Hungry Hound: A Tale of 2 Jerry's

March 12, 2008 10:38:13 AM PDT
ABC7's Hungry Hound visits a one-of-a-kind sandwich shop where there are hundreds of permutations and the only limit is your imagination.For the last few years, lunchtime crowds downtown have been heading over to West Madision for a quick sandwich fix at Jerry's. But a few months ago, they expanded the operation to Wicker Park. They set up a much fancier atmosphere-- complete with fireplace and full-service bar.

The focus is still on the sandwiches though, which range from simple to sublime.

Since when did sandwich-making become an art? Ever since the second Jerry's opened in Wicker Park. Long a favorite in West Town, this newer version has an expanded menu and more creature comforts than the original.

"Well here I think the biggest difference was, we do a great lunch business on Madison, but it's not any place people really want to go for dinner. I mean, people come, they take out sandwiches; our feeling was people would eat our food at dinner if we gave them a nice place to eat, and liquor, and beer, and wine, and you know, that's proven to be the case," said Mindy Friedler, Jerry's Sandwiches.

The options are endless. Take a look at the weaponry: drawers of assorted cured and fresh meats; imported and domestic cheeses.. condiments to concoct any variation, and an assortment of breads that would make any bakery jealous. There's also a full arsenal of sauces, aiolis and mayos for extra flavor.

"He decided, you know, we do all these really cool things, let's do something, you know, nobody's done - anything you can eat you can put it between two pieces of bread, so," said Friedler.

A few highlights include the "Diego R" - grilled steak, avocado, cilantro and cheddar on pumpernickel bread that's been slathered with chipotle chutney and adobo sauce.

Warm sandwich highlights include a Southern fried chicken that's first marinated in buttermilk; sliced pickles and American cheese are aided by ketchup, mayo and hot sauce and it comes on your choice of bread.

A recent special included grilled tuna, stacked with fresh avocado, cucumbers and feta cheese; a little wasabi mayo ramps up the otherwise bland tuna.

Even vegetarians have plenty to choose from... there's ample amount of hummus, asparagus and portabellas to plant a garden. About a dozen sides only add to the dilemma.. you get to choose from among mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, a vinegary cucumber salad or simple pasta.

Friedler says the staff has slowly improved, helping customers navigate the daunting number of potential sandwich options.

"We've gotten pretty good at putting the combinations together."

Not only does the new location have comfier seating and more space than the original, they also have live music there on the weekends.

Jerry's Sandwiches
1938 W. Division St.


1045 W. Madison St.