Chicago Eats: Pret A Manger | chicago foodie girl


Chicago Eats: Pret A Manger

During my first visit to London back in the late '90s, I spent many glorious afternoons wandering around random neighborhoods with no particular plan in mind. I was enthralled by the history, the architecture, the tiny hidden neighborhood pubs, the people, the theatre scene... and of course, the food. As a Midwestern girl who up until that point had only lived in small towns or semi-remote suburbs with little food variety, I fell in love with the vast array of culinary delights. However, I was also a semi-broke college student and always on the go, so sitting down at actual restaurants wasn't always an option for me. Thankfully, I just so happened to stumble upon Pret A Manger during one of my random neighborhood meanderings. I quickly discovered that the fast-casual chain offered quality, affordable (and easily portable!) sandwiches, soups, and salads that were perfect for a healthy, filling meal on the go.

Pret A Manger became my to-go stop for a quick meal during my stay in London and I was thrilled when the UK eatery finally expanded into the Midwestern market in 2010. By that point, I had been in Chicago for just over ten years, but my first visit to the newly opened Pret in the Loop took me right back to those lovely afternoons spend wandering around London and spontaneous picnics at neighborhood parks. Of course, as I am a creature of habit, my food choices actually haven't changed much since my early experiences with Pret (I'm a huge fan of the Balsamic Chicken & Avocado Sandwich and the Chicken & Avocado Salad), so I was pleased to be invited to participate in their spring menu tasting featuring their Chicago-exclusive offerings (obviously, I need to be forced out of my comfort zone).

Chicago-exclusive sandwiches: Chicago Super Club and Turkey & Wisconsin Cheddar

 Chicago Super Club: turkey, bacon, and ham, with a mix of fresh and roasted tomatoes, mayo, pepper & crunchy romaine on Pret’s granary bread. This classic and hearty sandwich has a surprisingly sweet bite, thanks to the addition of the roasted tomatoes. I was also impressed that bacon and lettuce managed to stay crispy, despite the fact that they were both nestled up to a bed of juicy tomatoes. 

 Turkey and Wisconsin Cheddar: roasted turkey breast, Wisconsin cheddar, Dijon mustard, tomatoes, romaine, mayo & Pret's seasoning on granary bread. The second of Pret's Chicago-exclusive sandwich options is another classic flavor combination that most definitely stands out from similar fast food options, thanks to the combination of the zesty mustard and sharp cheddar.

Turkey Chili: sautéed antibiotic-free turkey, red kidney beans, bell peppers, braised onions & diced green chilies in a slow-simmered tomato stew with Southwestern spices. Back by popular demand, this high protein/lower sodium chili is loaded with tender chunks of turkey in a sweet tomato base. It's super satisfying on its own, but also pairs perfectly with one of Pret's many salads (I sampled it along with the Chef Salad, which made for a hearty lunch on a particularly blustery afternoon).

Pret's Chef Salad: roasted turkey breast, bacon, avocado, egg, grape tomatoes & mesclun. I wasn't prepared to enjoy this salad as much as I did - not only was this my favorite of the new offerings but also I've actually already added it to my regular rotation! This salad is crisp, fresh, and surprisingly filling (considering it's only 290 calories, I wasn't expecting such a substantial salad).

You can sample the new spring menu options at any of Pret A Manger's Chicago locations.


  1. I miss the English Pret sandwiches, though. Many sneer, but corned beef and piccalilli was my favorite dinner between shifts at the theater.

    1. I feel cheated -- I never got to try that sandwich! Actually, I feel doubly cheated because another friend mentioned Pret now serves sushi in the UK. Hmmmpppph.

  2. I love Pret too!!! The chicken avocado sandwich is my favorite and so is the chicken mozzarella. I really need to try the chicago super club!!!

    1. I almost always reach for the chicken & avocado sandwich (I love the balsamic on it!), but I've been trying to move out of my comfort zone because they really do have so many yummy choices.


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