It was 2:00 pm and we were starving after an hour visit at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. After all, we had only had salad for breakfast… yes, salad. It was the only thing in the house! So we did a quick search of the best sandwich shop on our ride back to the city. Our Results: Nhu Lan Bakery, an excellent spot to grab the French/Vietnamese-hybrid sandwich, the bánh mì.
Nhu Lan Bakery is located in Lincoln Square, right on Lawrence, between Rockwell and Talman. The building is unassuming and could easily be overlooked, if you couldn’t smell the fresh bread and other goodies from your parking spot on the street. We knew we had made a good decision when we walked in to see just a basic store front, a good selection of vietnamese pastries, two tables, and a crowd of people waiting. Most people were taking their meals to go, so we had a chance to grab a spot at one of the tables.
They offer 12 different type of sandwiches with a few vegetarian options and fruit smoothies with tapioca, if you so desire. Since they are a bakery, they also have baguettes available and a variety of vietnamese pastries and steamed buns. I opted for the lemongrass chicken($3.50), G ordered the Nhu Lan Special, ham, headcheese, pâté, and pork rolls($3.25) and we grabbed a 2 Coconut Cassava sticky buns for dessert($1.95). The sandwiches come with the usual trimmings of pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, hot peppers, and cucumber. The lemongrass chicken was my favorite of the two, but I’m not a big fan of a bunch of cold cuts on my sandwiches. However, my husband loved his meaty “special”, which is more like the classic bánh mì. The coconut cassava dessert was freshly made and still warm. I was going to save it for later, but it smelled so good we ended up eating it on the drive home.
Our sandwiches were fresh, inexpensive and quite tasty. They also have a special, buy 4 sandwiches and get the 5th for free! If we’re in the neighborhood I’d go back for the lemongrass chicken, and maybe to try their veggie options or grilled pork.
Nhu Lan’s Bakery | 2612 W Lawrence Avenue | Chicago, IL 60625 | (773) 878-9988