Is a hot dog a sandwich? The topic has been much debated by eaters of Chicago’s best sandwich-catering spots. In fact, the debate was born when someone first shoved a frank into a sliced roll. And passionate points have been made by both sides. The folks at Food & Wine say yes. The opposing camp, no. While both parties are armed with facts of history, who’s to say who’s right?
The best sandwich in Chicago may just be a steamed frank resting on a fluffy poppy-seed bun, blanketed by Chicago-style toppings. But when there are sandwiches galore to be had, do you really care who wins the debate? Check out some of the best restaurants that are catering the sandwiches that Chicago eaters just can’t get enough of (this includes and goes beyond the hot-dog sandwich).
Let’s talk breakfast. At Lakeview Rewired Cafe, the locally made kombucha and hot box of coffee pair excellently with a breakfast sandwich. Try the sandwich sweet or savory. If you’re feeling nostalgic, try the flaky peanut-butter-and-jelly croissant. Or, if you want sophisticated flavors, the croissant layered with Swiss cheese and lightly aged prosciutto starts the morning off right. It’s the best sandwich in Chicago, the one that provides the ooh-la-la.
Pick a sandwich, any sandwich. Do you want meatballs or hefty layers of Italian meats on your grinder? Al’s Italian Beef’s got it. Make sure your sandwich buffet is accompanied by sides like baked penne marinara, Chicago chopped salad with bacon and Gorgonzola, or garlic and Parmesan potatoes. Trays of Vienna hot dogs, or Polish or Italian sausages, make the best sandwich spreads in Chicago, especially when the fixings are included.
For twenty years, Pizza Capri has put nothing but fresh ingredients on the menu. If you’re eating light, vegetarian hummus or an eggplant sandwich, fragrant with basil, hits the spot. For a heartier meal, there’s pastrami, meatballs, barbecue chicken, and smoked turkey to stuff between bread. Pizza Capri serves up the best sandwich in Chicago when it comes to lunch spreads fueling eaters with energy.
For sandwiches with Chicago’s best-of-breakfast love, head straight to Caffè Baci for English muffins topped with egg and cheese. To kick up the morning sunshine, add some sautéed vegetables, bacon, or sausage to the English-muffin classic. When you’re ready for lunch, the build-your-own-sandwich bar goes beyond your dreams—the sandwich bar includes just about everything that Chicago’s catering chefs would want to pack in a spread. When building a sandwich, start with mains like imported prosciutto, roasted beef and smoked ham (done in-house), and grilled juicy portobello mushrooms. Add a kiss of brie, swiss, cheddar, or pepper-jack cheese. This is Chicago. You get what you want.
When you want a sandwich that satisfies with juicy meat and delicious toppings on sesame-seed bread, you want a torta from Chicago’s sandwich-catering great, Restaurante El Mogote. The torta is filled with creamy avocado, seasoned steak, super-juicy chicken, or spit-roasted al pastor pork. Around noon you could hear the jibarito sandwich calling your name. It’s made with sautéed beef and onions, creamy tartar sauce, and crunchy veggies. All this is wrapped in fried plantains.
Jet’s Pizza delivers the best sandwich in Chicago with the soul of a classic Chicago pie. Here, deep-dish pizza dough gets slathered in butter and Romano cheese and is baked as a deep-dish sandwich. The Jetzee sandwiches can be filled with steak, ham and cheese, meatballs, or chicken parm. Or, go for the pizza sandwich, topped with sauce, mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni, ham, and mushrooms.
The Bourgeois Pig Cafe has crafted a menu for a bookish crowd. If the best sandwich in Chicago came in the form of a book, that’s what you’d get. Sandwiches are named after the classics: “Great Gatsby,” “Catcher in the Rye,” and “Ham I Am.” More than products of wit, these sandwiches come topped with serious ingredients, too. A sandwich called the “Sun Also Rises” comes with roasted turkey and creamy hummus on a bed of sprouts and red onions, layered between sun-dried-tomato bread. Lunch comes with a creative twist at The Bourgeois Pig Cafe. This sandwich-catering Chicago cafe is fit for all crowds.
With All About You Catering, the best sandwich in Chicago is whatever you want it to be. Classic breakfast combos of egg, cheese, and meat come griddled on sweet french toast or a croissant. For lunch, if you want to wrap it up in a bundle, go for the creamy tuna or chicken-salad wraps.
At Square Roots Kitchen, flavorful wraps are stuffed with organic and locally sourced ingredients. Seasoned chicken is the star of a Southwestern wrap filled with crunchy corn, avocado, and pepper-jack cheese. Slices of fire-grilled steak land on a Cobb salad at Square Roots Kitchen. The Mediterranean tofu wrap, a must-order, features grilled tofu with hummus, carrots, onions, and crunchy mixed greens and asparagus. Square Roots Kitchen offers the kind of sandwich catering that Chicago’s health nuts can’t start talking about—because their mouths are full.
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