The beauty of quick-serve sandwich shop Uncle Sammy's is its simplicity. Located a few blocks from DePaul University, the restaurant offers 11 sandwiches, each with a pickle or chips, plus brownies and soft drinks. That's it. No salads topped with exotic cheeses, no adjoining cafe hawking extra-hot lattes, no baskets of mini Bundt cakes staring at you as you wait in line.
Instead, Uncle Sammy’s serves sandwiches made with the freshest, softest bread imaginable (it's baked every 20 minutes). The shop's 11 "sandwich classics" include the Windy City, a roast beef, ham and provolone number, the Big Easy, made with turkey, ham and a house-made olive tapenade, and the Pilgrim, that turkey-and-stuffing favorite. Uncle Sammy's asks for customers not to substitute meats or cheeses on their sandwiches, and a few bites will show you why: They have these babies down to an art. Just-right amounts of juicy meat, thick cheese slices, fresh lettuce and tomato and dressings make Uncle Sammy's a no-brainer for lunch or study breaks. It's easy to see why the resto is a DePaul favorite, although the $5.50 price tag on sandwiches and free delivery within Lincoln Park can't hurt, either.
Make sure to save room for a fudge brownie, which the shop also bakes fresh daily. If you happen to stroll in while the chocolatey treats are baking in the oven, good luck resisting their siren call. But if you're lucky, the girls behind the counter might sling one your way, gratis.
Most people grab Sammy's to go, but a few tables scattered throughout the airy, white-and-blue shop provide a place to sit and munch for a few minutes. Quirky, all-American 1960s-era posters of Las Vegas, PanAm Airlines and the like dot the walls while American classics from Johnny Cash play over the stereo system. It's also rumored that Uncle Sammy's hosts the occasional live band on weekend nights.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Elisabeth Kilpatrick