italian baguette brawl: rōm versus lavazza
Fortunately, the Loop has two Italian-inspired cafe chains that serve a mean sub sandwich. There's LaVazza, which is cutting into Starbucks' caffeine business, and RoM, which is a slick albeit small departure from the coffee shop formulas that are ubiquitous citywide. You can't tell from curbside, but the stores represented by each one of these chains are engaged in a viscous battle for who serves the best Italian cold cuts on a roll. Did someone say lunch? Time to rumble.
RōM, 71 S. Wacker Drive
Independently owned and with just four stores, RōM's Italian sandwich is the new kid on the block and whoa, what an attitude. How else to explain the slices of capicolla, Genoa, mortadella, provolone and tomato bathed in a wicked giardinara garnish? Forget the lettuce on this bruiser. Each bite into the crunchy baguette is like a delicious punch in the mouth.
LaVazza, 27 W. Washington St.
Served on a tasty baguette with tomatoes and lettuce, LaVazza's sandwich comes with no spicy garnish, but it doesn't need any. The flavors from the cold cuts and provolone provide plenty of zing. Curiously, the menu says it comes with salami, ham and mortadella, but every one I've had included a turkey subsitute for the mortadella.