Good gourmet sandwich shop in Chicago – Grahamwich

Maybe this isn’t a new restaurant category – but lately I’ve noticed a lot of what I’d call, for lack of a better term, overpriced ($10 or thereabouts) gourmet sandwich shops popping up in cities large and small (say, Chicago and Des Moines.) They’re often started by ambitious big-name chefs who are experimenting with offering lighter, less expensive fare. And while the sandwiches cost less than the entrees you’d find in their full service restaurants, they’re still a lot more then you’d pay at your more everyday pedestrian sandwich shop. So it better be worth the price and in my experience, these overpriced sandwiches aren’t always. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and proclaim the sandwiches at Grahamwich – on State between Ohio and Ontario in Chicago, opened by celeb chef Graham Elliott – worth the price.  The two I shared with my stepdaughter (who wanted me to try this place) were each something special: one-of-a-kind concoctions with delicious ingrediants. We had the roast beef with baby arugala, red onion, shoe string potatoes and grainy mustard on a pretzel roll; and the particularly impressive grilled shrimp with black beans, mango salsa, “blistered” corn, guacamole puree on a chipotle tortilla. Also had homemade chips – salt/vinegar and bacon/ranch. This is the second place I’ve been to recently offering a gourmet popcorn as a side dish.

This experience has wet my appetite for Graham Elliott’s other fancier Chicago restaurants, perhaps as intended.

Grahamwich, by the way, is part of a row of attractive old world shops (one is even called “haberdash”) and restaurants on this particular block including P.O.S.H. which has a nice selection of Paris-London-Chicago related kitchen and home goods including lots of pretty vintage-looking china, and Pop, a champagne bar. From the Grahamwich website, which is worth a visit, I see that the building is a Chicago landmark and on the national historic register, built in 1894 as an artist colony, wiht a ground level cast iron arcade. Other things to try at Grahamwich: grilled cheese, homemade sodas on tap, seasonal soft serve, truffled popcorn. okey doke.

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