NOW YOU KNOW WHERE TO GO: Sandwich Me In (a delicious and sustainable eatery)
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces- just good food from fresh ingredients.” Julia Child, Chef/Food writer
Most of us can agree that being and thinking “Green” is no longer something that only applies to hippies and Radical Leftists. While we all have a ways to go, Chicago, the city itself and her citizens, have made great strides in the Green arena. We have Architects like Nathan Kipnis, Fashion Designers like Lara Miller, Activists like Kimberly Wasserman, and of course many local restauranteurs. (For more info on great green entrepreneurs check out Chicago Magazine’s Green Awards.) Recently Chef Justin Vrany has joined the ranks with his new sustainable eatery, Sandwich Me In.
Mural by Ashley Samack courtesy of Photographer, Annie Fox.
There are plenty of places to eat in our city which means making a choice is not always easy. Justin brings something new to the table with a satisfying, sustainable and affordable (Half sandwiches start at only $3.50; Whole Sandwiches start at $7 and both include your choice of side.) ‘fast food’ option that includes a variety of fare not limited to vegetarian and/or vegan cuisine. Menu items include: Glazed Pork Loin Sandwich with sauerkraut and sweet apples; Portabella Mushroom Sandwich -marinated and seared with bitter greens and spicy red pepper hummus; Shoe String Fries with BBQ (The sinfully delicious BBQ sauce is a secret family recipe)- You absolutely must try these; and NYK’s personal favorites sparkling beverages a la Soda Stream. Click Here for the full Summer menu.
Owner and Chef, Justin Vrany
You could say that Justin Vrany has always wanted to be a sustainable food entrepreneur. At the age of four he knew he wanted to be one of two things: a chef or a garbage man. In a sense he has accomplished both with his new quick service sandwich shop, Sandwich Me In. By being a part of the Chicago restaurant industry for over 10 years, Vrany has learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to restaurant management and kitchen efficiency. He has brought his expertise to what is already a local gem & successful business venture. During my visit I was pleasantly surprised to discover that he is genuinely friendly, interested in the people around him and has been know to strike up great conversations with many a Sandwich Me In patron.
Picture courtesy of Annie Fox
After being open for a little less than a month Sandwich Me In has only produced about a half garbage can full of actual trash. Everything used in the restaurant is either recycled or composted; even the cooking oil is recycled and goes to maintaining bio-diesel engines. What’s more is the entire restaurant is powered by wind energy produced by the Viridian Company.
Local Producers: Gunthrop Farms, Q7 Ranch and Local Folks Food. Picture courtesy of Annie Fox
98% of Sandwich Me In’s menu is made in house, including their delicious bread, and uses only local meats and fresh seasonal produce. Their goal is to, “…help the community become aware of [the] sustainable options available to them [and thereby] grow together.” They mean it, too. Justin hopes that his eatery will become a community spot where being able to strike up a conversation with a stranger is the norm. It’s well on it’s way. ‘Sandwich’ already has it’s regulars (many of whom were very friendly and enthusiastic about the place).
Justin is looking for local musicians to play in house and artists interested in showing their work. Contact Justin at email@example.com.
While you’re at it check out Sandwich Me In’s Facebook Page for more great pictures and sustainable food fantastic-ness.
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