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Stony Sub

May 18, 2022

  • 8440 S. Stony Island Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60617
  • (773) 978-4000
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

J’s parents moved from the Chicago suburbs to a lake in St. Joseph County a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I love that they’re much closer and the kids can enjoy the lake all summer but I really do miss our trips to their house which would inevitably involve me finding a late night sandwich shop after everyone went to bed.

I was in Chicago this past weekend for a White Sox game. It was just me as I met up with my dad, brother, and a childhood friend. We do it every year and it’s typically a day trip for me now. My dad always wants me to drive back to his house after the game but it’s another hour south of Guaranteed Rate Field and with gas prices the way they are, I chose to just come home after the game.

I will take any excuse I can get to go to Chicago and when I’m by myself, I like to find food, especially on the southside, that my family really wouldn’t be interested in.

Pre-game, I hit up Manny’s Cafeteria and Delicastessen near the Loop for an amazing pastrami sandwich. Post-game, it was time to find that 24 hour sandwich shop.

I hopped on the Dan Ryan going south after leaving the game but instead of getting on the Skyway to head home, I stayed on I-94. My destination? Stony Sub.

Stony Sub is on Stony Island Avenue near 84th Place in Chicago’s Marynook Neighbrohood on the southeast side of the city. The small, 24 hour building has been a southside staple for decades for it’s sandwiches but their claim to fame is a sandwich that is so ridiculous looking that it shouldn’t taste as amazing as it does.

The small yellow box of a restaurant is really just an order counter and kitchen. There are no tables inside and no place to even stand and eat. The kitchen is separated from the public area with shatter proof glass and orders are handed through via a Lazy Susan type device with shatter proof glass on three sides.

The menu is absolutely massive. The restaurant is 24-hours so they have a breakfast menu on one wall..

..and the lunch/dinner menu on the other.

I knew what I wanted before I ever walked in the door. The sandwich that Stony Sub is known for was invented by the previous owner. It’s called a Jim Shoe (or a Gym Shoe) and the mess of ingredients looks like something I wouldn’t like. But this sandwich is so legendary on the south side people like Chance the Rapper and Joakim Noah have come in late at night just to get one.

I put in an order for a regular Jim Shoe and a large order of fries. I didn’t realize that sandwiches come with fries and a pop so I ended up with two fry orders. The cost was a right around $15 and they only take cash, There is an ATM in the waiting area if you’ve only brought a card. It really only took a couple of minutes for my sandwich to be bagged up. When they asked me about pop, I noticed Faygo Orange as one of the options so I chose that.

There’s nowhere to eat at Stony Sub and a lot of people were just sitting in their cars outside. I decided to get on the road a little bit and stop at a gas station or rest area a little further north.

I opened up the large Styrofoam container of fries to eat as I drove. The fries were simple, frozen shoestring fries. The large order was a lot. I really didn’t need that many in hindsight but I ate most of them as I drove towards Kalamazoo.

I ended up waiting until I got back to a truck stop near Burns Harbor, Indiana before I pulled off to eat the sandwich. I needed gas and a Pepsi anyway, so while I was filling up, I unwrapped the sandwich on the hood of my car.

I should start out by saying I don’t typically like most of what’s on this sandwich. I don’t like tomatoes. I don’t like onions. I hate mayo. I’m not a big fan of gyro sauce. None of that mattered though.

The sandwich is actually insanely delicious. There’s some heat from the peppers that is cooled by the mayo and gyro sauce. All of the meat is tender and slightly salty. The French roll this sandwich is served on didn’t stand a chance against all of the meat that is piled in to it. I took a bite expecting to be turned off but that was far from the case. I grabbed a few napkins and went in for more. This mess of a sandwich was incredibly delicious.

This sandwich should not be good…but damn, is it ever.

The stop at Stony Sub was so worth my time. It’s always hard for me to pass up an Italian beef when I’m in Chicago but this sandwich has been on my Chicago food bucket list for a long time (the Mother In Law is another one I’ve been meaning to find). Stony Sub isn’t a place that most tourists are going to find. It’s in a neighborhood deep in the southside…but if you like unique foods, you have to seek this one out.

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