Pan-Asian sandwich shop opening in downtown Evanston

Alexandria Johnson

Orrington Avenue on Nov. 21 will welcome a new Pan-Asian sandwich shop, Soulwich, featuring food with Indonesian, Burmese, Thai and Singaporean influences.

Owners Ash and Bhavini Patel said they prepared for more than eight months to open the restaurant, working to provide unique food options not typically found in the area through their salads, sides and sandwiches. Soulwich is located at 1634 Orrington Ave.

“Chicago does have a lot of culinary experiences from lots of different countries, but it seems what’s here is pretty traditional and no one goes out here and does something different,” Ash said.

Bhavini developed a passion for the food of other countries after traveling around the world and growing up in Asia. She added she came to the United States four years ago and wanted to share her experiences here.

“There are more opportunities as a woman in the U.S. (I) wanted to give it a shot,” Bhavini said, through Ash’s translation.

The food will include samplings like Burmese coconut curry, Thai grilled chicken, sesame chili tuna and Singaporean tikka. Salads will include options such as tuna rice-itsu, ginger peanut salad and wasabi Caesar chicken salad.

Bhavini will grind all the spices herself, and the bread will be baked locally. Ash said Soulwich is trying to use hormone-free meat that is locally grown, keeping the restaurant’s food as chemically free as possible.

“I think most of the food out there is pretty generic now – the tastes across the board seem to be the same,” Ash said. “We’re bringing something that’s got a different taste component, a different texture to it. No one else has it. It’s a completely different food and taste experience.”

Located near Sleevecandy, 1630 Orrington Ave., Soulwich offers the opportunity to bring more traffic and activity to the businesses on the street.

“I’m just excited to have another close place to go for lunch,” said Reed Hushka, Sleevecandy’s founder. “I think they’re going to do very, very well. I love their concept.”

Soulwich will mark its opening with a 50 percent discount on any sandwich and chips for coat donators of the first annual Lupe Fiasco Foundation coat drive, a recommendation from Hushka.

“He put the idea forward with us that would be a great way to drive in more people to participate in the coat drive,” Ash said.

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