Perhaps Oprah says it best, as she shills endlessly for Weight Watchers: “I. Love. Bread.” Oprah, truer words were never spoken. We hear you. We are with you. Carb watchers be damned, because bread is where it’s at. Especially when two thick, crusty slices of it surround gooey cheese, braised meats, crispy bacon and aioli redolent with roasted garlic. I mean, come on. Who doesn’t love a sandwich? Here are some of our current favorites around Chicago.
Sandwiches With Wings
1931 W. North Ave., Chicago, 773-276-2243
Owner and Head Bro Billy Jacobs (owner of Piece Pizzeria next door) has brought back the beloved Jacobs Bros. Bagels to Chicago.
Star Sandwich: The BroBagel Club ($7.99)
Turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, mixed greens and garlic confit cream cheese spread on an everything bagel. Note to self: pick up a container of Sriracha cream cheese while you’re there…
3361 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, 773-478-4000
Chef partners Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp continue to kill it with fried poultry.
Star Sandwich: The Honey Buffalo ($10)
Fried chicken strips, blue cheese, honey-buffalo sauce, carrot and celery giardiniera. On the side: Creamed Corn with Thai Green Curry.
820 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 312-888-3455
One of those places where literally everything on the menu reads like food porn.
Star Sandwich: Chinese Chicken Sandwich ($13)
Braised chicken, veggies, sesame vinaigrette, hoisin mayo, griddled bun. On the side: Smoked Fries.
825 W. Fulton St., Chicago, 312-445-8977
Chef Paul Kahan and his team are making their own bread, curing and smoking meats in house, and drawing huge crowds.
Star Sandwich: Piri-Piri Pavo ($12)
Smoked turkey, piri-piri, avocado, sunflower seed aillade and sprouts on sesame semolina bread. On the side: Marinated Kale.
Moo And Oink Sandwiches
5757 N. Broadway, Chicago, 773-769-2900
So much more than cookies — or carnitas, for that matter. Killer sandwiches of all types.
Star Sandwich: The Beefy Cheezy ($12)
Braised beef brisket, onion jam, Merkts cheddar spread on a ciabatta roll. On the side: House-Pickled Escabeche.
112 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago, 312-212-1112
People who think Chicago doesn’t do good deli need to come here (I prefer this South Loop location to the Lincoln Park store).
Star Sandwich: The #43 ($14.99)
Talk about having your cake and eating it, too … corned beef piled high on an old-school latke with a smear of sour cream, fried onion strings … on a twisted challah role. Try to fit that in your face. On the side: You need more?!?
Lincolnwood Mall, 3333 W. Touhy, Lincolnwood, 847-679-2822
Far less than 90 miles separates you from this awesome sandwich, the Cuban classic.
Star Sandwich: Cubano ($11)
Ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickle, and yellow mustard, as the good Lord intended, pressed between two slices of bread. On the side: Consume with mass quantities of plantain chips.
567 W. Lake St., Chicago, 312-496-0090
At lunch, the Bánh Mì (classic Vietnamese sandwiches) are a must.
Star Sandwich: The Porky ($8.50)
Braised pork belly, pho flavors, hoisin glaze, mayo, jalapeño, cucumber, pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro on an impeccable baguette. On the side: Teriyaki Tofu Bánh Bao.
1220 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, 773-883-1313
Chef Sandra Holl makes creative use of the best organic and local ingredients while baking up some of the most delectable breads and pastries in Chicago.
Star Sandwich: The BAD ($12)
Bacon, arugula, date-almond spread and goat cheese on yeasted corn bread. On the side: a deeply fudgy Chocolate Walnut Cookie.
914 Noyes St., Evanston, 847-475-9400
Two brothers, who love everything French, have been making astounding sandwiches here for decades. They bring in bread from Chicago’s famed Red Hen Bread.
Star Sandwich: Meat Loaf with Aioli ($8.60)
Moist meat loaf on seven grain bread with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion. On the side: Thursday’s French Green Lentil Soup (or any soup here, really … all delicious).
461 Waukegan Road, Northbrook, 847-272-9490
Thirty years of deli history are on display at this Northbrook stalwart, where namesake Ben Schlan takes over the reins of the family business from patriarch Lester Schlan this year.
Star Sandwich: Max & Benny’s Reuben ($12.99)
Corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing, grilled on marble rye. Available in pastrami and turkey versions too.
Sandwiches That Swim
4610 N. Western Ave., Chicago, 773-654-3610
Husband and wife team Dave and Megan Miller are milling their own grains into flour, which is then baked into scrumptious pastries and sturdy whole-grain breads.
Star Sandwich: Lox ($9.75)
Smoked salmon, capers, shallots, dill, cucumber and cream cheese on an everything bialy. On the side: Carrot Cake Muffin. Vegetables are present!
4609 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, 773-961-8196
Chef Darnell Reed gets back to his Southern roots in Lincoln Square with his takes on iconic dishes like po’ boys, shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles and more.
Star Sandwich: Shrimp Po’ Boy ($14)
Crispy and plump fried shrimp piled on French bread with shredded lettuce and cayenne remoulade. If the Soft shell Crab po’ boy is in season, grab it! On the side: seasoned fries.
Peninsula Hotel, 108 E. Superior St., Chicago, 312-573-6749
As you would expect from the Peninsula, both the food and service are top-notch at this corner café.
Star Sandwich: Tuna Melt ($15)
This tuna melt takes a spin around the Mediterranean with the addition of French beans and olives. Sliced tomato and melted Gruyere cheese complete the picture; served on sourdough bread. On the side: Fruit Salad with lavender honey and Meyer lemon.
449 N. Clark St., Chicago, 312-661-1434
Chef Rick Bayless and his team are churning out perfect Mexican tortas to a spellbound crowd in River North.
Star Sandwich: Woodland Mushroom Torta ($9.50)
Wood-roasted River Valley Ranch mushrooms, chipotle-garlic mojo, Prairie Fruits Farm goat cheese, black beans, wild arugula, three-chile salsa on a fresh bolillo roll. On the side: Bacon Caramel Corn.
601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, 847-205-4433
The farmer’s market sensibility that infuses the cooking of Chefs George Bumbaris and Sarah Stegner makes even old classics come to life.
Star Sandwich: Farmer’s Egg Salad Sandwich ($10)
With herbed cream cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers on honey-wheat bread, served with mixed green salad. On the side: Greek Fries.
5148 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-334-9851
Sure, the Mussels & Frites are a showstopper at this Andersonville favorite, and the craft beers are ever-flowing. But this sandwich. Wow. The ultimate grilled cheese.
Star Sandwich: CB&J ($11)
House-made cashew butter, fig jam and raclette cheese, pan-fried on sourdough. On the side: comes with Stilton mac and cheese and house-made potato chips.
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