Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lil' Guys Sandwich Shop - Chicago, IL

2010 N. Damen
Chicago, IL
Lil' Guys Sandwich Shop

Of all the sandwich shops in the city of Chicago, Lil' Guys is my favorite. It is the home to the second best Reuben I have ever eaten. There are two locations, but I have only eaten at the one located in Bucktown. The first time I ate there was when AHG came to visit within the first couple months of living there. I should probably explain that it is also a pizza joint, My Pi. They have pretty good thin crust pizza which is not as common as you would think, as Chicago is known for their Deep Dish style pizza. The first time I went I ordered a slice of pizza, as we were hungover and it was a better option than a sandwich. Luckily I went back for the sandwiches. Since I like this restaurant so much, it was part of my victory lap of restaurants of Bucktown with ABW and WJB. This is one of my favorite stories from living up there. I promise I'll get to the food afterwards. When ABW moved up to Chicago, we decided to go to dinner one night, and we heard there were some decent Mexican restaurants not to far from me. The thing is, there are literally 3 Mexican restaurants within 100 yards of each other: Arturo's Tacos, Lazo's Tacos, and Marisco's Cancun. When we got to the corner of Western and Armitage, we walked by each one about 5 times. We had no idea which one was the good one. Arturo's was too busy, Lazo's looked kind of dirty, and Marisco's was empty, but it looked the nicest. We chose that one. I think it was empty because it was terrible. The only other time I have had worse Mexican was here in Indy at El Sol de Tala. We came to find out that Arturo's was the best of the 3. So on my Tour de Bucktown, we started at Lil Guys. We each ordered the Reuben and we made it a meal with pasta salad and a drink. I was pretty full after, but ABW insisted we keep on with our tour. We then walked to Arturo's. I ordered a Chicken taco, as I was pretty full. WJB got a taco and ABW got a taco and a torta, a Mexican sandwich. Now there is a McDonald's across the street. ABW told us that he recently took down a double cheese in 30 seconds. We thought it would be a good idea to see him try the feat again. He finished in 47 seconds. On the way home, we stopped at the Map Room, and had a Bell's Oberon to top it off. That was the most food, in the most different restaurants I have ever seen someone consume in my life. And it was an amazing way for me to bid farewell to my home for 2 years.

Now for the good stuff. The thing about the Reubens at Lil' Guys is they have two kinds. One is called the Reubenesque, a typical Reuben you can get any day of the week. I have had it and it can hold its own. I usually wait until Fridays or Saturdays, as this is the only day you can order the Ultimate Homemade Reuben. Every time I go there, I want to move the Ultimate Reuben to number 1 on the list. It is made with made from scratch Rye bread. It is a Rye flat bread, and as you can see from the picture, it looks like a taco when it is all said and done. The flat bread is soft, but has a crusty outside. I love how it is made to order. You really don't see that anywhere else. You have to give them 15 minutes to make the sandwich, for that reason only. I recommend calling it in before you go there. The corned beef is cured and cooked on site. The corned beef is the reason I would move it to #1. Of all the Reuben's I have ever eaten, this is the only one where the meat is so tender, it literally melts in your mouth. The beef is sliced very thin, essentially shredded. The seasoning of the beef shines through as well. Every bite has a good mix of salt, pepper, and other spices they use for curing (usually mustard seed, ginger, juniper berries, sugar, cloves, and ginger). The Reuben also has sauerkraut and swiss cheese, 1000 island served on the side. This time my brother and I decided to split the Reuben and the Egg-Salad-A-Rama. It is the best egg salad I have ever had. The texture is what does it for me. It is light and fluffy, so it is a good option if you are craving something on the lighter side. It is served on Hawaiian bread, which is what they call their house bread. It is about a quarter of a loaf of Hawaiian bread, so it is a very generous portion. It is topped with Romaine lettuce, tomato and onion. They have pretty good side dish options. The only one I haven't liked is the Vinaigrette potato salad. I almost always go with the pasta salad. It has Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and red onion. The sauce is olive oil based but the flavor mostly comes from the other ingredients marinating in the oil.

Li'L Guys on Urbanspoon

I have eaten there the past two weeks and nothing has changed. The ONLY problem I have with this place is there isn't a whole lot of places to sit. They have a couple tables outside, but they are for two people. There is a bar top with about 5 stools and a table or two inside. We were lucky enough to live close enough to walk there. There are about 7 spots in the parking lot, and they are all a tight squeeze. I have seen numerous cars back into the lamp post. Since Chicago is only about 3 hours away, I know many of you frequent the city. I highly recommend stopping by sometime.

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