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  • Brown Sack

    Post #1 - September 14th, 2008, 11:16 am
    Post #1 - September 14th, 2008, 11:16 am Post #1 - September 14th, 2008, 11:16 am
    Image

    I think it's time to recognize the Brown Sack as a Great Neighborhood Restaurant. Not only do they turn out consistently good and inventive sandwiches, soups, and malts; they've also set up shop in relatively uncharted culinary territory, on an underpopulated stretch of Armitage between west Logan Square and west Humboldt Park. The fact that Malaika has sustained a successful, consistent business in an area with very little foot traffic is testament to the quality of her food and appeal of the space itself. Come to think of it, I may just pop over for a shrimp BLT and hand-dipped mocha shake as soon as I finish this nomination.

    The Brown Sack has been mentioned in several threads, but perhaps most notably here: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=12160&hilit=brown+sack. It was also noted on the Best Sandwich in Chicago thread just last week: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=3499&p=215396&hilit=brown+sack#p215396.

    The Brown Sack
    3581 W Belden Ave
    Chicago, IL 60647
    773-661-0675
    (address as of 8.4.10)
  • Post #2 - September 14th, 2008, 6:30 pm
    Post #2 - September 14th, 2008, 6:30 pm Post #2 - September 14th, 2008, 6:30 pm
    I'm happy to second this nomination. I've only been three times, but was impressed each time. The shrimp BLT is a wonder. Okay, so there are only a handful of shrimp and I wouldn't complain if it had more avocado - - but it's just $6! And, I know of nowhere else that I can get such a great sloppy joe with a tasty pile of hot peppers. You can tell that they really care about the quality of the ingredients.

    The prices are reasonable, the service is patient, accommodating, and friendly, and street parking is plentiful. Sure, your order can take awhile, especially when there are several other diners. But, that's because the food is made fresh to order. Don't go there if you're in a hurry. I've waited 15-20 minutes for food. I recommend a visit with good company or some reading material.

    In an attempt to keep this board family-friendly, I will resist commenting on the unfortunate name of this restaurant.

    [edited for spelling]
  • Post #3 - September 15th, 2008, 7:56 am
    Post #3 - September 15th, 2008, 7:56 am Post #3 - September 15th, 2008, 7:56 am
    If there was a way of handing out a special GNR (a GNR++ or something to that effect), I'd give it to The Brown Sack. Consider the elements:

    -Friendly proprietress who has a history of keeping neighborhood denizens happy (managing Lula Cafe).
    -Darn good straightforward comfort food, made from scratch.
    -Unique dishes that go a step beyond your regular soup and sandwich counter (Shrimp and avocado BLT is one sandwich that I frequently crave).
    -Plenty of interesting daily specials like pozole and spicy sloppy joes.
    -Hand-dipped shakes and malts.
    -Homemade desserts.

    Drop it all in a neighborhood that has plenty of culinary dead-zones, add a counter-man who knows his customers by name, and a delivery service and you've got a top-notch GNR.

    In a short time, The Brown Sack has tightly woven itself into its neighborhood, serving up top-notch real food every day.

    Great nomination.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #4 - September 16th, 2008, 7:12 am
    Post #4 - September 16th, 2008, 7:12 am Post #4 - September 16th, 2008, 7:12 am
    eatchicago wrote:In a short time, The Brown Sack has tightly woven itself into its neighborhood, serving up top-notch real food every day.

    Though I haven't been often each time at the Brown Sack has been memorable and delicious. Gracious friendly owners who don't mind posing for a picture and fresh flavorful well prepared food.

    Nice nomination, I think I'll go there for lunch this week.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #5 - September 16th, 2008, 7:21 am
    Post #5 - September 16th, 2008, 7:21 am Post #5 - September 16th, 2008, 7:21 am
    Don't go yesterday, that's my advice.

    (Closed Monday, found out the hard way)
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  • Post #6 - September 16th, 2008, 7:22 am
    Post #6 - September 16th, 2008, 7:22 am Post #6 - September 16th, 2008, 7:22 am
    Mike G wrote:Don't go yesterday, that's my advice.

    If I could go yesterday today I wouldn't have to worry about them being open. 8)
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #7 - September 20th, 2008, 3:53 pm
    Post #7 - September 20th, 2008, 3:53 pm Post #7 - September 20th, 2008, 3:53 pm
    I support this nomination, and would like to add that Brown Sack arguably has the best "neighborhood feel" out of all the other nominations. I've been going there every couple weeks for the past year, and always get treated like family. They are soooo nice; but not in that way that reeks of costumer service protocol just to make a buck.
    "We eat slowly and with gusto." - Paul Bäumer in AQOTWF
  • Post #8 - September 23rd, 2008, 9:34 am
    Post #8 - September 23rd, 2008, 9:34 am Post #8 - September 23rd, 2008, 9:34 am
    Sweetbread wrote:I support this nomination, and would like to add that Brown Sack arguably has the best "neighborhood feel" out of all the other nominations. I've been going there every couple weeks for the past year, and always get treated like family. They are soooo nice; but not in that way that reeks of costumer service protocol just to make a buck.


    Agree - it's a great place to bring a kid, even though the seating is limited. I've tried a lot of the menu and have liked everything. As noted before, almost everything is cooked in-house, and those shakes are tremendous. Great place.
  • Post #9 - September 25th, 2008, 6:35 am
    Post #9 - September 25th, 2008, 6:35 am Post #9 - September 25th, 2008, 6:35 am
    The Brown Sack continues to turn out great food in a friendly environment day in and day out. I had lunch there the other day and tried the shrimp and avocado BLT. Wow, what a sandwich. It's a double barrel shot of treif that has immediately moved to the top of my must have sandwich list. I strongly support Brown Sack for a GNR.

    Brown Sack Shrimp Avocado BLT
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #10 - September 25th, 2008, 12:55 pm
    Post #10 - September 25th, 2008, 12:55 pm Post #10 - September 25th, 2008, 12:55 pm
    I stopped by yesterday - same seat as stevez, I think. Thanks to the hint about the pozole above, I started there:

    Image

    Some of the most flavorful I've had in the city, using pork ribs smoked on the premises, vegetable-rich stock, and lots of fresh cilantro. Bravo. Moved on to the avocado BLT with Goose Island root beer (good selection by those that stock the fridge):

    Image

    Even better than the sandwich with its half-cup of mayo was the mustard and dill-laced scratch potato salad.

    Everything about this place reflects good taste and neighborhood values. The sidewalk tables, chalkboard menus, interior seating, and kitchen are ever so clean and well laid-out, the staff welcoming, the food reasonably priced, I loved everything about it.

    Great nomination. Enthusiastically supported for GNR.
  • Post #11 - October 1st, 2008, 8:43 pm
    Post #11 - October 1st, 2008, 8:43 pm Post #11 - October 1st, 2008, 8:43 pm
    I heartily endorse this excellent nomination! :)

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #12 - October 5th, 2008, 8:38 am
    Post #12 - October 5th, 2008, 8:38 am Post #12 - October 5th, 2008, 8:38 am
    I agree.

    The Brown Sack is a friendly place you'd want to hang out in even if they didn't serve food. Fortunately they have delicious and creative food that you just can't find elsewhere.

    It is definitely a place worthy of recognition.

    Jamie
  • Post #13 - October 10th, 2008, 4:48 pm
    Post #13 - October 10th, 2008, 4:48 pm Post #13 - October 10th, 2008, 4:48 pm
    Hi,

    Last Saturday evening, I brought a friend to dine at Brown Sack. We went through a number of appetizers, some breakfast items and shared an entree. Our thought was to order another entree, if we had any room left. Whatever room we may have had went to the oatmeal shake, that could be the highest fiber drink I ever enjoyed. The total bill less tip was around $18.

    I finally had the thrill of meeting of LTH'r swinedining whose smoker rig was processing 20 pork butts. Brown Sack had a number of slabs of pork spares smoking for their Tuesday special of posole in the side chamber. Brown Sack also obtains their pulled pork from swinedining. If I were in the neighborhood, I would have been back this week for these specials.

    The couple who own and operate Brown Sack couldn't be any friendlier. I didn't disclose I was from LTH, because I almost never do. However, once I met swinedining who knew me on sight, I mentioned I came because of LTH. The wife's eyes lit up, she said LTH has been very supportive of their business and it was greatly appreciated. The feeling is mutual, this is certainly a place one could see as a GNR.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #14 - October 11th, 2008, 9:34 am
    Post #14 - October 11th, 2008, 9:34 am Post #14 - October 11th, 2008, 9:34 am
    I ordered a really wonderful Corned Beef "Reuben" Sandwich at Brown Sack - the quotation marks come from their using fried onions rather than the canonical sauerkraut. The apple slaw was excellent as was the almond bark cookie. I can't think of any better place to buy a standard sandwich - although of course this was no standard sandwich.

    I support the nomination.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #15 - October 15th, 2008, 4:08 pm
    Post #15 - October 15th, 2008, 4:08 pm Post #15 - October 15th, 2008, 4:08 pm
    My love of The Brown Sack is well known. Had I not been out of town for the last several months I would have nominated Adam and Malaika's place in this GNR round myself. This place is my great neighborhood restaurant what with is being about a mile from my apartment. Yes, there are places that are more gimmicky and "imaginative", but virtually none that turn out food this honest, consistent, and simply fulfilling. That absolutely everything is made from scratch by two of the most hospitable people in the business only makes The Brown Sack better...
  • Post #16 - October 15th, 2008, 4:24 pm
    Post #16 - October 15th, 2008, 4:24 pm Post #16 - October 15th, 2008, 4:24 pm
    Stagger wrote:My love of The Brown Sack is well known.


    I didn't agree with Ronnie until now, but this is indeed one of the worst restaurant names in Chicago.


    ...


    But a worthy candidate for GNR. I was back again last week for the sloppy joe - just about the paragon of its class.
  • Post #17 - October 15th, 2008, 5:01 pm
    Post #17 - October 15th, 2008, 5:01 pm Post #17 - October 15th, 2008, 5:01 pm
    Santander wrote:
    Stagger wrote:My love of The Brown Sack is well known.


    I didn't agree with Ronnie until now, but this is indeed one of the worst restaurant names in Chicago.


    Cue up the snare drum crash... Children... :twisted:
  • Post #18 - October 15th, 2008, 6:05 pm
    Post #18 - October 15th, 2008, 6:05 pm Post #18 - October 15th, 2008, 6:05 pm
    Santander wrote: I didn't agree with Ronnie until now, but this is indeed one of the worst restaurant names in Chicago.


    They could change their name to Big Buns and Pita.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #19 - October 15th, 2008, 9:21 pm
    Post #19 - October 15th, 2008, 9:21 pm Post #19 - October 15th, 2008, 9:21 pm
    GAF wrote:
    Santander wrote: I didn't agree with Ronnie until now, but this is indeed one of the worst restaurant names in Chicago.


    They could change their name to Big Buns and Pita.


    In my mind, the short-lived "Feed the Beast" in Lincoln Square wins this prize.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #20 - March 20th, 2010, 11:43 am
    Post #20 - March 20th, 2010, 11:43 am Post #20 - March 20th, 2010, 11:43 am
    Every neighborhood should have a Brown Sack!

    I adore this place. I'm not even a sandwich eater but I kid you not they make the best sandwich I've ever had and they do so consistently. Fried sweet plantains with black beans, grilled onion, lettuce, swiss cheese, avocado, tomato, giardiniera (preferably seebee's) with the spicy coleslaw placed on the sandwich. Plus hands down it is still the best vanilla milkshake in the city.

    I've had the pleasure of taking friends there who love the food and this tiny unassuming spot maybe in the middle of not much but it's always worthy of the journey to get there.

    The Brown Sack's GNR should be renewed.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #21 - March 20th, 2010, 12:27 pm
    Post #21 - March 20th, 2010, 12:27 pm Post #21 - March 20th, 2010, 12:27 pm
    I too love the creative veggie sandwich and to me the best milkshakes in the city (blueberry especially).

    This is an obvious renewal.
  • Post #22 - March 21st, 2010, 9:05 am
    Post #22 - March 21st, 2010, 9:05 am Post #22 - March 21st, 2010, 9:05 am
    A delightful place making a range of different sandwiches (from unhealthy Chicago classics, to what I call California healthy deli variations) well executed with high quality ingredients.

    Brown Sack is very geographically inconvenient for a western suburbanite like me, but worthy of a trip on its own. If there were only a place like this nearby.

    Nice people, too.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #23 - March 22nd, 2010, 10:27 pm
    Post #23 - March 22nd, 2010, 10:27 pm Post #23 - March 22nd, 2010, 10:27 pm
    In addition to great sandwiches and lovely hosts, Brown Sack makes one of my favorite chocolate malts in the city. A hearty yes from me on the GNR renewal.
  • Post #24 - March 24th, 2010, 6:24 pm
    Post #24 - March 24th, 2010, 6:24 pm Post #24 - March 24th, 2010, 6:24 pm
    Wow! I just love everything about this place. I've never had anything here that I didn't love. The food is awesome, the vibe is wonderful and Adam and Malaika -- the folks who own/run it -- are spectacular. A great GNR, easily worthy of renewal, in my book. :)

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #25 - March 25th, 2010, 6:45 am
    Post #25 - March 25th, 2010, 6:45 am Post #25 - March 25th, 2010, 6:45 am
    pairs4life wrote:...giardiniera (preferably seebee's)


    The second time I went to the Brown Sack, I knew they were worthy of my homemade giardiniera. When I was done eating, I went to the counter, and asked Adam if they would be interested, and that I had no interest in charging them any $ for it. I just wanted to offer them a little bit of thanks in giardiniera form because it is so rare is it to find places that actually care about the food they are preparing like this. I hope they never succumb to the lure of cheap foodservice glop soups, or cheap sugar laden Orville Kent, or Reser's potato salad / coleslaw abominations. Seebee's giardiniera should return to the Brown Sack near the end of this summer when the peppers are in. This place IS a GNR.
    Renewal please.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #26 - March 26th, 2010, 4:20 am
    Post #26 - March 26th, 2010, 4:20 am Post #26 - March 26th, 2010, 4:20 am
    seebee wrote:
    pairs4life wrote:...giardiniera (preferably seebee's)


    The second time I went to the Brown Sack, I knew they were worthy of my homemade giardiniera. When I was done eating, I went to the counter, and asked Adam if they would be interested, and that I had no interest in charging them any $ for it. I just wanted to offer them a little bit of thanks in giardiniera form because it is so rare is it to find places that actually care about the food they are preparing like this. I hope they never succumb to the lure of cheap foodservice glop soups, or cheap sugar laden Orville Kent, or Reser's potato salad / coleslaw abominations. Seebee's giardiniera should return to the Brown Sack near the end of this summer when the peppers are in. This place IS a GNR.
    Renewal please.


    You do know they have a nickname for me,even when a friend calls in my order don't you? I'm the seebee's girl. :mrgreen:
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #27 - April 1st, 2010, 12:09 am
    Post #27 - April 1st, 2010, 12:09 am Post #27 - April 1st, 2010, 12:09 am
    LTH,

    I don't get to Brown Sack often, but when I do it's memorable for both the deliciousness of the food and warmth of the owners.

    Brown Sack, count me a fan!

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow

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