Making Mom Proud: A Visit to Nora's

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click to enlarge The "For Pete's Sake" sandwich -- smoked pork loin, bacon, brie, caramelized onion and applesauce -- at Nora's - Ian Froeb
Ian Froeb
The "For Pete's Sake" sandwich -- smoked pork loin, bacon, brie, caramelized onion and applesauce -- at Nora's
When you name your restaurant after your mother, as the owner of the Dogtown sandwich shop Nora's (1136 Tamm Avenue; 314-645-2706) has done, you don't leave yourself much margin for error. Screw it up, and not only do you have a failed business on your hands, you've also sullied your own mother's good name.

Nora's reputation should be all right. While it might not break new ground in the sandwich arts, her namesake restaurant is a perfectly respectable neighborhood joint.

The space is modest and a little dim. You order at the counter from a menu of hot and cold sandwiches as well as a few soups and salads.

I tried three of the hot sandwiches over two recent visits. Pictured is "For Pete's Sake," which features a generous serving of sliced pork loin that has been smoked in-house over apple wood. This is topped with even more pork (bacon), melted brie, caramelized onion and applesauce. The flavor profile does tip toward sweet, what with both the onions and applesauce, but the pork loin and bacon combo provides enough of a balance, and the brie gives it a mild funk.

Sandwiches are served on white or wheat hoagie buns. I had the "For Pete's Sake" and the "Layton" on white buns. The "Layton" is thinly sliced roast beef with caramelized onion, herb cream cheese and horseradish sauce. I would have liked stronger horseradish and herb flavors, but the beef itself was tender and full-flavored.

The "Veggie Melt" is one of several vegetarian options here. (Gluten-free bread is also available.) It is impressive, with artichoke heart, smoked portobello mushroom, roasted red pepper, black olives and caramelized onions topped with melted cheddar and provolone and then garnished with lettuce, tomato, avocado, sprouts (assuming, unlike me, you don't hate sprouts and ask for them to be omitted) and a chipotle mayo. That mayo is the key, tying together the disparate ingredients and giving the sandwich a little extra kick.

Each of the sandwiches I tried cost $7.49, before tax, which includes a side of chips, cole slaw or potato salad. No sandwich on the menu is priced any higher.

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