Food & Drink

13 classic Chicago sandwiches from classic Chicago joints

Published On 08/08/2014 Published On 08/08/2014
Mike Gebert
Mike Gebert
Mike Gebert
Mike Gebert
Gene and Jude's
Mike Gebert
Mike Gebert
Mike Gebert
Mike Gebert
Mike Gebert
Mike Gebert
Mike Gebert
Mike Gebert
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1. J. P. Graziano Grocery Co. 901 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

An old-school Italian grocery and importer, distributing all over the city since 1937, made the evolution to sandwich shop and gave the fourth-generation store a new life. People line up outside the door for a bite. It’s a busy scene among shelves of canned and pickled provisions: a meat slicer on overdrive, plastic-gloved counter workers slopping macaroni salad into little plastic cups, stuffed hoagies (made from D’Amato bread) being rolled to-go in paper. The classic Italian is a mainstay, but go for the Mr. G: hot sorpresata, prosciutto, genoa salami, sharp provolone, fresh basil, grilled and marinated artichokes, vinegar-oregano tossed lettuce and (here it comes) truffle-mustard-balsamic vinaigrette.

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2. Cemitas Puebla 3619 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Humboldt Park)

Cemitas Puebla is known for those eponymous sandwiches, and other traditional Mexican dishes and pastries round out the menu.

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3. Nicky's Hot Dogs 3140 W 47th St, Chicago, IL 60632

This Garfield Ridge spot obviously doles out some serious dogs, but they also offer a host of other quality 'wiches, including their double-decker burger called the Big Baby, which features a pair of patties and grilled onions.

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4. Johnny O's 3465 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60608 (Bridgeport Sox)

Johnny O's is beloved by locals for its cheap and hearty burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches, particularly the breaded chicken sandwich, a flat chicken filet deep-fried and covered in cheese, peppers, and tomato sauce. Either step up to the takeout window or nab one of the tables with red and white checkered tablecloths inside the shabby space. The friendly owner is a lifelong Sou'Sider himself and gives this tiny sandwich shack a family feel.

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5. Gene & Jude's 2720 River Rd, River Grove, IL 60171

Gene & Jude's is the most iconic hot dog stand in Chicago. From its founding in 1946, it's enforced four simple rules that most other stands have since tried to adopt: no seats, no ketchup, no pretense, no nonsense. That's right: not a drop of ketchup can be found here. On top of your Vienna Beef dog you'll find relish, onions, hot peppers, and mustard, plus a pile of fresh-cut French Fries. It's a tried-and-true formula that's brought this classic family-owned spot success for decades.

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6. Morrie O'Malley's Hot Dogs 3501 S Union Ave, Chicago, IL 60609

Another cash only joint, Morrie makes some killer Chicago-style hot dogs, as well as sandwiches and burgers. Oh, and there's an entire menu just for ice cream. Score!

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7. Southtown Subs 240 E 35th St, Chicago, IL (Bronzeville Douglas)

This sub shop’s on the South Side has one of the most underrated signature Chicago sandwiches: you must try the Gym Shoe Sandwich, packed with a beautiful combo of meats -- roast beef, corned beef, and gyro meat -- plus lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayo, cheese, and tzatziki sauce served in a Philly cheese steak-style bun. Plan on taking your meals to go from the walk-up counter space.

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8. Bombacigno's J & C Restaurant 558 W Van Buren St, Chicago, IL 60607

Bombacigno’s J & C Inn, which is a lunch-only joint, makes a mean meatball subs. They makes everything from scratch, except the bread it goes on -- for that they use the great crusty-fluffy Italian loaf from D’Amato’s.

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9. Jim's Original Hot Dog 1250 S Union Ave, Chicago, IL 60607

Jim’s Original is there to fulfill the 4am Polish sausage craving you’d be lying if you said you’ve never had. The 24/7 stand has perfected its recipe in the decades since 1943, and its most illustrious Polish sausage sandwich buries a smoked pork and beef Polish sausage in a white bun smothered with yellow mustard and heaps of sweet grilled onions. If sausage isn’t for you, order up a hamburger or a chicken sandwich at the counter. Take napkins for the road; since there’s no place to sit, you’ll want to dive in immediately upon reassuming the driver’s seat.

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10. Central Gyros 3127 N Central Ave, Chicago, IL 60641

Central Gyros in Cragin is the spot to go for delicious gyros that are big on flavor without being TOO big on size. Whether you're getting a platter or a sandwich, Central Gyros won't disappoint.

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11. Punta Cana Restaurant 2200 N Kimball Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

A Dominican restaurant in name, Punta Cana serves food from many different culinary traditions. Plantains, eggs, oxtail, burgers, gyros, and breakfast sandwiches will all find their way onto your plate here.

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