Drink of the week:
photo: Clifton Henri
; Jeff Flanegan serves up a bottle of Anchor Porter.
Where you can find it: Jerry's Sandwiches (Division)
The damage: $4.50.
Thousands of bars in Chicago, why this one? If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would have to be the trusty sandwich. With all the different flavor combos you can get from countless fillers slapped together between doughy goodness that runs the gamut from seed-flecked rye to a dense baguette to pita bread, you could take down a sub every day for a year and never repeat ingredients. No other restaurant has pledged its devotion to the beloved sandwich quite like Jerry's, which boasts a menu of more than 100 different takes on the classic lunchtime hand-held. If you're used to peanut butter and jelly, you should know that the sandwiches here skew a bit more dignified; though, once you trade in your PB&J for a Spence M, with bacon, peanut butter, apple, basil and cranberry sauce, you'll never again look at a jar of Jiff in the same light.
How it went down: After racking my brain trying to settle on a sandwich, I finally picked the Wolfy P, a mix of sweet honey mustard, perfectly crisped bacon, smoked turkey, salty Swiss, buttery grilled onions and apple. I thought the hard part was over, but it turns out Jerry's beer list rivals its food menu in length, diversity and intensity. Though the drink menu was organized well, selecting one bottle out of about 100 proved too frazzling for my already over-worked decision-making skills. I looked to my waiter for guidance, and he looked back at me as if I were speaking Greek. Short of closing my eyes and pointing, I had no other option but to go for a fail-safe: Anchor Porter.
Served in an ice-cold bottle with a goblet-like glass, the porter poured a tiny tan head and had a rich black, almost opaque hue. It sported a deep espresso flavor with notes of chocolate and a nutty aftertaste that paired well with the earthy whole grain bread that was holding my Wolfy P in place. For such a full beer, it went down quite smoothly and was the perfect antidote to a cold winter evening.
Would I want to become a regular? With most sandwiches costing about $9, I'll still have to pack my boring turkey on wheat for my weekday lunches, but I'll consider Jerry's my special-occasion sandwich spot. Beyond the price point, even the decor indicates that it's not to be treated like a Subway: Loft-like ceilings, a neutral color palette and high-backed one-sided booths suggest "urban retreat" rather than "sandwich artist."
Dana Kavan scours the city for drink deals so good you'll offer to buy a round and creative libations that outshine your average on-the-rocks concoctions. Want to give Dana tips on where to rack up a bar tab? Share your finds before her next night out.