If you spend even a few minutes walking through one of Chicago’s many street fairs this summer, you’ll undoubtedly see the Cevap guys. Grilling their beloved cevapcici (a skinless sausage consisting of 50% beef, 25% lamb and 25% pork). I’ve been bumping into them more frequently as of late, now that the summer fair season is here. Since they don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, the fairs are the only place to try them.
I’ve always thought that the key to these sandwiches is more about the topping, rather than the cevap. A typical sandwich ($7 at Do Division yesterday) consists of two plump cevap on a lightly grilled pita, topped with a few chopped white onions. But then you have the option of squirting on your own ajvar (pronounced EYE-vahr), a zesty, zippy sauce of red peppers and eggplant, that’s dispensed from the standard ballpark mustard pump. I pumped the dispenser at least three times, coating the sausages with the vibrant, candy red, chunky sauce.
Not one to leave a hidden gem undisturbed, I noticed dozens of bottles of ajvar stacked on cardboard behind their counter. I may not be able to make my own cevapcici at home, but I sure as hell can go to Jewel and buy a few jars for my summer grilling needs, and perhaps save the $7.
Incidentally, if you wanted to try another version of cevapcici at an actual restaurant, I love the version at Etno Village Grill in Lincoln Park, primarily because of the extensive condiment bar you can dress them up with.