When the Weary Traveler Freehouse replaced Coyote Capers on the corner of Williamson and Few streets in 2002, it was a cultural turning point for the Marquette Neighborhood. Capers was celebrated, but unapproachable for many of the young people living nearby. The Weary, on the other hand, was comfy, stylish and accessible, like a great jacket discovered at St. Vinny’s.
Sitting at the Weary a few weeks ago, I estimated I’ve eaten over 200 meals there, and over half of them have featured the West of the Andes sandwich. Owner Chris Berge says it’s the most popular dish on a menu, built around “tried-and-true comfort food favorites of a number of different cultures,” listing Hungarian goulash, Mexican carne asada, tom ka tofu from Thailand, and an American cheeseburger.
“I’ve crossed the Andes three times on bicycle,” Berge says. “In Chile, the West of the Andes sandwich is called the churrasco sandwich. It’s a direct ripoff of that. What the Weary Traveler did was add the option of having it with tuna steak, so that’s truly us.”
The elements are simple: a soft roll holds a medium-rare cut of beef tenderloin, topped with pico de gallo, chipotle mayo and avocado. The result is an exceptional steak sandwich that can be just as satisfying in mid-July as it is in mid-March. Each bite delivers layers of satisfying flavors. Eat it with a Lake Louie pale ale for lunch or add a side of garlic potatoes and a glass of pinot noir for a substantial dinner.