Chicago's Gym Shoe Sandwich

Departing Assistant Editor-in-Chief
Mon Apr 18, 2022

I’m leaving in a week, but I ain’t gone yet! Now time to cut the goodbyes, because I'm here to talk to you about an underrated Chicago dish, named the Gym (or Jim) shoe sandwich. This sandwich, known exclusively to the west and south sides of Chicago, is comfort within two buns. This is a loaded sandwich, so you better come hungry, because it's loaded up with corned and roast beef, gyro meat, onions, lettuce, cheese, mayo, gyro sauce, tomatoes, and giardiniera.

Like I said, this sandwich is loaded. I got the sandwich from a restaurant named Sun Sub near North and Central on the west side of Chicago for roughly $10 and it came with not just the sandwich but also a side of fries and a pop. When I got my order, it was classic Chicago man; they gave it to me in a paper brown bag with an RC Cola to drink.  

Now, it might have been due to me waking up at 1 p.m., but the sandwich was absolutely amazing. The blend of flavors that you got wrapped up into one sub is crazy and it's unlike anything that I've ever tasted before. It's definitely bad for you, but don't get me wrong, it tastes amazing. Not only that, but it's so fulfilling that I didn't need to eat for pretty much the rest of the day. However, I will say that the only downside to ordering this sandwich is that my trips to the bathroom were more than unpleasant; I apologize for the imagery.

I'm not entirely sure where the gym shoe sandwich originated in the city. It's such a strange concoction that the idea of someone sitting down and saying “Hey, I want to make a sandwich like this” is kind of unbelievable to me. Maybe it represents the melting pot of a city that we are, or just a version of a po boy sandwich. Whatever the case may be, I am so grateful that this sandwich exists, and I welcome anyone to venture out to a local sandwich shop to try this sandwich because it is absolutely value for money and satisfaction. It may not top the list of recognizable Chicago foods like deep-dish pizza or Italian beef, but this is a gem of a sandwich. 



Appears in
2022 - Spring - Issue 11