The Run Down

When the weather finally turns for the better, a long walk through the city might just be what you need to shake off the winter blues. This guide takes you on a culinary-inspired hike from one end of the 606 trail to the other. At each end, we've got two very different types of sandwich shops. One uses waffles instead of buns, and the other has a Vietnamese version of the Italian beef dip sandwich. You'll try each of these places with a 2.7-mile hike "sandwiched" in-between.

1. Viet Dip @ Phodega

2. Walk @ 606 Trail

3. Waffle Sandwiches @ Wyler Road

1. Phodega

Our culinary-inspired hike starts in Noble Square at a shop on the ground floor of a narrow A-frame building. It’s one-part bodega and one-part pho shop, fittingly named Phodega. It’s where you can shop for cereal and grab a bowl of pho and a Vietnamese sandwich all in one swoop.

Started by Anthony Ngo and Nathan Hoops in 2019, this idea was years in the making. Both grew up in Chicago and saw the corner store experience as a unique part of Chicago culture.

These places helped define neighborhoods, and it was almost a given that if you walked into a corner store that also operated a taqueria or deli, the food would be damn good. Phodega is no exception.

Now let’s get down to the food. They make it easy on us with a simple offering of pho, sandwiches, and chicken rice. The chicken rice is in a style you’d find at hawker stands in Singapore.

For our trip, we focused on their Viet Dip sandwich. It’s their take on an Italian dip, but with Vietnamese banh mi stylings. Ensconced in a thin baguette are slices of rib eye, cilantro, onions, and jalapenos. On the side is a small bowl of pho jus for all your dunking needs.

We’ve got another place to eat after this, so sharing a sandwich between two people works great if you maintain your appetite.

On the other hand, we also got a bowl of their pho, so who are we to tell you what to do? By the way, if you’re looking for a pho-fix, this keeps up with any of the great pho shops on Argyle.

2. 606 Trail

After Phodega, head north a few blocks to get onto the 606 Trail, the abandoned elevated train line turned urban walking trail.

You’ll get on at the eastern end of the trail in Walsh Park. From there, you’ve got 2.7 miles until you reach the other end. If that sounds like a lot, keep in mind you’ll be rewarded with more food at the end.

Here are a few other things to consider.

– There are Divvy stations near both ends of the trail if you’d rather bike it.

– Along the trail are 13 different access points to jump on and off if you want to break up the walk. 

3. Wyler Road

Once you made it to the west end of the 606 trail, you still got a 15-minute walk to the next stop. We’re at Wyler Road, a standalone sandwich shop and bar on a quiet residential corner in West Logan Square.

Wyler Road started in 2015, but even before that, this building housed another sandwich place, the Brown Sack, for eight years. That’s a long history in the sandwich business, and I’m chalking that up as one of the reasons why this spot is always making somebody’s best sandwich list.

So here’s what we came for.  These two sandwiches are part of their weekend brunch menu. On the left is their Waffle Sandwich, a pile of sausage, egg, cheese, and honey butter between two liege waffles. On the right is their version of chicken and waffles.

Both of these are great, but the Waffle Sandwich, in particular, is the type of food experience where two days later, you’ll be doing something important, and then your mind will drift to thoughts about this sandwich.

One last thing to note before we end things. There are 13 other sandwiches on the menu, which means 13 reasons for us to come again. We’ll keep adding to this guide as we tackle more of their menu.