Duran's European-style sandwiches come in over 35 varieties.
The latest lunch destination to open in the River West area, Duran European Sandwiches & Café is as authentic as they come. Closely modeled after a group of family-owned Viennese cafes, the restaurant even bears the original Duran family name, although its owner is of no relation. Chicagoan Tracy Miller visited the cafes in Austria a number of times before getting permission from the Duran family to bring the concept here. Miller worked with the family to perfect the craft before opening up shop in February.
The concept is simple: fresh, gourmet ingredients are compiled open-faced on delicious European white bread. Duran sandwiches are also miniature, allowing the opportunity to taste two or three different varieties in one visit—and with a menu of options as long as Duran’s, you’ll definitely want to. Some of the sandwiches resemble American favorites: the roast beef with chive cream cheese, roasted red peppers, and horseradish, for example; or the turkey with red pepper spread, cucumber, and spring garnishes. Most, however, are more European in taste. For something different, sample the Spanish sardine sandwich, with puta spread, cucumber, tomato, and egg; or the French ham with leek salad, egg, tomato, pickle, and spring garnish. Meanwhile, vegetarians will enjoy the “vitamin” sandwich, which contains a healthy mix of apple salad, carrot salad, and a kiwi garnish. And for gourmands, the caviar sandwich has egg, lemon, tomato, and capers.
Pastries from various cafes throughout the city are also available. That plus the tea and coffee offerings cement Duran as a full-service cafe. Try the Melange, a traditionally Viennese combination of coffee, espresso, steamed milk, and thick, housemade whipped cream. 529 N. Milwaukee Ave., River West, 312-666-6007