Serious Eats: Chicago
A Sandwich a Day: Sandwich Cubano at La Unica Food Mart
Editor's Note: I'm excited to announce that we have another new intern on the team. Nathan Lurz lives on the far North Side, and for his first sandwich post, he decided to write about one his favorite finds in the area.
The Rogers Park/Edgewater border is one of the most diverse parts of Chicago, and it shows in the local cuisine. To get to one of its better sandwiches, however, you have to go a little further than what you see on storefronts. La Unica Food Mart, a local grocery store, houses a cafeteria behind the rows of produce that serves a varied menu made up of Cuban, Peruvian, Mexican and Colombian food. There obviously aren't a lot of frills here, but the execution is solid and comforting.
I had heard raves about the Cubano ($4.99), that iconic combination of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on crusty toasted Cuban bread. When broken down individually, La Unica's ingredients weren't especially notable. The quantity of creamy Swiss cheese was a bit overwhelming, and the ham kind of blends in with the rest of the sandwich. Sometimes the smokiness of the (kind of chewy) roasted pork was also muted.
But when it all comes together, it's easy to overlook the flaws. It's warm, cheesy, porky, and chewy. And for $4.99, that's all it really needs to be.
La Unica Food Mart
1515 West Devon Avenue, Chicago, IL 60660 (map)