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Lisa Shames | Photo: Anthony Tahlier | April 30, 2013
Fans of Co-op Sauce and Crumb Chicago have a friend in Sauce and Bread Kitchen.
What’s in a name? In the case of Sauce and Bread Kitchen, not enough. Which isn’t to say that’s a bad thing, just that those few words don’t begin to tell the whole story of the recently opened BYO Edgewater café.
First, there’s the “Sauce” part. What began as a side endeavor in 2003 for Mike Bancroft as way to help support Co-op Image, the nonprofit arts and education youth program he founded, Co-op Sauce has grown into a cult favorite. Now the deeply flavorful handcrafted hot sauces can be found at more than 50 Chicago restaurants and markets. Adding to that feel-good vibe: Fifty percent of the sauces’ profits are donated to Co-op Image.
The “Bread” aspect of the name comes courtesy of Anne Kostroski, who quickly became known around town for her baked goods, including breads, cookies and pastries, that she sold under the name Crumb Chicago at farmers markets and small shops starting in 2009. The two met back when Kostroski was the pastry chef at L’Etoile in Madison and a close friend of Bancroft’s was the executive chef.
Their products, which spotlight local ingredients, are terrific on their own, and plenty are available for purchase at the casual Clark Street storefront—in the refrigerated cases, on the shelves lining the exposed brick walls and behind the counter where you place your order—in addition to housemade tomato sauce, sauerkraut and spreads. But it’s when they’re put together that things get really interesting.
Exhibit A: The turkey sandwich, which pairs slices of guajillo and tamarind smoked breast meat with house-cured bacon, whipped feta spread and chowchow pickle relish on a crunchy demi baguette. Not the usual suspects you’d expect to find in a turkey sandwich, but after tasting this one, they should be.
It’s the same creative idea with the grilled eggplant sandwich, which gets a hefty slather of kicky pimiento spread and is topped with roasted fennel and radicchio marmalade.
My favorite, though, is the lamb sandwich, a sometime special that incorporates Manzanilla olives in the meat’s braising liquid and comes topped with mint chimichurri. (“Most everything on the menu is up for grabs,” says Bancroft, who changes it up according to customer feedback. “That’s how I like to cook.”) Even before I take a bite, the gamey aroma of the lamb hits my nose, a tease of the goodness to come. As with the other two sandwiches, the baguette it comes on provides the perfect vehicle to get all the deliciousness safely to my mouth.
The side green salad the sandwiches came with went untouched, though, minus the tangy pickle spear that adorned it. And my dining mates and I weren’t fans either of the koshary, a cold noodle salad we found bland.
But that turned out to be a good thing, since it left more room for the comforting inside-out chicken pot pie—roasted root vegetables, free-range chicken from TJ’s Poultry (same provider as their turkey) and a serrano and cheddar biscuit—and Kostroski’s wonderful desserts, including an oatmeal cookie sandwich filled with luscious caramel crème. I’m looking forward to trying her toaster pastries (think Pop-Tarts with a pedigree) and breakfast sandwiches made with her crumpets.
For now, SBK’s hours are limited since it also doubles as a production space for both Co-op Sauce and Crumb. But there’s another option: The once-a-month Stew Supper Club the duo have been hosting for two and a half years is still up and running.
Sauce and Bread Kitchen
6338 N. Clark St.
Open Thu.-Fri. 10am to 6pm and Sat.-Sun. 10am to 3pm
Smoked Turkey Sandwich........$8
Oatmeal Crème Cookie.......$2