A few days after I arrived in Chicago I realised something was amiss. People seemed to be eating something from the same patterned brown paper bags. It was subtle initially; I barely noticed the first person, who was nonchalantly waiting at the bus stop, bag in hand, munching. But sure enough, the more I paid attention, the more people I would see snacking on what I could now clearly see was popcorn. I was intrigued - was this some mysterious brown paper bag-popcorn chomping cult?
A simple web search would reveal that the popcorn (and bags) originate from a place called Garrett Popcorn. I've never really given popcorn much thought before this, but for a shop to specialise solely in popcorn you'd expect it to be pretty special, and indeed it is. The history of Garrett goes back to 1949 when the first store opened in Chicago's Loop. Today Garrett has nine shops across Chicago and one in New York. I paid a visit to my closest branch just off North Michigan Avenue, and from about a block away I could start to smell the sweet, buttery smell of freshly popped popcorn wafting through the breeze. Upon arrival I was greeted by a queue that looped twice inside the shop and stretched for a good 15 yards in the tropical summer heat outside.
|Garrett's "Chicago Mix" Popcorn|
625 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611