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Veggies, Hang Your Hats at Hannah's

By John DiGilio in Food on Jun 27, 2011 3:20PM

HannahsBretzel.jpg Vegetarian fast food. It may not be an oxymoron, but it is also not a phrase that usually elicits excitement - especially among vegetarians. For us, "grab and go" usually means a handfull of celery or carrot sticks. For those with a little more time, you might be able to get a salad made to order. Then again, it is probably going to be the same salad you ordered last time. Truth be told, though, things are better than they have been in the past. Thanks to greater acceptance of the meat-free diet, most places now have some kind of vegetarian offering on the menu. Then there's Hannah's Bretzel. These little shops have eight!

With only four local locations, Hannah's Bretzel is a small fry in a sandwich-making arena filled with national giants. They are, however, dubbed "Über Sandwich Makers" for a good reason. This little David has some serious ammo in its sling. First is the mini-chain's commitment to the environment. Hannah's serves up food that is fresh, made from organic ingredients and whole grains, and is sourced as locally as possible. You do not have to be a veghead to appreciate eco-friendly practices. Every little bit of environmental goodwill helps and these folks do a lot for good, ol' mother earth.

Their second, and perhaps most important, weapon in the sandwich wars is great food. Hannah's Bretzel offers six vegetarian sandwiches made from some of the best sounding ingredients. They can build you one with goat cheese or apples or portabella mushrooms or brie or roasted tofu and/or any of a number of fresh veggies that simply too numerous to mention in this review. We tried the Farmhouse Cheddar and Watercress Sandwich. It was a delicious layering of cheese, greens, cucumbers and mango chutney on substantial whole grain baguette. We paired this with a light and tasty gazpacho that was just perfect for a warm summer afternoon. We even added in a little organic chocolate to end the meal with a sweet finish. It was tasty and fun from start to finish.

In addition to its sandwiches, Hannah's Bretzel also offers salads and soups. It's veggie salad is even vegan. We saw one walk out the door and it looked good. With so much more on their menu for us to try, we will be back. Chicagoist had been to Hannah's before. but not in search of a meatless meal. Even second impressions can be important. Just as during our last visit, they did not let us down. Sure, you may still pay a little more than some of the bigger sandwich chains (our sandwich was eight bucks). But at Hannah's Bretzel, you are paying for the extra care and quality. It's worth it!

Hannah's Bretzel has three locations in Chicago with a fourth opening soon.