A twist on the traditional American bagel shop or bakery, this soup, salad and sandwich shop spawned from its German owner's well-fed affinity for pretzels. Hannah's (named after the owner's daughter) offers two organic twisted options: Swabian bretzels, which Hannah's recommends spicing up with a sweet or savory spread. (See: Nutella!) The other option is the whole grain bretzel, which the shop uses for its gourmet sandwiches, layered with anything from prosciutto to ham and Gruyere to cheddar, with cucumber and watercress. Carboholics will find these home baked goodies distant relatives of the empty calorie version of pretzels that we're used to buying at the store.
Besides sandwiches, Hannah's offers homemade muesli, a barley and veggie-based Swiss "Bundner" soup and salad spruced with Green City Market pickings like sunflower and sesame seeds. Drinks range from hot or iced drinking chocolate, organic coffee and teas to dozens of posh bottled beverages including Pom, Stonyfield and Naked smoothies, and Lorina's French lemonade.
Parallel to the bar stands the wall o' chocolate, a mirage of rich, milky, overpriced but oh-so-tempting imports. Those who know their chocolate will recognize the names on display: Ritter's, Kinder Chocolate, Lake Champlain, Chocolate Bar NY and, of course, Chicago's own, Vosges. Hannah's also showcases its conscientious efforts by highlighting the brands that donate a portion of their profits to worthwhile causes.
Squeezed between a narrow hallway of a storefront, its moderately chilly, industrial aesthetic, polished in red and silver decor, comes as a surprising contrast when you think of warm, doughy pretzels and simmering hot chocolate drinks. However, with Euro grooves lightly thumping through the speakers, it all fits. Don't expect to linger long since there's only room for a few stools at the counter in the window. Check out the Web site for an extensive catering menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can even order a chocolate basket if that's what the doctor orders.
Follow Hannah's Bretzel on Twitter.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jessica Herman