Tuesday, July 31, 2012

One Bite: the mother of all schnitzel sandwiches at Olga's Deli

Posted By on 07.31.12 at 01:50 PM

4-story chicken schnitzel sandwich
  • Mike Sula
  • Four-story chicken schnitzel sandwich

You'd need the cranial kinesis of a boa constrictor to get this absurdly gigantic sandwich between your jaws. The four-layer chicken schnitzel at Irving Park's Olga's Deli is the crowning glory in a small but astonishing repertoire, but it's the lunchtime ritual of lining up and ordering from the eponymous Olga, who is the embodiment of generosity, that gives this towering construction an ineffable appeal.

smoked butt sandwich, Olgas

You'd be forgiven for writing off this place if you judged it by its stark, mostly empty window display. I did for years, but friend of the Food Chain Mike Brockway is an ardent supporter, and on his orders I recently returned, making my way past the dusty German folk records, the dolls and stuffed animals, the shelves of jams, jellies, and honey with labels so faded you can barely read them, to witness the eponymous Olga, who's been around for decades, in action.

pork loin sandwich, Olgas

"Is this OK?" she might ask as she pulls a slab of breaded pork loin half the thickness of a phone book from a roasting pan and obliterates a comically insignificant slice of rye bread. Or she'll run a hunk of fatty smoked pork butt against the slicer and hand a piece over the sneeze guard for approval before stacking it atop the bread like blocks on the Pyramid of Cheops. Pork chop, bratwurst, hamburger or deli meat, whatever you ask for you'll be humbled by the heft and the price you pay for it. These sandwiches are $5 apiece, and worth waiting out Olga's methodical pace. Cash only.

Olgas Deli

Olga's Deli, 3209 W. Irving Park, 773-539-8038

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