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Feb 25, 2010 05:40 AM

Pret A Manger coming to Chicago!

Having lived in London for 3 years I'm really happy that Pret is bringing their fresh lunchtime sandwiches and salads to Chicago. I love the interesting combinations they offer in the UK and hope they don't play it too safe to suit American tastes. I'm really hoping that they will do a Chicken Tikka sandwich. That would make me happy.

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  1. That is awesome! I loved P.A,M when I was in London. Do you have any info on when or where they will be?

    3 Replies
    1. re: lbs

      Opening June 20 at 211 W. Adams Street, according to their website at

      They already have a whole bunch of locations open in New York City.

      1. re: nsxtasy

        I never go to NYC so I'm excited to get one where I live.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Interesting, because I thought PAM was pretty much a failure when they went into the NY market a couple of years ago. I'm surprised they have so many stores still open, but maybe they changed their business concept.

          I saw the stores a couple of years ago in the UK. Not sure their product (at least the UK version) will be that successful here.

      2. I've been coaxing them from afar to open up here for quite a while. Nsxtasy is correct. I was told it would be across from the Sears (Willis) Tower. I was told they will open the end of June/Beginning of July.

        Now we need to get a Marks & Spencer/Sainsbury's/Waitrose food shop and I'll be very content.

        Why are the Brits way ahead of us with delivering fresh, tasty, ready-made goodies?

        8 Replies
        1. re: twodales

          >> Why are the Brits way ahead of us with delivering fresh, tasty, ready-made goodies?

          I don't think they necessarily are. Different concepts develop in different places, and the best of them often travel to other markets. New York City has Jewish delis all over the city where you can walk in and get a freshly made deli sandwich (and we have some of those too, including Steve's, an import from Detroit). Chicago has Garrett's Popcorn and that has spread to New York City. Beard Papa's started in Japan and is spreading across the States, including their new shop in the Loop. All of these places start out with a single shop in whatever city the entrepreneur starts the business, and it takes off from there - across the country and in some cases around the world.

          And it's not like you haven't been able to get freshly made sandwiches and salads already in Chicago till now...

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Nsxtasy first let me say I have always enjoyed your knowledgeable and helpful comments.

            I would like to expand on my comment regarding food quality in the UK. Of course we have good specialty shops here in Chicago.

            I found that the grocery stores in the Uk are far ahead of us regarding the overall quality of produce, ethnic and high end foods. I appreciated the fact that you could walk into a Marks and Spencers store and get an entire meal from starters to dessert and not feel that you'd eaten some boring plastic food.

            I cook from scratch and I enjoy doing so but sometimes you need something quick but don't want to resort to a fast food burger. I have had everything from Vichyssoise to lovely curries to mousaka from M & S/Sainsbury's/Waitrose and been very happy.

            Regarding Pret I enjoyed being able to get a smoked duck or salmon sandwich for lunch on the run. Whether they will have such items at the Chicago branch I don't know but I am hopeful.

          2. re: twodales

            I don't know but at least we are catching up! I really hope they don't dumb down their menu.

              1. re: lbs

                Ive been living between Chicago and London for the past ten years. Yes, UK fresh ready-to-order is better, but it is also usually limited to UK versions of continental food, UK food (roasts, etc), hummus/falafel, and Indian. And on occasion, at least from Chicgao standpoint, some sad attempts at Thai food. Otherwise, forget it.
                Bagels or anything Jewish is nasty, even in Golders Green. Corned Beef (aka Salted Beef), HA, and Mexican/Latin is downright revolting.
                As for dumbing down, really, if we're think UK makes "smart" curries, we are doomed.

                1. re: zoona

                  I agree that the salt beef (corned beef) was not very good in the UK.
                  There are always items that one country does better than another. When I'm in the UK I crave certain foods from here. When I'm here, I miss some UK foods.

                  As for "smart" curries, I take it you don't care for Asian food in the UK? I've had good and I've had bad in both places.

                  I've had some very bad corned beef at Manny's too. The last 2 times I've been there. One more chance and I cross them off of my list. Chewy, stringy, gristly. Yuck!!!

            1. Yay!!! I ate lunch here three times a week in NYC - the chicken mozzarella baguette and the mezze salad are both amazing!

              1. The original comment has been removed
                1. Although I'm rather glad Pret is coming to Chicago, the menu is drastically different from the London version. I'm not asking for a Victorian sandwich here, but I wanted to at least see a Ploughman's. I'm hoping Cheddar and Chutney is the equivalent, because I can never bother to go hunt for a good strong Cheddar AND pickles AND good bread AND assemble it before I dash off. Thought they had Coronation Chicken too (not that I want it, I bought my first coronation chicken sandwich at Tescos way back when and cannot tolerate it ever since)... well well, we can only hope, I'd think.

                  But unfortunately I was never graced with any truly good cuisine in Britain. Curry should not taste sweet (and EVERY CURRY SHOP TASTES SWEET...) and salt should be in Spanish dishes. I'll freely admit that I'm particular to British home cuisine (I mean, my family still eat Sunday roast every Sunday and pie on every Monday) but other than that the food is very far from good.

                  Not that American food is good either... but then again I never eat out if I can help it and the only frozen groceries we buy are vegetables, so I'm no judge on salmon pinwheels from any brand.

                  Can we have PAUL in Chicago now, please? I'm dying for their sesame Camembert.

                  (yes, the majority of the post above is sarcasm. But I do hope the cheddar's strong enough and they don't use streaky bacon in their sandwiches...)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Gabrielleduvent

                    A nice Ploughman's would be very welcome or a Chicken Tikka sandwich or even a Prawn and Avocado...we can only hope.

                    If you are looking for a good strong cheddar, try the English Coastal Cheddar at Trader Joe's. It's an extra strong white cheddar that you would get in the UK. Pick up some Branston Pickle at an Irish shop, or possibly a supermarket and enjoy away!

                    1. re: twodales

                      Looks like the opening date will be in August now. Location: 211 W. Adams

                    2. re: Gabrielleduvent

                      PAUL would be very welcome too. Real food is what I crave because life is too short to eat anything but...