Second City Subs is one of those stealth restaurants. It has such a classic appearance that it tends to confuse. All of the elements of a mom-and-pop sandwich shop are so solidly in place that each trip feels like returning to somewhere you've been before.
The Gonnella bread logo is reassuring to see. Familiar to almost any longtime Chicago resident, the label is a local staple that translates as 'the bread is fresh here.' Other comfortable sights here are the local sports memorabilia (the shop is on the north side, but the owners are diplomatically bi-partisan) and sepia-toned snapshots of the family in their early days. This sandwich shop could be anywhere in the city, and with a name like Second City, it hopes to embody that Chicago spirit.
Elbow up to the counter after waiting in line with the DePaul University and nearby Lincoln Park high school students, and place your order for a Chicago classic like a Vienna beef hot dog or a soup, salad, or wrap. Have a seat in the vintage dining room of this historic storefront building, and enjoy tastes that every Chicagoan knows by heart.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman