If the point in 2012 of making a list of the 50 best sandwiches in Chicago is to immediately provoke discussion all over Twitter pointing out what you Unbelievably! Completely! Ignored!, then the list that Chicago magazine published yesterday is a smashing success. (As Oscar Wilde once said to Monty Python, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.) The focus of complaints included such the absence of such things as the subs at J.P. Graziano’s or Riviera, the Montreal smoked meat (aka pastrami) at Fumare, the tragic lack of any banh mi from Nhu Lan, and no mention of The Butcher & Larder, who admittedly change their sandwiches every day, but still, have certain regular items that are not that tough to track down (hint: cold roast beef, pickled fennel)— if Michelin shouldn’t have gotten so hung up on format about Next, neither should Chicago about Butcher & Larder. So we’d have not only put those in our top 50, but given them serious thought for our top 10. But you know what? It’s not our list, it’s theirs.
And there’s plenty of good stuff on it, even if it’s not exactly what you or I would have picked (but what would be interesting about reading it then?) We’re a bit dubious about their number one, the BLT at Old Oak Tap with its massive mound of bacon, but on the other hand, kudos to them for giving the top spot to a place and a chef (Mike McGill) almost completely off food media radar. We wouldn’t argue for a minute with two of the top 10— the PB& L (pork belly and lamb) sausage at Publican Quality Meats or the great Mexican sandwich the Atomica at Cemitas Puebla. And if we would argue with some things (pastrami over corned beef at Manny’s, sub over meatballs at Bari and Graziano’s over Bari anyway, Taza Bakery over Dawali for shawarma), there’s plenty more worth investigating… and debating. We’d go on, but we’re trying to decide where to go to lunch.
For comparison, see this Grub Street sandwich slideshow from 2010 (most of which is still good advice).
The 50 Best Sandwiches in Chicago [Chicago]