The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

One Great Sandwich: Egg Salad at Stella's

By Rob Christopher in Food on Dec 26, 2007 3:06PM

2007_12egg.jpg Stella's on Broadway in Lakeview is packed to the gills for brunch every weekend. If you ask us, however, the most interesting times to eat here are Monday through Friday nights just after 5 o'clock. You'll encounter the early dinner crowd: people who just don't have the patience or inclination to wait until 7. One of the things they like to eat the most is the egg salad sandwich.

The egg salad at Stella's has a perfect mayo/mustard ratio, a symmetry of creaminess and sharpness. The crispness provided by celery and lettuce makes it as refreshing as it is satisfying. This is not a fancy sandwich. It's not accented with weird flavors in a misguided attempt to be innovative. It is what it is: Zen on a beige plastic plate. Served on toasted rye with skin-on fries and Stella's sweet-and-tart cole slaw, it's just plain damn good. Doesn't josephp's photo make you want to snarf it up?

And, according to Gus the owner, it's the same recipe that's been at the diner since 1962. "In the 80's and 90's when people started getting health-conscious, a lot of diners started changing their recipes," he told us. "Not us. When people come to a diner they want turkey and they want thick, heavy gravy."

What goes into Stella's egg salad (we were pleasantly shocked when Gus wrote it down for us, unbidden) couldn't be simpler: hard-boiled eggs, white pepper, mayo, yellow mustard, and, crucially, celery salt and celery "with the leaves." Gus continued: "The next time you go to the grocery store just pick off a leaf from a celery stalk and chew on it. It's a great flavor." So if you see us grazing in the produce department, it's his fault.

The next time you're in the mood for something no-nonsense, comforting and (we daresay) dainty, it's egg salad you want. To jump into full-bore Little Old Lady mode we recommend pairing it with a big bowl of chicken noodle soup. If that's what there is to look forward to in our golden years, you'll hear no complaints out of us!

Stella's is located at 3042 N. Broadway.