Formerly: The good people that brought you Salad Spinners tackle the artform of the irresistible, freshly made sandwich with the Loop's newest lunch meets rock and roll stop, the aptly named Lunch Rolls. By cutting open the bread roll on the top rather than on the sides and dropping the meats within, Lunch Rolls has a catchy, modest gimmick to attract on-the-goers, but it will likely maintain a long-term fanbase through high-quality ingredients, obscure, unorthodox sandwich offerings, and the feel-good hits of the past 60 years (a welcome alternative to the usual top 40, lite rock or muzak).
Lunch Rolls has no completely conventional offerings; the Italian meatball sandwich with marinara and provolone and the BBQ beef brisket may be the most typical selections on the menu. There's no ham, no club, no BLT, and even the roasted turkey is unexpectedly served packed with stuffing and gravy, like a Thanksgiving meal crammed into a wheat roll. Instead, Lunch Rolls tries its hand with smoked whitefish lined with honey mustard vinaigrette, or Moroccan lamb with Israeli cous cous (all rolls are $6.29). A hodgepodge of classy yet simple sides like mac & cheese, jambalaya or banana bread pudding make nice complements for $2.49.
Occupying the space of the former organic-friendly Spa Cafe, the owners have transformed the room with retro decor and smiling, '50s vintage caricatures telling customers to "Roll with it!" Service is prompt and friendly, and when combined with the oldies, its a pleasant experience, even if a teensy bit pricier than Subway or Potbelly.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Andy Seifert