Home American Grahamwich, Near North

Grahamwich, Near North

by Krista

Grahamwich OutsideGrahamwich
615 N State

Date of Last Visit: Wednesday, January 12

The Victim: Mark

The Damage: $15 + tax for me, $18 + tax for Mark. Not cheap.

The Background: On Monday night, I was walking north on State Street after meeting up with some Chicago wine bloggers when I passed Grahamwich and realized that it was super close to the Grand Red Line stop. This makes it more or less convenient to my office, because I can hop on the Red Line from The Loop and be at Grahamwich in minutes. So I organized a little work field trip–or attempted to, because at the end, it was only me and Mark who went.

Grahamwich Inside

Grahamwich is small. And popular. So my plan had us leaving the office at 11 to get to Grahamwich around 11:15ish so we could beat the queue. Grahamwich, if you don’t know already, is the brainchild of Graham Elliot, the Chicago chef and Master Chef judge. Also Top Chef contestant.

There was no queue and plenty of seating when we arrived, although a poorly timed photo shoot meant that anyone that came in after us couldn’t find anywhere to sit. (Really–a photo shoot during lunch? Are you silly?) We very quickly and efficently placed our order for two beef shortrib sandwiches ($10 each), one bag of truffle popcorn ($5), and one bag of chips ($5). Oh, and an orange soda for Mark ($3). Grahamwich is NOT cheap.

Beefrib Sandwich WrappedI slowly opened my sandwich.

Grahamwich ShortySlowly…almost there now…

Grahamwich Shortrib SandwichVoila! There, under that mound of potato sticks, is one of the finest $10 sandwiches I have ever had. Very very tender and nicely seasoned beef. Horseradish! And a great roll. The menu online calls it a pretzel roll, but this was not a Hannah’s Bretzel pretzel roll. I don’t know what they did to this bread, but it was great. And I’m not much one for bread.

Grahamwich PopcornWhat was not so great was the popcorn. The popcorn itself wasn’t very warm, and then it was covered in truffle oil, parmesan, chives, sea salt, and black better. The topping was just a cold mess. It made everything seem damp. And I reeked of truffle oil for hours afterwards. You might think that’s a good thing until you have to smell that way all day.

Grahamwich ChipsBetter were the chips. Secret ingredient? Ranch dressing powder. Fantastic idea! I hope Mark didn’t mind too much that I kept sneaking his chips. Much better than my popcorn.

You know what I really liked about Grahamwich? The TRAYS. I wanted to steal some. I’m sure I’m not alone. I would be very careful of those trays if I were them. Sooo cute.

I should note that our sandwiches took quite some time to assemble, and there weren’t that many people waiting while we were there. So don’t expect fast food. Also, they are cash only!!

The Verdict: I don’t think I could do a $10 sandwich every day, but for the occasional treat, Grahamwich is a very excellent option. Skip the popcorn. Get the chips. And remember they have jugged tap water in the corner so you can also skip the $3 sodas.

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Ben January 14, 2011 - 8:21 am

11:15? I know you guys have lunch early but that’s still breakfast time in my book!

Melanie Seasons January 14, 2011 - 1:29 pm

$5 chips? That’s a bit ridiculous, innit? Even converting into pounds, I’d have a hard time paying £3 for crisps!

Jeff January 14, 2011 - 7:43 pm

Soo it’s worth grabbing once? Good stuff

Krista January 15, 2011 - 11:29 am

Definitely. Shortrib pretty darn delicious. Just skip the popcorn.

Sam k January 15, 2011 - 11:04 am

Dave, Mike, and I stopped in there before the tweetup on monday. Mike raved about the shortrib, dave had the whitefish and said meh. I grabbed a root beer, since I had already eaten. Not bad. Hope you grabbed a button on the way out.

– Sam from Brokewino.com

Krista January 15, 2011 - 11:29 am

I did grab a button! Dangerous sucker though. Keep catching my fingers on it in my purse.

Kate January 16, 2011 - 6:56 pm

ooh yum! We haven’t had a chance to stop there yet, but it sure sounds good!

cara @ City Girl Chicago January 18, 2011 - 8:50 pm

I enjoyed reading your review ~ as you know this is on my Chicago Dining Wish List for this year. Was surprised (and saddened) to hear about the popcorn, because I love a good truffle oil, and Graham Elliot is supposed to be known for this!

Jeff February 23, 2011 - 11:28 am

Yea, I saw they are doing a make over/menu overhaul. I think that’s good, maybe realize people were not so keen on what’s available and need to switch it up. I give credit for being nimble and not stubborn. We’ll see. Prices are still goofy…

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