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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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You Feelin’ Lucky?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010 @ 08:02 AM

I must sadly admit that I finally just visited this next hot spot over Christmas break (although I lived near it for 7 years!!!).  Located in Chicago’s famous Wrigleyville neighborhood, named for it’s proximity to Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs), Lucky’s Sandwich Co. has been helping stuff locals with a “full meal” since 2004.  Originally, I was going to continue the theme of “Memphis Barbecue” and round out the series, however (and to be honest), I was getting a little tired of discussing all the barbecue I don’t get to experience regularly…and I’m sure you guys were ready to move on too :).  So on that note…let’s move on the another topic I love…….SANDWICHES!!

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Sandwiches are one of those dishes that bring such enjoyment and variety.  I love the endless possibilities, the endless toppings, and how just plain tasty they can be.  Unfortunately though, as these sandwiches creations get more and more extreme, so do our waistlines!  So on that note, many of sandwiches I will eventually feature on PCC I don’t recommend be enjoyed EVERY day, but for a treat…FO’ SHO!  A Lucky’s sandwich is one of those sandwiches.

What makes me so sad is that Adam and I literally lived down the street from this sandwich glory for almost 4 years; and not until moving to Texas did we finally make it here!  I’ll never forget the look on Adam’s and my face when Adam Richman swings in here while in Chicago for Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food.  The main reason we were taken aback is because Lucky’s specializes in a certain kind of sandwich that we had seen before and were craving badly…the famous Primanti Bros. sandwiches from Pittsburgh often featured on popular television shows.  So you can understand why we were so distraught that we had walked by here a million times and never went in.  The only solace we had was knowing since Chicago is a city near to our hearts, we would be back (and Adam actually got to try this for the first time when he was back in Chicago in November for work….ass!).

Moving on…you may be sandwich01-examplewondering why I am going on and on about a measly old sandwich.  Well, ain’t no ordinary sandwich, now is it?

<—– That my friends (ya….over there) is a stuffed sandwich of perfection!  Meat, cheese, slaw, tomatoes, AND…wait for it…FRENCH FRIES?  Yes that’s right, your fries come right on the sandwich.  I know you what you other health nuts are thinking, “I’ll get them on the side or not at all.” Well, then you might as well not even come for a visit, cause that’s what makes the sandwich.  Remember, I did forewarn everyone that this is not a sandwich you eat every day, but rather on those fun occasions when you genuinely need a good stuffin’. 🙂

I think the reason we overlooked this glorious delight all that time is cause if you know anything about Wrigleyville (and Clark St. in particular), it is a street that is literally lined with bar after bar and little restaurants all jammed packed together.  In other words, places are easily missed and more often than not overlooked.  Lucky’s looks very similar to many of the bars we used to frequent, so I don’t think we ever saw the need to change it up.  But I will admit to it now, BOY WERE WE WRONG!

When you walk inside, it is fairly small and narrow (like many of the bars/restaurants in that neighborhood).  We went on a Friday night, so it was already packed and we were “lucky” to score a small table in the back.  The ONLY menu is a large chalkboard on the wall with all the varieties of sandwich concoctions.  EVERY sandwich comes with slaw, tomato, and fires, and typically a selection of meat or meats (and yes, there is a vegetarian option).  I figured if I was going to go for it, I might as well go all the way and I ordered the one of their signature creations…The Fredo (a delight of ham, salami, capicola, and swiss).  This being his 2nd go-round, Adam went with the skirt steak and cheese; and demonstrating his concern for health…added a fried egg :).  Finally, Adam’s best friend Aaron was with us for the experience (he’s a foodie too).  He got the corned beef & pastrami (and like my husband…the fried egg).

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The picture does not really do it justice, but let’s just say I was a bit overwhelmed when they set this in front of me.  My first thought…”How am I going to fit all this in my mouth.” The second thought, “I hate tomatoes!  However, if this is how they do it, I am going to give it a try.” Well, after all that debate, you can see I did not seem to have much trouble mowing down; and believe it or not, I am a tomato convert (well not completely, but in this instance, a must).

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What is so amazing about this sandwich is for how heavy in substance it is, all the flavors going together well and clearly having a purpose.  As crazy as it sounds, this sandwich is not jammed with stuffing for the sake of being outrageous, but I think rather each element has a function.  I was able to taste all the different flavors of the meats; the slaw adds a sweet and sour element; the fries add a nice salty and chewy texture; the tomato is a fresh sweet zing at the end; and finally, it is all balanced by perfectly fresh and chewy Italian bread.

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I was only able to get through a half of one of these bad boys and was pretty sufficiently stuffed with just that.  It’s hard to imagine that Adam Richman was able to successfully complete the Lucky’s Sandwich Contest and eat three of these whole sandwiches in under and hour…impressive or gross?  I’ll let you make that call :).  Here is some video of when Adam (Richman) visited the famous sandwich shop last year to compete for Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food.

Man vs. Food Chicago [Video].  (2009).  Retrieved February 2, 2010, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1p-K577Dyk.

Whether or not you think it’s gross or impressive that Adam (Richman) could down three of these things, I think his review and sounds of ecstasy while he ate are an accurate critique (I admit that similar noises were definitely escaping my mouth with each bite).  We were all extremely stuffed (food coma setting in) :); yet, nonetheless, very happy when we were finished.

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Rating this spot is extremely easy.  It “meats” all the qualifications with flying colors.  I would say it’s pretty obvious it has a signature dish, being that their signature-style sandwich is the only main dish on their menu.  Taste…out of this world good (I mean…I ate a tomato!).  The ambiance is typical of a Chicago bar, a great decor highlighted by rich woods throughout.  It’s a fun atmosphere with old time appeal; and although it is a little small and cramped, I enjoyed it because it reminded me of all the fun times we had when we lived there.  Also, even though it was a busy Friday night, we were served extremely quick and treated very well regardless of the crowd.  The prices are very reasonable, especially for Chicago.  All their sandwiches are $7, which I think is a deal considering the entire meal you are getting stuffed between two pieces of bread, and in all honesty, could be considered two sandwiches!  All-in-all, this was one of the best meals I’ve had in awhile, because if you are hungry, it really hits the spot.

That being said, put on your strechy pants and get ready to stuff your face! I give Lucky’s Sandwich Co. a 4 1/2 Little Piggies!

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