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It’s too cold for cold cuts. This time of year, we stick to a strict hot-sandwiches-only policy; and our quest for the meltiest, most decadent meals between two slices has led us all over the city. Here, ten steamy sandwiches you should try before spring.


West Loop

Spicy giardiniera gives the hearty meatball sub ($8.50) at newcomer Nonna’s Sandwiches & Sundries a crunchy kick. 925 W. Randolph St.

/images/articles/La Sirena Clandestina

Fulton Market

The Fugazzetta panini ($11, lunch only) at La Sirena Clandestina is a next-level grilled cheese oozing with mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone and melted onions--and it’s served with tomato soup, of course. 954 W. Fulton Market

/images/articles/Chop Shop

Wicker Park

Chop Shop's ode to slow-roasted beef is served on crusty Turano bakery bread with a side of housemade au jus for dipping--the family recipe is three generations old. 2033 W. North Ave.

/images/articles/The Happ Inn


The Happ Inn’s tilapia sliders ($9.50 for three, shown at center) are a great balance of texture with their lightly breaded fish, crunchy slaw, creamy chipotle mayo and crisp onions. 305 Happ Rd., Northfield

/images/articles/County BBQ

University Village

Simple and saucy, the MK rib sandwich ($10) at County BBQ needs only a pile of pickles to contrast with its super-tender chunks of St. Louis-style rib meat. 1352 W. Taylor St.

/images/articles/Bar Toma

Gold Coast

He had us at “pizza dough sandwich.” Chef Tony Mantuano’s calzone-like creations ($11) at Bar Toma come stuffed with meatballs, chicken or veggies, and they take on a smoky finish after being baked in the restaurant’s wood-burning oven. 110 E. Pearson St.

/images/articles/Crosby's Kitchen


We’d eat breakfast at any time of day if it were Crosby’s Kitchen’s classically great fried-egg sandwich with cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and red onions on soft marble rye. 3455 N. Southport Ave.

/images/articles/Marion Street Market

Oak Park

Who says a sandwich needs meat? Marion Street Market makes a crave-worthy melt ($10) with gently fried cauliflower, sweet honey and curry aioli, tart apple bits and a layer of Somerset cheddar cheese. 100 S. Marion St., Oak Park


Mag Mile

The lunch menu at our new favorite Michigan Avenue mega-restaurant, Labriola, has a fabulous short-rib sandwich ($15) on a fresh-baked baguette with house-made giardiniera, caramelized onions and rich taleggio cheese. 535 N. Michigan Ave.

/images/articles/The Gage

The Loop

The lunchtime smoked salmon BLT ($16) at our go-to pre-symphony restaurant, The Gage, bursts with the cool and salty contrasts of a pile of crisp bacon, dill-marinated cucumbers and caper aioli. 24 S. Michigan Ave.

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