Address: 2 West Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Illinois 60604. 888.476.7267.
Review: Here's the scene: I'm sitting at a table with nine people I don't know. (It's my friends wedding in Chicago, so I know all of three people in the entire state.) And how do you break the ice with a bunch of people you don't know? Well, you talk food, of course. Specifically, you ask a bunch of Chicagoans where to eat before you leave the next day. I received more than a fair share of suggestions, but one intrigued me more than the rest: Garret's Chicago popcorn mix. The Chicago mix is an amalgam of cheddar cheese and caramel popcorn. I've never heard of a more ridiculous combination, so I had to see if it was any good.
When I happened upon Garrett's the next day, I was surprised to find a line out the door.
After entering, I figured this place had to be good, judging from nothing more than the popcorn furnace.
After the popcorn exits that infernally hot furnace, it's placed in a tumbler with a cheddar-butter sauce that looks as heart stopping as it actually is. Eventually, I got me some Chicago mix. It looked a little something like this:
(Sorry, I took these pictures in a dark parking lot in my rental car.) First thing I noticed about the popcorn was how it kept its fluffy and crunchy structure, even after being doused in butter, cheese, and caramel. Next thing I noticed was how good the cheddar popcorn was. It was messy, buttery, and very cheesy. My fingers were yellow within ten seconds, and I liked it that way. Best cheese popcorn I've ever eaten, hands down. The caramel was good as well, but nothing special. And then there was the combination. Magic. Honestly, the combination makes no sense in my mind, but on my tongue it made perfect sense. Great combination of buttery sweet and buttery, salty, tangy cheese. It was completely addictive, although it was so heavy I couldn't eat that much at one time. Of course, that just meant it lasted longer, which was a good thing.
Rating: 7.5/10 (5/10 is average).