There's a tiny shop in Pilsen that's been quietly doing things from scratch for the past two years.
The coziness is palpable, inside the homey Andorka's Sandwich Shop along South Halsted in Pilsen. From the 8-track tape player to the owner himself, serving the food, you feel like you're in someone's home. For a sandwich shop though, everything begins and ends with the bread.
"Freshness is key, I think with all the ingredients. Bread is definitely key; making it fresh everyday," said owner Matt Andorka.
Whole grain and white bread are the only two options; loaves are baked throughout the day. As for toppings, how about some slow-roasted goat - as tender as beef and as lean as pork - it's cooked low and slow.
"We braise the goat the whole day - it's in the oven now, has been since this morning. We braise that with whole tomatoes, onions, garlic and salt," he said.
It's then pulled and stacked on the bread, which itself is shmeared with a homemade spread.
"That's served with a poblano sour cream, so we roast poblano peppers and peel them and mix 'em with sour cream; adds a nice spicy kick to the sweet goat meat," Andorka said.
Housemade chips - crispy and generously salted - along with a tart pickle make for a substantial lunch. Non-meat eaters will love the tempeh sandwich; the soy bean derivative is rubbed in miso paste and rice wine vinegar, then layered with thinly-sliced cucumbers, red onions and peppery arugula, placed onto thick slices that have been covered in sesame cream cheese.
Andorka's egg salad is also noteworthy, a great side dish unto itself.
"Hard-boiled eggs, onions, mayo, turmeric and put pickled onions on top of it," he said.
He says despite the kitchen's small size, there's a lot of work involved making things from scratch. But he wouldn't have it any other way.
"It is worth it, sticking to, key is freshness. Always fresh," said Andorka.
Freshness is the key, and the details matter. Whether it's the bread, the soup, the sides, even the pickles made from scratch.
EXTRA COURSE: In this week's extra course, ABC 7's Steve Dolinsky talks about two of Andorka's homemade soups.
ANDORKA'S SANDWICH SHOP
2110 S Halsted St.