Diner’s Notebook: A better egg sandwich awaits at Eastman

SHARE Diner’s Notebook: A better egg sandwich awaits at Eastman
SHARE Diner’s Notebook: A better egg sandwich awaits at Eastman

BY ANTHONY TODD | FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA

Step aside, Egg McMuffin, there’s a new game in town.

If you’re a fan of breakfast sandwiches, you’re in for a treat, as Eastman Egg Company is serving up delicious egg sandwiches made with local ingredients at a price that won’t make you cry out in pain.

Loop-dwellers can now start their mornings with The Eastman, made with country ham, farm eggs, Egmont cheese, sliced cucumber and sweet chili sauce ($7) or keep it traditional with The Doc, a simple bacon, white cheddar and egg delight on Ciabatta ($7). Wash it all down with a cup of Sparrow coffee and your day just got a whole lot better.

Eastman started as a food truck, but now they’ve gone brick and mortar, with a tiny storefront location on Wacker Drive. The whole thing was inspired by owner Hunter Swartz’s frustration with the mediocre breakfast options on his way to work. He’d wait in a long line, get something bland and go through his whole day disappointed. After a stint in business school, he decided to try his hand at making eggs.

Then Swartz met Drew Davis, COO of Eastman. Davis explained the thinking behind their 1,100-square-foot, wood-paneled space: “We wanted to be able to get people in and out, but [also] for people to feel more comfortable than at many other places. We decided to do the walls and the ceiling in black, charred wood, because it makes it feel closer and smaller, a more private personal space, rather than a space you are sharing with so many people.” The beautiful, stark space sets itself apart from the nearby fast-casual options covered in bright colors, neon signs and blinking menus, creating an island of calm in a busy downtown.

Many of the ingredients at Eastman, including all the eggs and bacon, come from Slagel Family Farm. It’s more expensive to work with local ingredients, but Davis thinks it’s worth it. “If you start out to make something delicious, you have to start with something delicious,” he says. “I haven’t found a good way to articulate that without sounding cheesy, but that’s at the core.”

Customers can taste the difference. “Most people say to us the egg is fluffier, richer, denser —they are really phenomenal,” says Davis. Eastman isn’t just picky about their eggs. In an attempt to create the perfect yogurt parfait, they tried to partner with several different granola makers before they gave up and made their own.

“Everything you have when you come in here is going to be of a quality that will knock your hair back a little,” insists Davis.

That sounds like a good way to start the day.

Anthony Todd is a local freelance writer.

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