What makes a good loaf of bread? To purveyors skilled in the art of baking the yeasty comestible—patience. That's the motto at Red Hen Bread, a Chicago-based bakery that's been providing freshly-baked goods to city folk and many of their favorite restaurants for nearly two decades. Given the role bread plays in sandwich making and Red Hen's place atop the list of Chicago's bread providers, it's hard to figure out why it's taken us sandwich bloggers so long to check this place out. Yet here we are, more than four months after the Chicago site's launch with nay a Red Hen sandwich post. No longer.
As another Serious Eats contributor wrote nearly three years ago, Red Hen Bread's specialty is it's ability "to pair each ingredient with a particular type of bread." Take for example the bakery's chicken pesto sandwich ($7.95). Thick slices of house-marinated chicken breast are cushioned between two pieces of freshly baked-in-house Italian country bread, a crispy on the outside/chewy on the inside loaf that's light and airy, leaving room for bolder flavors. Provolone cheese, red onion slivers, tomato slices, and romaine lettuce are sprinkled in between for garnish. Basil pesto is then spread on thick for that garlicky, pine-nutty taste. With two locations in the city and another outpost in the west suburbs, seekers of Red Hen's goods needn't travel far.