and salty combination that just melts my taste buds. Ummmm….SO GOOD!

SIGNATURE DISH: Popcorn is the name of this game and it is a name that Garrett’s does quite well.  The tins of flavored popcorn they dish out aren’t like the ones you can buy at Walmart at Christmas…No Sir. In Chicago, this popcorn is taken quite seriously and you are quite aware of how much pride they take in their product with every bite.

TASTE: I love this stuff and could easily devour a metric ton of the “Chicago Mix” in one sitting.  I really can’t describe how well these flavors meld together. I like it so much that I’m glad I am not around the stuff often.

AMBIANCE: Their shops are nothing to write home about. They aren’t geared for the customer to linger long, rather you are really only there to move through the line and get your items. So as far as exciting environment…I would say they are lacking.  However, that being said, you would be hard pressed to find someone walk in one of these shops and probably not buy something. Heck…the smell alone is so intoxicating that I dare you to say no to it.

PRICE: I’m sure you are thinking, “Hey…it’s only popcorn, it must be cheap.” This is where you would be wrong.  While this isn’t the most expensive thing we have ever purchased for the sake of PCC…, it also isn’t the cheapest.  Now we opted not to get a tin of it, so our order was not exorbitant. But, just to give you an idea…, their smallest 1 gallon tin ranges from $25 – $50.  Still, Garrett’s is loved around the country, and people who love it really don’t seem to care how much it costs. So from a business standpoint, I get why they charge what they do, because people will pay.  Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

SERVICE: This is another area that is hard to describe because while you aren’t really being served in a restaurant sense, you are more or less ordering you items as you move around the line.  One thing Garrett’s does really well, though, is they take your order when you are five or so back from the paying counter, so your items are ready for you by the time you get up to pay.  This really allows the whole process to move a lot quicker and we were in and out in no time.

So while you still may be thinking this whole famous popcorn thing has to be a bunch of junk, I still urge you to go in to a shop if you are ever in Chicago and try some.  I prefer it around the holidays, not sure if it is just a nostalgic thing or what, but there is something so great about that warm yummy popcorn fresh when it is freezing outside.  Either way, I think it is good stuff and I will likely always think so, which is why I am giving Garrett’s Popcorn Shops a resounding 4 ½ ‘Little Piggies.’

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2 Responses to “Mix’in It Up”

  1. I can DEFINITELY vouch for Garrett’s goodness 🙂

  2. Tammy Green says:

    Katie,

    Thanks for making Garrett Popcorn a part of your trip to Chicago! Please visit us again soon!

    -Tammy Green
    Social Media Manager
    Garrett Popcorn Shops

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