There are sandwich shops and then there’s Publican Quality Meats. With some of the freshest, most flavorful ingredients in town, PQM (as it’s known to regulars) is the ultimate Chicago meatery, so grab a like-minded carnivore and have a chow-down for the ages. Owned by the team behind Blackbird, Big Star, and, of course, The Publican, the space is reminiscent of those old-world butcher shops you might remember as a child. Meat slicers and butcher cases act as the perfect throwback design features, making you nostalgic for those more innocent times. But don’t get lost in the past–bring yourself back to the present and meet the meat of today. Every meat in the place originates from local producers and farmers, and is sliced thick and placed between crusty, delicious artisan bread for sandwiches that are just too good for words.
The sandwiches, of course, are big enough to share, but you cannot go to PQM and only sample one thing. Order a couple, or even a third sandwich, to split between the two of you and then argue over who gets to take home the leftovers. The chef-driven selections at PQM change weekly, but you can always count on a selection of charcuterie as a great starter. The “butcher’s meal” of braised beef, smoked chorizo, blood sausage, chickpeas, and more is also something you can regularly count on—plus it serves two. What also sets this butcher shop/café apart from its competitors is that you’ll be able to drink craft beer and artisan wine with your meal.
See something you especially loved on the menu at PQM? You’ll likely find it in the adjacent store, which, in addition to the butcher shop offerings, includes gourmet snacks, spirits, jams, and more from local purveyors and producers. Shop well and your next gourmet lunch just may be at home.
Photograph by André Natta