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Regional Foods Week: Chicago-Style Italian Beef

Regional food week continues with a discussion of a Chicago Treat: thinly sliced roast beef with au jus and peppers and cheese on Italian . mm mmm mm..

Irfan Khan –– . Italian beef sandwich served with hot and sweet peppers at Giorgios of Chicago, a Ch Photo by Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Friends, when you come to Chicago before or after a Northwestern game and are thinking of getting a deep-dish pizza, you should call an audible and eat an Italian beef sandwich instead.

You won’t be disappointed: its a six or eight inch Italian-style roll with thinly sliced roast beef at the base. You can get it sweet with green peppers or spicy with some giardiniera, and also with some mozzarella cheese on top. The best part is you get to choose if you want your beef dipped in gravy (au jus) or dry so you can dip it with au jus on the side.

Ok, just writing this article makes me wish I ordered a beef from my favorite place for lunch.

Here’s what your humble volunteer sportswriters had to say about getting a beef:

LPW: I like getting a beef from Portillo’s wet, sweet, with mozzarella. Never cared for giardiniera.

BMan31: Portillo’s is very good. I prefer the Italian Combo, dipped, with hot peppers and mozzarella. Give me a side of fries and a Coke and I’m ready for an afternoon nap.

MC ClapYoHandz: Portillo’s is fine and works well if you like a chocolate cake shake with your beef. I’ve always been an Al’s guy. No frills, just beef, baptized. Mozzarella if you must. I have heard Luke’s and Bari are both good but have never been.’

LPW: I used to work near Bari (at Grand and Racine) at a company in the west loop. It is the best Italian grocery store in Chicago and makes amazing sandwiches for lunch. I gotta get back there and try one of their beefs.

MNW: I, too, am not a frills guy on my Italian beef. Soggy peppers are not necessary to me enjoying a super-hot, super-salty, super-cheesy, super-dipped Italian beef — as such, I rarely eat it, though a Portillo’s trip a year is fine (I was a bad Chicagoland resident and have never been to Al’s) for the chocolate cake shake.I wound up having more Italian beef in Milwaukee than I ever did in Chicago. Martino’s on the south side of Milwaukee was excellent for it, but my go-to was a double-beef, add mozzarella, soak-the-fucker-in-gravy Italian beef from Dogg Haus after a night of drinking. That salt really cured what ailed ya.


What’s your favorite place in Chicago for an Italian Beef?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    (52 votes)
  • 24%
    (24 votes)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    (2 votes)
  • 4%
    (4 votes)
  • 18%
    (18 votes)
100 votes total Vote Now


Admit it, are you hungry?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    (74 votes)
  • 9%
    Why didn’t you put this article up before lunch?
    (13 votes)
  • 33%
    Why can’t I get one of these things near me?
    (44 votes)
131 votes total Vote Now