- Aimee Levitt
- Roast beef sandwich and chips
Like many people who work in offices and who would rather sleep as late as possible instead of getting up early to prepare and pack elaborate lunches, I eat a lot of sandwiches. I wouldn’t say I’m a connoisseur exactly, but I have some firm opinions about what makes a good sandwich.
The bread should not be stale or soggy. The fillings should not be slimy or greasy. The sandwich maker should not try to substitute an extra helping of lettuce for more expensive—and better-tasting—ingredients. If tomatoes are used, they should be red and juicy, not pink and chewy. There should be a balance between soft and crunchy. And you should be able to hold it easily in one hand while you type or click with the other.
I regret that Andorka’s Sandwich Shop is in Pilsen instead of closer to Reader world headquarters because the sandwiches, prepared by owner and proprietor Matt Andorka, are models of the form, and I would eat them frequently.
Andorka’s menu is small: there are just eight sandwiches (plus a breakfast sandwich special), two salads, and three sides. Some of the sandwich fillings you can find anywhere—ham, turkey, roast beef—while others are more rare; Andorka says customers have been very excited to see that he serves goat. But all the sandwiches are well-executed, with a nice balance of flavors and textures, all served up on bread—white or whole wheat—baked on site. The goat sandwich is especially good: the meat is tender, not gristly as some goat tends to be, and goes nicely with stewed tomatoes and poblano sour cream.
- Aimee Levitt
- The goat sandwich
Pleasing though the sandwiches are, the real standout at Andorka’s is a side of their potato chips. Those are made on site, too, in a little fryer behind the counter, and they’re served up warm. They’re crisp and salty without being too greasy. You can choose from five dips, including mayo, green goddess, and honey butter, and those are very good, but what really makes those chips sing is the malt vinegar, in cruets on every table. In comparison, prepackaged chips, even the gourmet kind, like Cape Cod or Zapp’s, taste stale.
Like the food, the Andorka’s space feels homemade. It has the feel of a coffee shop in a small college town: small, furnished with a few tables, a shabby old couch, a piano, and a gas fireplace. The coffee is Dark Matter. On a cold and snowy day, it’s tempting to curl up on the couch with a book and stay there all afternoon.
Andorka’s Sandwich Shop, 2110 S. Halsted, 312-763-6916, andorkas.com.