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  • The Brown Sack

    Post #1 - March 1st, 2007, 10:33 am
    Post #1 - March 1st, 2007, 10:33 am Post #1 - March 1st, 2007, 10:33 am
    Anybody been to this spot:

    The Brown Sack
    3581 W Belden Ave
    Chicago, IL 60647
    (773) 661-0675
    (address as of 8.4.10)

    Stopped by yesterday and had a nice grilled cheese and tomato soup lunch. I think it is run by someone who used to work at Lula's.

    Menu focuses mainly on sandwiches and soups.
  • Post #2 - March 1st, 2007, 12:10 pm
    Post #2 - March 1st, 2007, 12:10 pm Post #2 - March 1st, 2007, 12:10 pm
    Malaika, who used to be the day manager at Lula Cafe, now runs the Brown Sack-- a "soup, sandwich and shake shack."

    It is a friendly neighborhoody joint. Ultra-non-pretentious. I've had some very good sandwiches (grilled peanutbutter and banana, corned beef reuben, meatball sandwich), wonderful home-made mac and cheese, and the chili is very good. They have gotten some positive press recently and tend to be out of some things when I go. Oh, and they deliver!
  • Post #3 - March 1st, 2007, 3:23 pm
    Post #3 - March 1st, 2007, 3:23 pm Post #3 - March 1st, 2007, 3:23 pm
    I had a great soup (chicken dumpling) and sandwich (roast turkey on rye) combo at the Brown Sack recently, but what really won the day was the mocha shake. Even on a cold afternoon, we were fighting each other for sips.

    The Brown Sack is off the beaten path, but seems to be hopping so far. A light dinner at the Brown sack followed by cocktails at Weegee's (beautifully renovated neighborhood bar at corner of Armitage and Lawndale) makes for a nice little evening.
  • Post #4 - March 2nd, 2007, 10:59 am
    Post #4 - March 2nd, 2007, 10:59 am Post #4 - March 2nd, 2007, 10:59 am
    The combination of The Brown Sack and Weegee's is a great thing.

    This could give The Continental and Feed a run for the money.
  • Post #5 - March 2nd, 2007, 1:04 pm
    Post #5 - March 2nd, 2007, 1:04 pm Post #5 - March 2nd, 2007, 1:04 pm
    Is the Brown Sack still closing at 7pm? I'd love to do the dinner/Weegee's thing, but I can't ever make it in time. I hope they expand their hours a bit...
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #6 - March 2nd, 2007, 1:07 pm
    Post #6 - March 2nd, 2007, 1:07 pm Post #6 - March 2nd, 2007, 1:07 pm
    I hear they're going to stay open later starting in the spring.
  • Post #7 - March 17th, 2007, 6:44 pm
    Post #7 - March 17th, 2007, 6:44 pm Post #7 - March 17th, 2007, 6:44 pm
    Had a terrific lunch at The Brown Sack today. Spicy sloppy joe for me and a BLT with some creamy tomato soup for Cookie.

    The sloppy joe was on the special board and could have used more heat for my taste, but I really like the idea of sloppy joe with minced fresh jalapeno. It was served with a melted slice of American cheese on a hamburger roll and I ate every last bit. The BLT was darn tasty too and the flavorful soup tasted like it was made with care.

    The Brown Sack has a great lunch-counter menu, nice specials, and a good array of desserts, shakes, and malts. Even a cup of tootsie pops on every table.

    This is definitely the kind of place that every neighborhood needs: A friendly lunch-counter with good soups and sandwiches and an owner that's interested enough to offer different daily specials. The Brown Sack has landed straight at the heart of my list of recommended simple, good-tasting lunch spots.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #8 - March 18th, 2007, 5:15 pm
    Post #8 - March 18th, 2007, 5:15 pm Post #8 - March 18th, 2007, 5:15 pm
    The chocolate/banana shake from the Brown Sack is divine.
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #9 - March 19th, 2007, 9:26 am
    Post #9 - March 19th, 2007, 9:26 am Post #9 - March 19th, 2007, 9:26 am
    I ate there a few weeks ago. They make great sandwiches. Good black bean chili also. This one is definately going to be visted often.
    I'm not Angry, I'm hungry.
  • Post #10 - April 8th, 2007, 9:25 am
    Post #10 - April 8th, 2007, 9:25 am Post #10 - April 8th, 2007, 9:25 am
    I had lunch at The Brown Sack yesterday and I'll echo what others have said. The Brown Sack is a nice unpretentious little "soup, sandwich & shake shack" that serves a very limited menu and does it well.

    The Brown Sack Interior
    Image

    Although it resembles a typical Chicago dog/burger stand, neither of those items are on their menu, but that is what sets TBS apart. I started with a bowl of chicken dumpling noodle soup. The toothsome dumpling noodles were an interesting touch. The soup was well put together, but lacked any sort of deep homemade taste. Perhaps it was semi-homemade?

    Chicken Dumpling Noodle Soup
    Image

    Like eatchicago, I had the spicy sloppy joe, which now appears on the regular menu. I also thought it could have used a bit more jalapeños, but overall it was a damn fine version of a sloppy joe and was obviously home made. I accompanied my sandwich with a chocolate malt, served in an old-school cardboard cup.

    Spicy Sloppy Joe
    Image
    Chocolate Malt
    Image

    This is a nice little spot for the neighborhood. Although it's not my neighborhood, I'd stop in again if I'm in the area and looking for a light lunch. They also deliver between Division & Diversey from Cicero on the west to Western on the east.

    The Brown Sack
    3706 W. Armitage Ave
    Chicago, IL
    773-661-0675
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #11 - April 17th, 2007, 3:03 pm
    Post #11 - April 17th, 2007, 3:03 pm Post #11 - April 17th, 2007, 3:03 pm
    does anyone know where they get the pastrami from, or do they cure it in house? had a pastrami reuben today that was the juciest i've ever had. how badly do i want them to do well! anyway they could expand the chip selection a little, go obscure like zapps, and we'd be in business. girlfriend had an oreo shake that had a great consistancy too. I'll be back frequently.
  • Post #12 - May 9th, 2007, 11:22 am
    Post #12 - May 9th, 2007, 11:22 am Post #12 - May 9th, 2007, 11:22 am
    A darned nice little GenX Reuben

    Image

    Having failed in my last attempt to roam the Bucktown-and-points-south-and-west world and discover wonderfulness, I actually looked up the address of a place this time, just in case: Brown Sack.

    I thought about the soup and sandwich combo but it was a mite warm out for soup. So, logically, I ordered a hot, heavy sandwich instead. Frankly, given Brown Sack's mellow GenX vibe, I should have considered a real reuben beyond their likely capabilities and feared dry, ultra-lean or even fakey corned beef (I did make sure the word "turkey" was nowhere to be found near it on the menu).

    But it actually came out very nicely. Not glopped up with excessive thousand island or cheese; entirely decent, not too lean and dry corned beef; and, the best part of the sandwich, what seemed to be homemade sauerkraut, thickly cut, a little peppery, fresh-tasting (I know that's a contradiction with sauerkraut, but that's how it came off compared to the canned variety). A very pleasant sandwich, and Brown Sack is a very friendly neighborhood place I wish well and will be back to.

    Image
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  • Post #13 - May 9th, 2007, 11:40 am
    Post #13 - May 9th, 2007, 11:40 am Post #13 - May 9th, 2007, 11:40 am
    I believe the sauerkraut you're referring to is actually grilled onions. When I went there several weeks ago the chalkboard menu listed the word "Reuben" in quotes and mentioned grilled onions. At first glance your picture seems to show that this sandwich hasn't changed.

    Ditto on all the positive reviews for this place. It's hard to beat their prices, and the sandwiches and soups are great comfort food. One minor quibble is that I've found the soups to be served at a lower temperature than I'd like, but I complain about that at most places. The mocha shake is also delicious. Last time I was there several people ordered the mac and cheese. Though I haven't had it, I'd be willing to bet that the Brown Sack's mac is pretty good.

    Does anybody know if they've set up outdoor tables and/or extended their hours? Last time I was there they were talking about staying open until 9pm when the weather got nice.
  • Post #14 - May 9th, 2007, 3:49 pm
    Post #14 - May 9th, 2007, 3:49 pm Post #14 - May 9th, 2007, 3:49 pm
    I believe the sauerkraut you're referring to is actually grilled onions.


    Um... :oops: yes, I suppose it could be, which would account for the lack of a strong cabbagey taste and the, er, coarse cut. It didn't have a strong oniony taste either, but I'd buy it as onions cooked in a fair amount of liquid (not fried although you can see a few browned bits). It never occurred to me while eating it to think of it as some other species entirely, though.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #15 - July 6th, 2007, 8:22 pm
    Post #15 - July 6th, 2007, 8:22 pm Post #15 - July 6th, 2007, 8:22 pm
    LTH,

    I'll echo the positive Brown Sack comments, in particular Geli's praise for the chocolate/banana shake. I only had a small sip, Hammond was kind enough to give me a taste, but the flavor still echos.

    Image

    Adam and Malaika, the owners, are quite nice, and very customer interactive, Malaika never batted an eye at my somewhat ditzy order of pastrami, roast beef, turkey, slaw, 1000 Island dressing on marble rye.

    Adam, Malaika
    Image

    Pastrami, turkey, roast beef, slaw, 1000 Island Dressing on Marble Rye
    Image

    Outdoor seating, comfortable and spotless inside with, possibly, the cleanest bathroom I have seen outside of my sister in-law Rita's house.

    Image

    Only slight wrinkle were the two ruffians slurping soup at a corner table. :)

    Steve Z, Hammond
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #16 - July 6th, 2007, 11:22 pm
    Post #16 - July 6th, 2007, 11:22 pm Post #16 - July 6th, 2007, 11:22 pm
    G Wiv wrote:Image


    I can't remember the last time I had a malt with lunch, but this one was, indeed, excellent tasting (though flawed, from an engineering standpoint, in that the clumps of banana predictably clogged the straw).

    I liked the French onion soup a great deal, though my sloppy joe lacked tang, and one gets the uncomfortable feeling that "hot" sandwiches are basically microwaved and slotted onto toast. Not bad, but not world class.

    Hammond
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #17 - July 10th, 2007, 10:14 pm
    Post #17 - July 10th, 2007, 10:14 pm Post #17 - July 10th, 2007, 10:14 pm
    I was in with my visiting mother the day after Gary was there. Had a great quick lunch at 3:30 of a shared Ruben, slaw, corn bread, and a shake for me and a malt for her. After lunch I spoke with Adam and Malaika and mentioned that they were getting some good press on LTH. They seemed somewhat aware of the site (but certainly remembered Gary's visit the day before :twisted: ) and promised to check it out. I can't support this place strongly enough. Good, simple, honest food made by similar folks. While it may not be a GNR spot (due to not having a unique angle or niche), it is nevertheless a great restaurant for the neighborhood.

    Edit: To clarify, they (Adam and Malaika) really enjoyed the LTH folks and attention. I'd say that the mention of the forums would probably get ya a little extra love! :wink:
  • Post #18 - August 8th, 2007, 9:30 am
    Post #18 - August 8th, 2007, 9:30 am Post #18 - August 8th, 2007, 9:30 am
    Another day, another trip to what is quickly becoming my favorite neighborhood spot. As I have said before, I don't know if they have a unique enough "hook" for a GNR but I will probably throw my nomination in anyway as they are, in fact, a unique establishment in our fair 'hood. Also their willingness to try new things and accommodate any request, no matter how outlandish, scores high marks with me.

    Snapped a few pics on the last visit. Of particular interest is the shrimp & avocado BLT. I'm calling it the Kosher special. No matter what you call it, it worked wonderfully!

    Kitchen at work. I love that the restaurant was purposely designed so that the kitchen is the same size as the dining area!
    Image


    The ever lovely Malaika at work making fresh sammys from scratch. Is she never not smiling!?!
    Image

    A study in Strawberry Shake.
    Image


    The awesome shrimp & avocado BLT on grilled rye. Wish my pic did more justice.
    Image
  • Post #19 - August 13th, 2007, 2:47 pm
    Post #19 - August 13th, 2007, 2:47 pm Post #19 - August 13th, 2007, 2:47 pm
    Stagger wrote:Another day, another trip to what is quickly becoming my favorite neighborhood spot. As I have said before, I don't know if they have a unique enough "hook" for a GNR but I will probably throw my nomination in anyway as they are, in fact, a unique establishment in our fair 'hood. Also their willingness to try new things and accommodate any request, no matter how outlandish, scores high marks with me.

    Snapped a few pics on the last visit. Of particular interest is the shrimp & avocado BLT. I'm calling it the Kosher special. No matter what you call it, it worked wonderfully!



    The mellon-hubby and I were at the Brown Sack on Sunday afternoon for a nice quick lunch. I had the aforementioned Kosher Special (BLT with avocado and shrimp) and mellon-hubby had the Ruben.

    BLT on the marble rye was good and juicy but not watery. Nicely toasted bread and a good smear of mayo. But it was the shrimp and avocado that put it over the top...this was a winner of a sandwich if i ever had one.

    Mellon-hubby reports that the Ruben was nicely done with good corned beef (read: not dry). He also liked the seemingly home-made thousand island like dressing. But the red wine marinated onion instead of kraut made the sandwich special.

    Will definately be giving the Brown Sack a spot at the top of the list for lunches!
  • Post #20 - August 22nd, 2007, 7:45 pm
    Post #20 - August 22nd, 2007, 7:45 pm Post #20 - August 22nd, 2007, 7:45 pm
    Another day off, yet another visit to the Brown Sack. I really can't get enough of this place. It really has become my favorite spot for a simple, unpretentious lunch or light dinner in Logan Square/Humboldt Park. My lunch today really summed up everything I like about this restaurant. Simple, yet vibrant, food made and served by truly welcoming, genuine people. I had my usual mocha milkshake. The straw shown in the picture is really just for show as the Brown Sack shakes achieve a blissful level of thickness. The spoon is actually the utensil of choice until a substantial level of melting has taken place. I could literally live on milkshakes and this one is one of my favorites in Chicago. I went with the daily special of the ham and turkey po' boy. The sandwich is served on a buttered and toasted grinder roll. Cheese is melted over deliciously salty ham and turkey and the whole thing is dressed with lettuce, tomato, and a home made dressing containing mustard, mayo and hot sauce. Again, nothing fancy or gimmicky, but quite tasty. Adam had informed me that Malaika had just finished a fresh batch of chili. After another patron had an order delivered to his table I must have been making goo-goo eyes at his bowl because Adam suggested I add a cup to my sandwich. Very good call. I'm not normally crazy about chili con beans but this version was very good. Perfect seasoning and balance of the veggies and meat.

    Portrait of a perfect lunch.... Brown Sack edition:

    Image


    While waiting for my order I asked Adam how business was going. He said that things were going quite well indeed. They have been very busy with both walk-ins at the store, delivery, and they have been doing more and more catering. In fact, while eating, a customer entered to pick up lunch and booked a catering job right then and there. Adam even said that they have been so busy they actually had to close for a Wednesday night (after running out of most of the menu at an incredibly busy lunch) to take a small breather. High class problem if ever I've heard of one:wink:. I have to say that I couldn't be happier for them. It couldn't happen to nicer folks. On the selfish side, I'm also happy because it means that one of my favorite spots in my new 'hood will be around for a long while to come!
  • Post #21 - September 15th, 2007, 9:42 am
    Post #21 - September 15th, 2007, 9:42 am Post #21 - September 15th, 2007, 9:42 am
    I f*cking LOVE this place!

    Been wanting to try it out since we moved into our new place back in April, but the hours never seemed to play into our favor.

    I was intrigued by Chainey's comments of how it will give Feed/Continental a run for it's money. As our last condo was a scant 2 blocks from there, many a night was spent doing the Continental > Feed > Continental dance. It was comforting to know we now only live a short 5 blocks from Brown Sack/WeeGee's.

    The problem with a "deli" type place is that my lovely wife (aka "Tiny") is 95lbs of pure vegetarian fury. This often leads to rather poor choices in the sandwich/soup department. Luckily the cold last night lured her into acceptance of the dinner suggestion, and we are both damn glad it did!

    Tiny started with an Oatmeal smoothie (oats, banana, honey, soy milk) and I opted for a Chocolate Malt. Both drinks were very impressive and in fact I considered skipping dinner for a second malt. When the Oatmeal smoothie was ordered I was imagining something similar to Irazu, but instead it was much more of a starchy/creamy banana concoction, without a cinnamon twist.

    I went with Chicken Dumpling soup and Tiny got the Veggie Chili. Not sure why but I was imagining a creamy, fluffy dumpling laden soup, but instead it was pretty much Chicken Noodle. Quite good, but in general I am not a huge fan of Chicken Noodle as the flavors can be quite muted. The Veggie Chili gives my chili’s a run for the money. It was really good, with very bold flavors without too much heat.

    I HAD to order the Reuben and was quite glad I did. My corned beef seemed much thicker sliced than the pics in the thread and it was absolutely amazing. So tender, but not flaking apart. Not to mention the value of a sandwich that big for $5.75. Now Tiny's sandwich is the reason it will be a place we can go back to together. She had the Grilled Veggie which seems to be a sandwich whose ingredients change so you have to ask what is in it each day. Last night it was black beans, fried plantains, sweet potato, green pepper, red onion and I am sure more that I am forgetting. It was sort of a hash served on bread with brown mustard and cheese. Tiny was very impressed and didn't even offer me a bite, not that I'd want to put my Reuben down to even try it ;)

    Overall, I can't wait to get back. This will be a perfect place for my area when we just want something simple and delicious.

    Jamie
  • Post #22 - September 15th, 2007, 8:11 pm
    Post #22 - September 15th, 2007, 8:11 pm Post #22 - September 15th, 2007, 8:11 pm
    Jamieson22 wrote:I was intrigued by Chainey's comments of how it will give Feed/Continental a run for it's money. As our last condo was a scant 2 blocks from there, many a night was spent doing the Continental > Feed > Continental dance. It was comforting to know we now only live a short 5 blocks from Brown Sack/WeeGee's.


    I think my love for Brown Sack has been made pretty apparent, but I feel I should go on record saying that, for those that are looking at hitting either Brown Sack or Feed, they are very different places. Feed is a chicken shack with great burgers and specials. Brown Sack is a soup and sandwich place. Both excel at what they do to be sure they just have different aims.

    WeeGee's huh?
  • Post #23 - September 15th, 2007, 10:48 pm
    Post #23 - September 15th, 2007, 10:48 pm Post #23 - September 15th, 2007, 10:48 pm
    Stagger,

    Weegee's is a new "old-school" cocktail bar by The Brown Sack. You can find multiple reviews on either Metromix, Centerstage or Yelp.

    The comparison between Brown Sack - Weegee's and Continental - Feed is that both combinations feature locally run joints neighborhood flavor.
  • Post #24 - November 2nd, 2007, 4:19 pm
    Post #24 - November 2nd, 2007, 4:19 pm Post #24 - November 2nd, 2007, 4:19 pm
    Stopped by the Brown Sack for lunch this afternoon. There was a good crowd in the restaurant and a bit of a wait for a sandwich. I was very happy to see so many people eating a real "hot" lunch instead of a boring cold salad or deli sandwhich.

    For lunch I had some chicken dumpling soup (Real Soup! my dining companion exclaimed). The soup was flavorful and the dumplings had just the right consistency. I then had a BLT with shrimp and avocado on wheat. The bacon quality was great and the avocado was fresh. What really impressed me was that the sandwich was correctly put together and had just the *right* amount of mayo.

    My friend also had the chicken dumpling soup. She then had the sloppy joe. She liked it. She thought it was very sweet with a hint of heat.

    This is one of my better weekday lunches and I will definitely remember this place when I have an odd afternoon to myself.
  • Post #25 - November 8th, 2007, 3:40 pm
    Post #25 - November 8th, 2007, 3:40 pm Post #25 - November 8th, 2007, 3:40 pm
    Good thread started on the "Drinking" forum on the neighboring Weegee's Lounge:

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=16177
  • Post #26 - December 4th, 2007, 3:57 pm
    Post #26 - December 4th, 2007, 3:57 pm Post #26 - December 4th, 2007, 3:57 pm
    Just got back about 10 minutes ago. I wish i had a camera, but i don't and for that i apologize because i ate a wonderful lunch today.

    I got a Reuben and a BLT. The reuben was very good, but i've had comparable efforts.

    The BLT, however, stood on it's own ground. It comes with shrimp and avocado and is absolutely insanely good. They layer the bottom piece of bread with shrimp, then go about a BLT, then top it off with fresh avocado and it's a party of bliss in your mouth.

    Didn't try the soups, just the slaw and it was solid.

    Solid recommendation. Another great meal thanks to LTHers

    btw, neighborhood is as fine as you could ever expect.
  • Post #27 - February 14th, 2008, 10:13 am
    Post #27 - February 14th, 2008, 10:13 am Post #27 - February 14th, 2008, 10:13 am
    Everything about the brown sack rocks!!! Extremely welcoming and friendly environment. Great food and very fair prices. I literally can't stop going.
  • Post #28 - February 14th, 2008, 11:05 am
    Post #28 - February 14th, 2008, 11:05 am Post #28 - February 14th, 2008, 11:05 am
    Wow, I somehow totally forgot about this place, going today...
  • Post #29 - February 15th, 2008, 8:16 am
    Post #29 - February 15th, 2008, 8:16 am Post #29 - February 15th, 2008, 8:16 am
    Everything was great. Reminds me a little bit of Leo's lunchroom, RIP...
    I hope they make it on the West side!
  • Post #30 - May 4th, 2008, 1:03 pm
    Post #30 - May 4th, 2008, 1:03 pm Post #30 - May 4th, 2008, 1:03 pm
    Heck of a nice lunch at The Brown Sack yesterday featuring the SABLT (shrimp, avocado, bacon, lettuce, and tomato). My picture was no better than Staggers' upthread (not a particularly photogenic sandwich), but a heck of a good one. One of the better sandwiches I've had in a long time.

    Even the simple sandwiches are really good--the chicken salad was an example of a perfectly executed chicken salad sandwich.

    For Cookie, the sandwich was clearly overshadowed by her peanut butter and chocolate milkshake (which was really, really good):

    Image

    It was also nice to see The Brown Sack doing a brisk business with nearly every table full and take-out orders moving out the door.

    Best,
    Michael

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