By Summar Ghias
When the gourmet sandwich shop Grahamwich opened last year, buzz abound. Celeb chef Graham Elliot’s judge spot on the Fox show Masterchef and recent stint as Lollapalooza culinary curator had Chicago foodies chomping at the bit. Reviews on his new establishment, however, were conflicting; Time Out Chicago (my usual go-to magazine) was less than impressed. Having heard from my gourmand older brother that it was worth a try, I figured it time to go see for myself.
Housed in Chicago landmark, Tree Studios, a former artist colony established in 1894, Elliot has set out to ‘redefine what a sandwich shop should and could be’. While I’m not quite sure it does all that, it’s definitely a good alternative to Potbelly and Quiznos if you’re ever in the mood for fancy.
I got the Pacific tuna sandwich ($10) with roasted pineapple, wasabi peas, yuzu aioli and sweet soy on a Hawaiian bun. My friend got the wagyu beef sandwich ($10) with baby arugula, grainy mustard, Yukon potato, and onion rings on a pretzel roll. They were both surprisingly good, and I didn’t feel as if my sandwich was overdressed like some of the reviews had mentioned.
Most enticing on the menu, however, are the snacks, which include truffle popcorn with grated parmesan, chopped chives, sea salt and cracked pepper and cinnamon stick frozen yogurt with roasted apple, salted caramel, and pie crust. Yum. We devoured them.
The space is a little scene-y, but I happened to like the benches and common area feel. So, the next time I’m feeling like I’ve had a little too much of my standard vegetarian on wheat at Potbelly (which I generally devour with equal enthusiasm), I’ll be sure to head back here to mix it up a little.
615 N. State St.
between Ohio St. and Ontario St.
Chicago, IL 60611
Occasion: Lunchtime alternative to Potbelly
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ** (Scene-y, but given the area, how could it not be)
Would I go back?: Yes (and I have).