A Sandwich a Day: The Woody Allen at Eleven City Diner

A Sandwich a Day

Reviews of Chicago sandwiches.

Editor's Note: In this great city 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 Windy City. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know


[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Eleven City Diner lists two "standards" on its sandwich menu of deli classics: pastrami and corned beef. Which should you order? Both are prepared in house and have their ardent local supporters. Plus, since each ridiculously over-sized sandwich is large enough to feed a family of four, ordering both is just a tad excessive. Luckily, there is a man named Woody Allen, and in honor of his Oscar win last night for Best Original Screenplay, I think it's the perfect time to celebrate his equally important sandwich contribution.

While shooting a scene for Broadway Danny Rose at the Carnegie Deli in New York, the shop created The Woody Allen, a gargantuan creation, which, as the menu explains, contains "lotsa corned beef plus lotsa pastrami." Eleven City Diner then had the good common sense to bring the sandwich to Chicago when it opened a few years ago.

The Woody Allen ($12.99) features corned beef and pastrami layered between three slices of rye bread. The first bite is an absolute indulgence, with the smoky ribbons of peppery pastrami playing off the leaner and more subtly favored corned beef. But by the second bite you'll probably do what I did, and remove one of the slices of bread and one of the fillings to create one only slightly massive sandwich. Which filling wins in the end? Though the corned beef is admirable, I do have a weakness for the pastrami, and this version is one of the best in the city.

Eleven City Diner

1112 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605 (map)