4 Chicago Chefs on Their Favorite Local Sandwiches
Sandwiches reign supreme in Chicago, and for every trusted classic there's a trendy modern take worth trying at least once. But how do you decide which ones to eat in this history-steeped foodie city? We asked four Chicago chefs for their recommendations (and why they love sandwiches so much), so the next time you're visiting the Windy City and ready to take the plunge into its deliciously varied sandwich scene, you'll have a list of stand-out choices at your fingertips.
Chef at: Frontier
Favorite Frontier sandwich: "The Antelope Cheesesteak. At Frontier we use proteins that are different from most restaurants. We love our game meats and serve sandwiches like water buffalo burgers. I'm a big fan of the original Philly cheesesteak, and substituting game for beef adds a twist that Midwesterners appreciate."
Favorite Chicago sandwich: "The B. Franklin from Tempesta Market. Tempesta produces all the meats for their sandwiches in-house, and you can really tell the difference. I'm not a fan of cold sandwiches, but the B. Franklin is special. The turkey is brined and smoked to perfection, and the way the flavors mesh shows that the perfect bite can exist in the simplest preparation methods."
Chef at: Big Kids
Why sandwiches? "At Big Kids, all of us come from fine dining backgrounds, and we all left fine dining for the same reason: to be happy. Here we are able to be ourselves, and I think that really comes through in the food."
Favorite Chicago sandwich: "The West Sider from Humboldt Haus (made with turkey, pastrami, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, Swiss cheese, garlic mayo, vinegar, and oil). It is a pretty basic cold cut, but it hits really hard for me. I live walking distance from the shop, and even though I have moved twice, I always make sure that the new location is also within walking distance. It's important."
Mary Nguyen Aregoni
Chef at: Saigon Sisters
Favorite Saigon Sisters sandwich: "My favorite banh mi at Saigon Sisters is the classic, because it looks like a familiar deli sandwich but it's more elevated. There's chicken pate, housemade pork roll, American ham, mayo and all of the garnishes. When you eat it, you know that it's not a typical ham sandwich."
Favorite Chicago sandwich: "The Cuban sandwich from Cubano Bros. has cheese, great ham, pickles, and their light and crusty housemade bread that's pressed flat like a panini. Similar to a banh mi, it's light, crunchy on the outside and has great flavors."
Chef at: All Together Now
Why sandwiches? "Our sandwich menu caters to our neighbors. We love our local producers and the great ingredients you can find right here in Chicago. We work with Aya Pastry for a lot of our bread; they are another women-owned small business. We source our salamis from our friends in Wisconsin, Underground Food Collective. We also love our nearby farmers Slagel Family Farm, Nichols Farm and Mick Klug–you can find their amazing products throughout our menus."
Favorite All Together Now sandwich: "My cravings usually change with the seasons and that's why I always love our seasonal cheese sandwiches. We pick a really cool cheese that you don't typically find on a sandwich and pair it with seasonal toppings. Right now we have a Sunny Ridge goat cheese with red pepper and almond romesco and carrot and cilantro slaw on a baguette."