Potato salad has been removed from the menu, but chintzy, mass-produced coleslaw and macaroni salad (also from Vienna Beef) remain. One side dish — tri-color pasta salad with olives, tomatoes, and carrots — does get prepared in-house, but it was an old, soggy, vinegary mess.
There is no waitstaff as such — you place your order at the counter and pick it up when ready. Every item comes in a bulky square clear-plastic take-out container with fold-down lid attached; plasticware, paper cups, and packaged condiments are used as well. Eating a single sandwich here leaves approximately the same size carbon footprint as the Loch Ness Monster might if it stepped in a vat of carbon.
The freshly baked desserts at Chicago's Bakery & Deli are cupcakes. The rest of the restaurant's glossily iced cakes are brought in from outside. A worker informed us desserts would be prepared onsite "once we sell out the ones we have." Judging from those sugar-laden cupcakes, we think they needn't rush.
Chicago's Bakery & Deli may well become a bakery, but it is more of a fast-food sandwich shop than deli — and only an average one at that. The same owners have recently premiered Chicago's Steakhouse & Tavern next door. Let's just hope Vienna Beef doesn't provide the sirloins.