Grahamwich is closed as of 09/2013. However, you can still enjoy the review!
If you have a hankering to try what Chef Graham Elliott thinks of as a sandwich, swing by Grahamwich for a quick bite. I discovered that the trick to getting into the laid back eatery on the near north side without a hassle is to avoid the lunch rush altogether and go for dinner. You’ll get to take your time selecting your snacks that way, get to chat with the efficient staff about their faves, and have a fighting chance of securing a spot at the only table in the place — a long, big, community table at the far end of the restaurant.
This is a counter service space meant for people to come and go, but it’s still very pleasant. There’s an element of fun that runs through the whole place. The high ceilings, bright walls, and painted trim are inviting, and I couldn’t help but get the feeling that there is a down-home decorating theme going on, with a bit of a modern-city-living feel thrown in — i.e. modern-styled light fixtures and trendy leather seating cubes. I was also amused that the walls in the restroom, which is wheelchair accessible, are one big chalkboard to write on. In fact, overall wheelchair accessibility shows great attention to detail –the counters are lower in spots for easy ordering, the pastry cases are easy to see into, the space is roomy, and the table is easy to pull up to.
The same attention to detail is paid in food presentation. The sandwiches are wrapped in brown paper and served on small, charming tin trays with flowers on them — the kind I might find in my grandma’s basement.
I stuck with a classic, per staff recommendation, and got the Ruben sandwich. Apparently people don’t think to order it as often because the think they can get a Ruben anywhere. Elliott puts his own touches on the sauerkraut and adds Gruyère fondue to the mix, which is tasty. But honestly? It just doesn’t fit the bill like a classic pastrami at Manny’s does.
My favorite thing at Grahamwich was dessert — namely the cinnamon stick soft serve topped with roasted apple, salted caramel and pie crust. I love soft serve anyway, but this… this takes it to a whole new level. I’m salivating just thinking about it and may have to rearrange my schedule today so that I can go get some more.
Once you taste the food at Grahamwich, you’ll likely want to stay awhile if you can and come back again. But be prepared. It’s not cheap because it’s not Subway. I paid roughly $17 for a sandwich, drink and dessert. Sure it was casual, but the food was sit-down restaurant quality. Note that Grahamwich is cash only too, but conveniently there’s an ATM there if you need one.
615 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654