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Garrett's Popcorn Shop

625 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL - (888) 476-7267
Posted By Michael Stern on 4/29/2012 4:09:00 AM
The management of Garrett Popcorn Shop insists that the product it makes is NOT caramel corn. It is CaramelCrisp, a trademarked name for a foodstuff that, to us, looks a lot like caramel corn. Whatever. We have no desire to argue with the place that makes our all-time favorite caramel-coated, popcorn-based snack. CaramelCrisp is simply sensational.

Generally speaking, candy-coated popcorn is a trivial junk food. CaramelCrisp is serious and soulful, its taste and texture dramatically more important than any other kind of candied corn. In fact, it scarcely tastes candied. The popcorn itself is a tender, earthy note within its caramel sheath, which is deeply buttery and has a dark flavor that teeters at the edge of tasting burnt. Like the singed crust atop a well-made crème brulee, the corn’s coat smacks of fire more than sugar.

Also on the menu in this little Michigan Avenue Snack Shop (one of several Garrett's about town) is rich cheese corn and unbelievably, extremely buttered corn. Some connoisseurs call for “a mix,” which is equal halves of cheese corn and CaramelCrisp, making for a sweet/savory one-two punch. Even a small bag is tremendously rich and filling, but we find it impossible to stop eating, even when hunger becomes only a distant memory. With this foodstuff, a sated appetite’s cease-and-desist message has no effect on tastebuds, which crave more, more, and more of this amazing stuff until the world’s supply is gone.

Garrett mail-orders all its products (call 888-4-POPCORN), but it’s special fun to stop in the store, where as you wait in line to place your order, you watch the corn being popped, the butter being poured, and the CaramelCrisp stirred so it sticks together just a little bit but does not clump.

In addition to the Chicago Garrett's, there now are outlets in New York and the Far East.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
CaramelCrisp
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Mix, also known as a Chicago Mix, means a shook-up combination of caramel corn and cheese corn. The sweetness of the caramel corn and the savory luxury of the cheese corn are a devastating combination. No snack we know is more impossible to stop eating.
"Mix, also known as a Chicago Mix, means a shook-up combination of caramel corn and cheese corn. The sweetness of the caramel corn and the savory luxury of the cheese corn are a devastating combination. No snack we know is more impossible to stop eating."
Michael Stern





Garrett's CaramelCrisp is one of America's great snack foods.
"Garrett's CaramelCrisp is one of America's great snack foods."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


This is VERY cheesy corn.  Many people get this mixed with CaramelCrisp.  Hard for us to imagine that combination works, but people seem to love it.
"This is VERY cheesy corn. Many people get this mixed with CaramelCrisp. Hard for us to imagine that combination works, but people seem to love it."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


A view of a Garrett's corn popper.
"A view of a Garrett's corn popper."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Note the bin of freshly-made caramel corn in the window of the Michigan Avenue store. It is scooped into bags still hot. This is one of Chicago's -- and America's -- great snack foods. A recent remodeling has helped keep the usually long lines inside the shop, rather than snaking way out onto Michigan Avenue.
"Note the bin of freshly-made caramel corn in the window of the Michigan Avenue store. It is scooped into bags still hot. This is one of Chicago's -- and America's -- great snack foods. A recent remodeling has helped keep the usually long lines inside the shop, rather than snaking way out onto Michigan Avenue."
Michael Stern


This is the Garrett's at 4 East Madison Street in Chicago.
"This is the Garrett's at 4 East Madison Street in Chicago."
Michael Stern



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