Make the workday better with gyros, barbecue, Asian fusion, and more

Lunch is perhaps the best motivator for getting through a long morning so don’t settle for leftovers or a sad PB&J when there are better options available. From customizable salads and poke bowls to grilled cheeses and lobster rolls, these 20 great spots in the downtown area will make the a.m. slog a little more bearable.

New additions to the map for 2018 include food hall Wells Street Market, sandwich specialist Gayle V’s Best Ever Grilled Cheese, and Rotisserie Ema’s Mediterranean food bars. Be forewarned: An afternoon siesta may be necessary afterward.

Rotisserie Ema

Chef CJ Jacobson showcases Mediterranean fare created with a lighter California style of cooking at his popular River North eatery. During lunchtime, Ēma offers a self-serve experience for those short on time. The hot and cold bars — priced by the pound — are brimming with greens, grains, meats, and hummus spreads. Customers can eat their customizable meals in the dining room or take them to go.