A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.

A Sandwich a Day: Fried Fish Sandwich from Cellars Market in Chicago

In this great country of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around the country. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.

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[Photograph: D.H. Lee]

Tucked away in the windowless basement of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT)
is a cafeteria known as Cellar's Market. Even though it's in the basement of the CBOT, it's open to the public and often frequented by office workers in the vicinity. I heard about it from some excited coworkers who were looking for variety in their lunch options. Contrary to popular belief, we don't eat deep-dish pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, and Italian beef every day. That we'd admit.

Whoever thought of the name "Cellars Market" is probably still proud of themselves, in a sad sort of way. If you're hungry, go for their fish sandwich, served on a commercial sesame-seed bun. First they delicately place the bottom half of the bun in a styrofoam container, then put a heap of lightly battered fish on top. When you think they're done, they put three times as much on top of that.

You can barely close the lid and that's when the rush of emotions hits you.

First you laugh, then you cry, then you laugh again, kind of like the first time you watched Golden Girls. It's just so...zany.

Sometimes food in that quantity indicates that it might be terrible, but in this case, you'd be wrong. The edges of the fish are crisp and the light batter gives the sole those crunchy bits you want in any battered food. Squeeze a healthy dose of lemon on it, grab some tartar sauce, and feed a family of three. Or in my case, an out-of-control eatbeast who can't stop himself.

Sadly, the sandwich is only available on Wednesdays and Fridays, but Cellars Market has specials every day, including liver and onions, for those of you who eat like 80 year olds.

And if you feel guilty, there's a great salad bar there too. But you know you really want the sandwich.

Cellars Market

141 W Jackson Blvd, Lower Level, Chicago IL 60604 (map)
312-427-3444

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