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New Sustainable ‘Sandwich Me In’ Restaurant in Lakeview East

Jun 24, 2012 06:56PM ● By Martin Miron

Justin Vrany has opened a new casual dining, quick-service restaurant, Sandwich Me In, at 3037 North Clark Street, between Halsted and Wellington, in Chicago. “This is a good time to introduce a healthy, zero-waste restaurant to a neighborhood like Lakeview,” says Vrany.

Implementing his research of 15 years, the new venue includes a bevy of sustainable options. Ingredients are locally sourced as much as possible. All dine-in meals are served on washable dishes. Carryout orders are minimally packaged in recyclable containers and packaging for restaurant supplies and food containers is recycled at local centers. Recycling containers are located in the restaurant for waste, most of which is composted. Vrany says he plans to use the  compost in plots to grow vegetables for the restaurant.

Sandwich Me In makes all of their food in house, from the freshly baked breads and rolls to soups, sandwiches, veggie burgers and beverages. Meats, vegetables and even condiments are sourced from local farms such as Gunthorp Farms (LaGrange, Indiana), Quarter Circle Seven Ranch (Marengo) and LocalFolks Foods (Sheridan, Indiana). Specialties of the house include a pulled pork sandwich that is smoked for 13 hours, lathered in Vrany’s homemade barbeque sauce and served up on a blackstrap molasses wheat roll. Another customer favorite is the homemade vegan black bean and brown rice burger with whole grain mustard, says Vrany.

Interested in becoming a chef since he was a kid, Vrany explains, “We have no other choice than to start teaching our fellow friends, families and neighbors about what our current food system, energy system and waste system is doing to our health and environment. I have created a restaurant that is environmentally sound and the food is delicious.”

He states, “Our electrical energy is completely powered by wind and all of our used oil is recycled in biodiesel engines. All of the furniture and equipment in the restaurant is either used or refurbished.” He estimates that these measures have lowered the restaurant’s carbon footprint by about 85 percent of that of typical quick-service restaurant. But he says, “We are not going to stop until we are at 100 percent.”

There’s acoustic music on weekends and local musicians are invited to stop by and play.

For more information, call 773-348-3037 or visit