We’re SO excited to introduce you to our brand new series: the Ambitious Kitchen Chicago Series! Abra and I are local to Chicago and love exploring new restaurants, markets, and more that serve up delicious eats. We’ll be sharing everything from the best sandwiches and salads to donuts and cookies. You’ll find our guides here on the blog and full videos of everywhere we explore on the @ambitiouskitchen Instagram page — be sure to follow along here!
Have any recommendations or types of food we should explore? Leave a comment at the end of this post or on our Chicago Series Instagram posts.
Because Abra is our resident sandwich-lover, our first guide has 5 of the best sandwiches in Chicago. She has tried too many sandwiches to count in the city and narrowed it down to these 5 beauties:
- The B. Franklin from Tempesta Market: 1372 W. Grand Ave.
- Mr. G from J.P. Graziano: 901 W. Randolph St.
- Sweet Potato Panini from Daisies: 2523 N. Milwaukee Ave.
- The Hoagie from Standing Passengers: 1457 W. Chicago Ave.
- The Chuck from Hexe Coffee Co.: 2000 W. Diversey Pkwy
Abra will walk you through each one below! Let us know in the comments if you’ve had any of these amazing sandwiches, and be sure to share more of your favorite Chicago sandwiches with us, too.
Tempesta is a small market, deli, and restaurant all in one that serves up incredible salads, sides, charcuterie, gelato, and of course, sandwiches. I first discovered it back in 2020 and fell in LOVE. It’s a bit of a hike from where I live in the city, but I always find a chance to take a long bike ride over there when it’s warm because the sandwiches are SO amazing.
- The B. Franklin: there’s really a sandwich for everyone at Tempesta, but my go-to is The B. Franklin. This sammie has roasted turkey, hooks 2-year cheddar, pickled fresno, sprouts, pickled red onion, avocado and sofrito aioli on sourdough. You can also add bacon! What makes it extra special is that they actually toss the turkey in the super flavorful sofrito mayo instead of just spreading the mayo on the bread.
If you’ve been around the West Loop in Chicago, you’ve probably heard of or stumbled upon this Italian staple. J.P. Graziano has been around for 84(!) years and started out as a family-owned wholesale business selling things like olive oil and pasta. Besides their famous sandwiches with super fresh ingredients, they’re known for plenty of grocery items like giardiniera (a Chicago staple), muffuletta, seasonings, and more.
- The Mr. G: I had to get the Mr. G because it’s their house specialty! It has sharp provolone, hot sopresatta, prosciutto di parma, volpi genoa salami, JPG truffle mustard balsamic vinaigrette, hot oil, marinated roman style artichokes, fresh basil, and lettuce with red wine vinegar and oregano. The flavors have a big punch without being overwhelming, and there’s the perfect amount of meat and cheese. Delicious, crusty bread rounds it all out!
The super cute Logan Square restaurant, Daisies, is specifically known for its pasta and veggie-forward meals. The owner works with a local farm to source sustainable ingredients, and their menu changes seasonally depending on what produce is in season. For dinner, you can get a beautiful salad alongside a homemade pasta dish, and for lunch, you can treat yourself to a truly amazing sandwich. Get their homemade onion dip on the side, plus fun grocery items to take home!
- Sweet Potato Panini: I’ve tried a few Daisies sandwiches over time and I keep coming back to this vegetarian staple. The Sweet Potato Panini is served warm with buffalo burrata, calabrian chili, mint and pistachio. Just look at those colors! The mint and pistachio take this sandwich to the next level and make it super unique. It’s also very filling and is great for sharing.
I started following Standing Passengers on Instagram about a year ago after I stumbled upon a couple of photos of sandwiches and breakfast burritos. This amazing Noble Square coffeehouse isn’t just for coffee and sammies, it’s truly a community gathering spot that features local artists. The founder started out as a graffiti artist and you can find plenty of one-of-a-kind art within the shop itself. They also host events with local DJs, have arcade games, serve really unique coffee drinks, and are overall such a fun vibe.
- The Hoagie: alongside your blueberry lavender latte you MUST get a sub sandwich here. The Hoagie has ham, salami, capocolla, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper, and oregano. It may sound relatively simple but trust me when I say it’s the best hoagie I’ve ever had (and yes, I’ve had many). They have a veggie sub, turkey cheddar, and even a thick and delicious PB&J, too!
Hexe Coffee Co.
Monique introduced me to Hexe because she started going after her workouts nearby. She always gushed about the amazing baked goods and cool coffee drinks, so I was so excited to be able to try it out a few weeks ago. They opened back in 2019 and have tons of awesome specialty coffees, barrel aged coffees, and even fun cocktails. Plus, they truly have #patiogoals in the spring and summer. A must visit for the sandwich above and for their tahini chocolate chip cookie + vegan walnut chocolate chip cookie (Monique’s personal favorite!).
- The Chuck: this beauty is served on Publican bread (a staple Chicago bakery) and has turkey, brie, green apple, romaine, and hot honey. Basically the best-ever charcuterie combo but in sandwich form. Pair it with a fun coffee drink or cocktail, plus one of their homemade scones or cookies and have yourself a damn good day on the patio.