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Restaurant Tue Jun 11 2013
A good sandwich is about more than what's in between the bread: local Chicago eateries have begun to take the notion of a quick "fast food" lunch and use it as a springboard for change. Sustainable, low-waste concepts were quick to catch on in the realm of fine dining, where guests were willing to shell out a bit more for the promise of environmentally-nurturing grub. However, a handful of passionate "green" chefs and restaurateurs have started to apply the same ideas to a more egalitarian canvas: the humble lunchtime sandwich.
Sandwich Me In - Lakeview
Chef Justin Vrany has an impressive food pedigree--he has previously worked in high-profile spots such as Mindy's Hot Chocolate and the Ritz Carlton. However, his aim with Sandwich Me In is to pare down ingredients to the freshest and most local, and to whip up every menu item in-house. Nearly everything, from the bread to the beverages, is made from scratch. Even more impressively, over the course of a year, the restaurant only generated eight gallons of garbage.
Try: The PB&J calzone, house made black bean burger, BBQ pulled pork.
Local Root - Streeterville
Providing eco-friendly and socially conscious "fast food" is the philosophy behind this eatery which boasts a from-scratch bakery, an American-centric wine bar and an all-day menu featuring sustainably produced ingredients. Come in the morning for a hot croissant, in the midday for hearty sandwich, or in the evening for a full selection of poutines, burgers, and flatbreads. The restaurant operates on a zero-waste policy and is on the cutting edge of composting and recycling systems.
Try: Brisket with burgundy chevre, prosciutto on house baguette, beer-battered eggplant.
Hannah's Bretzel - Loop (multiple locations)
With five locations in the Loop and growing, Hannah's Bretzel is quickly becoming an empire of organic sandwiches. Featuring an internationally-influenced menu featuring "bretzel" rolls brimming with a range of 60-70% organic produce made possible through partnerships with local farms, Hannah's was also a founding member of the Chicago Green Restaurant Association in 2008. If their handcrafted sandwiches don't draw you in, perhaps you'll be enticed by the wall of chocolate: a fixture at every Hannah's location, you'll find the largest selection of premium chocolate brands that Chicago has to offer.
Try: Bavari-Asian baguette, farmhouse cheddar & watercress, wild Alaskan smoked salmon.