-3.7 C
Chicago
Thursday, February 2, 2023

Chicago’s Best Italian Beef

A Day In The Life Of Italian Beef Favorite Johnnies Beef

Chicago’s Best Italian Beef: Al’s Italian Beef

Get more recipes, food news, and stories by signing up for our Deep Dish newsletter.

Since 1961, Johnnie’s Beef on North Avenue in west suburban Elmwood Park has been operating as one of the most storied family-owned and -operated Italian beef stands in the Chicago area. The least expensive item on the menu is a tamale$1.70and the most expensive is a combo sandwich with their famed Italian beef and sausage, at $6.80. All sandwiches are 6 inches long.

Current owner Frank Stompanato is the son-in-law of the restaurants founder and namesake, Johnnie Aretos. He says the place is “proof of hard work,” and credits the customers as well as the reliability of the food for keeping business alive. “The people is what keeps you coming back everyday. We have a product thats consistent every daysame product, day in and day out.”

The staff arrives at 9:00 am to begin prepping for a busy Saturday at Johnnie’s. One of the first activities is pre-cutting the French bread into 6-inch slices for the sandwiches.

Sides of giardiniera, which make a beef hot in the parlance of the countermen, are also prepped during the 9:00 am hour.

Around 9:19 am, 55-year-old cook Felix warms the roaster while 21-year-old Marco Antonio prepares to trim the fat off the beef before they toss it in the roaster to cook.

“That’s the meat of the operation,” jokes owner Frank Stompanato while looking at the sizable amount of meat being prepared to be cooked in the morning.

What Sandwich Is Chicago Famous For

The Italian beef sandwich is perhaps the most well-known sandwich in Chicago. Despite the fact that its a contentious topic, a large percentage of people believe Johnnies Beef in Elmwood Park to be the best. Topped with spicy giardiniera or sweet peppers, and dipped in jus, order it in the traditional way.

Chicago has many classic sandwiches, including the Pepito, the Bologna, and the Cemita. Since 1990, Iraz*, a small hole-in-the-wall cafe, has been offering traditional Costa Rican cuisine. J.P. Graziano established a sub shop inside an Italian grocery store in 2007. Chicago has had a love affair with sub sandwiches since then. According to Mike Baruch in Street Food Chicago, Chicago visitors should try pork chop sandwiches. The beef sandwich at Johnnies Beef is stuffed with thinly sliced Italian beef, topped with spicy giardiniera, and served with a side of gravy. It is the deli at Mannys Cafeteria that serves corned beef sandwiches on bread or rolls with pickle spear slices.

The horseshoe sandwich is a Springfield specialty. The open-faced sandwich consists of two slices of toast topped with a cheese sauce and two meat patties, or slices of ham, fries, and cheese. Several people are thought to have invented the sandwich, but the most widely reported source is that it was created by a chef at the Buona Chicago restaurant in Chicago. The horseshoe sandwich is a popular item in Chicago, and it can be found in nearly every restaurant.

Who Made The First Italian Beef Sandwich

Als #1 Italian Beef believes that founder Al Ferreri invented the sandwich in 1938, despite the fact that the origins of Chicagos classic Italian beef sandwich are murky. For a wedding, Ferreri had to stretch his roast so that he could serve 150 people.

Zuccheros Mr. Beef Chicago Undergoes $2 Million Reha

Joe Zucchero, owner of Mr. Beef Chicago, was overwhelmed with the success of the restaurants recent $2 million renovation project. After a long time in the Zucchero family, the restaurant needed a face lift. The renovation included the installation of new floors, ceilings, and walls, as well as the renovation of the kitchen and dining area, funded in part by the Chicago Bears. The results were evident, with customers like Roquan Smith emerging as the first beneficiaries of the renovation. Italian beef, which is also known as short loin, tenderloin, sirloin, or top sirloin, is a popular dish in Italy, particularly in Sicily, Naples, Venice, and Turin, where the various names reflect where the meat came from. roast beef is a term used to describe a dish made from short loin or tenderloin beef, which is typically cooked over a fire in Belluno, Mantova, Milano, Padova, and Treviso.

Read Also: High End Furniture Stores Chicago

The Original Nana’s Hot Dogs

Visit this hot dog stand in Streamwood for a host of delicious greasy delights. The tender housemade beef arrives thinly sliced and covered in a flavorful gravy thats full of dried herbs. Theres also a cheesy beef variant and a mini beef for folks who want to pair the sandwich with an excellent Vienna Beef Depression Dog. Online ordering is available here.

A new Lincoln Park deli and market debuted earlier this year, offering prepared foods, grab-and-go items, dips and spreads, and more. Owner Mitchell Abou Jamra, who also runs All Too Wells neighboring restaurant Evettes, pays tribute to his family and upbringing through a lineup of delectable sandwiches. The Sheffield & Westwood is a Lebanese-influenced Italian beef that gets elevated with sumac giardiniera and crumbled pieces of ground beef kafta. Its dipped in jus to finish. Online ordering is available here.

What Brand Of Italian Beef Does Portillos Use

10 Places Serving the Best Italian Beef in Chicago

Portillo employs the Marconi brand, but you can use any other brand if you prefer, including milder varieties. Giardiniera is a favorite topping for me, and its the way I roll however, its a little spicy, so you might want to go with a milder version.

Italian Beef Vs Roast Beef

What is the difference between roast and Italian beef? Italian beef is a type of roast beef that has been seasoned with Italian spices and pickled vegetables such as peppers, onions, and cauliflower. Grilling roast beef is a method of cooking the beef over high heat until it is desired.

Recommended Reading: Cheap Flights From Austin To Chicago

The Sandwich From Al’s Almost Had An Autumnal Taste

I ordered the regular sandwich, which clocked in at 5 1/2 inches. With a thickness of 2 3/4 inches, it was probably the most well stuffed.

As I leaned in for the first bite, I immediately smelled a ton of indistinguishable spices. It was a bit overwhelming the smell of Buona’s sandwich was more appetizing to me.

My first impression was that the sandwich was salty, but that was immediately overpowered by the spice. I get what the chain means by “distinguishable” and “unique” taste.

It might sound weird, but the taste of the beef and its au jus kind of reminded me of a fall-themed candle.

How To Order An Italian Beef: Dry Wet Or Dipped

Like most beloved regional sandwiches, an ordering shorthand developed over time to quicken the transaction. Dont stress out about it. You wont get kicked out if you screw up or ask a question. This isnt like trying to get ketchup on your hot dog at Jimmys Red Hots. But the lingo is helpful because it helps you easily customize the sandwich. Start by just calling it a beef. Theres no American beef or Norwegian beef vying for your attention.

As explained above, the jus, or cooking liquid, is integral to the sandwich. How much of the beefy juices come along for the ride depends on how your order.

Dry: The meat is transferred to the bread with very little of the jus coming along. If you hate a mess, this is the way to go. Of course, youre also missing out on most of the excitement. One way to solve this is by ordering a cup of the jus on the side, though youll often have to pay extra to do so.

An Italian beef sandwich at Portillo’s on West Ontario in 2014.

Wet: This is the slightly soaked option, with just enough liquid to soak the bread, but not to the saturation point. Some places, like Portillos, ladle on some of the jus to get the desired effect. A few places politely dip the cut side or one end of the bread into the jus before adding the meat. This is a great middle ground, especially if youve never tried the sandwich before.

Recommended Reading: Things To Do In Chicago In June

The Three Best Italian Beef Sandwich Places In Chicago

There are many great Italian beef sandwich places in Chicago, but there are a few that stand out above the rest. For the best Italian beef sandwich in Chicago, you should go to Als Italian Beef, Johnnies Beef, or Mr. Beef. These three places have been serving up some of the best Italian beef sandwiches in the city for years, and they all use high-quality beef that is cooked to perfection. They also use a variety of different breads, and each place has their own secret recipe for the perfect sandwich. If youre looking for a great Italian beef sandwich in Chicago, you cant go wrong with Als, Johnnies, or Mr. Beef.

Fine slices of roasted beef are combined with seasonings to make the Chicago Italian Beef. This recipe calls for slow-majra meat that is seasoned with light moisture/gravure and served on half-pint long rolls. This is a list of the best places in Chicago to get an authentic Italian beef dish. Als Italian Beef, which is based in Chicago, specializes in hot dogs and Chicago Italian Beef sandwiches. They top the beef with celery after using moist, wet pieces of beef. The ambiance is peppy and is heightened by the presence of bright red tables and black walls. Mr. Beef & Pizza is located in Chicago, 20 miles northwest of downtown, near Chicago International Airport.

Italian immigrants who worked at Chicagos Union Stock Yards meatpacking district in the early 1900s brought home some of the less desirable cuts of meat for the citys meatpacking district.

What Is Italian Beef Sandwich Made Of

Chicago’s Best Making the Italian Beef: Buona

This is a tasty five-ingredient flavor combination that combines mouthwatering flavors and mouthwatering flavors. It takes 10 hours to cook, but its finished with a chewy hoagie bun and melted provolone cheese after its been seasoned with pepperoncini peppers, Giardiniera, Italian dressing mix, and beef broth.

The Italian Beef Sandwich: A Taste Of Italy

Its no surprise that Italian beef is a popular sandwich choice. This dish is delicious and nostalgic because it has thinly shaved beef and grilled it to the perfection, as well as sweet peppers, giardiniera, and gravy. If you want something that feels like a classic Italian sandwich, you cant go wrong with Italian beef.

Don’t Miss: Flights From Chicago To St Maarten

Authentic Chicago Italian Beef Recipe

Enjoy roasted beef in a rich seasoned au jus, shaved thin and topped on a bun with hot giardiniera. Get a tried and true recipe for the most authentic Chicago Italian beef recipe from a born and raised Chicagoan.

Chicago is truly a magical place and I am grateful to have spent 25+ years living there. As a culinary arts instructor and born and raised Chicagoan, I think its safe to say I have credibility when it comes to knowing what a REAL Chicago beef sandwich should look like, smell like, and taste like.

Its important to note that there are many imposters out there and that

  • This is NOT a french dip sandwich
  • This is NOT a Philly Cheesesteak
  • This is NOT a Mississippi pot roast made in the slow cooker

While all of those beef sandwiches listed above are great, they are not the Chicago Italian beef sandwich, though many recipes on the internet claim to be.

Growing up I have tried all the famous spots across Chicago .

Because we often move due to military life, I needed to master a truly authentic Italian beef sandwich recipe that I could recreate when I cannot enjoy one locally, and share my love of this special sandwich with all of you.

I do not say this lightly , my husband and I both agreed that this recipe rivals some of the top spots in Chicago. Those are strong words but I would not post anything here on my website if I couldnt back it up.

What Is The Difference Between Italian Beef And Philly Cheesesteak

Theres no denying that the food is healthier, and that it tastes better than the Philadelphia cheesesteak. The leanest round of Italian beef, when roasted rather than griddled, is typically used at Italian stands.

The Secret To A Great Chicago Beef Sandwich

What is the secret of a great Chicago beef sandwich? Als #1 Italian Beef has been serving its famous meaty goodness for over 80 years, but it hasnt been replicated. The beef is top sirloin, and the gravy is rich and flavorful. Its a great way to try it out if youre from the Chicago area.

You May Like: How To File For Divorce In Chicago

Pops Italian Beef & Sausage

Italian beef at Pops Italian Beef & Sausage.

Pops is another Italian beef chain, with more than a dozen locations in the south suburbs and one in the city. The meat here is sliced very thin, though its also a touch dry. Fortunately, its saved by the top-notch gravy, which amps up the beefiness of every bite. What really sets Pops apart is the hot pepper mix. The shockingly green collection of celery and sliced jalapenos adds a less frantic hit of heat than other giardiniera, but it really works here. $7.65

Multiple locations, this sandwich is from 10337 S. Kedzie Ave., 773-239-1243, popsbeef.com

The Origins Of The Italian Beef Sandwich

8 Best Restaurants That Serve Italian Beef In Chicago

The Italian beef sandwich is one of the top foods Chicago is known for and is beloved throughout the city and surrounding suburbs alike. The origins of the Italian beef sandwich date back to early 1900s Chicago and its legendary combination of roast beef and spices have been tempting palates ever since. Read on to find the best Italian beef sandwich in Chicago!

Don’t Miss: Best Personal Injury Attorney In Chicago

You May Never Get A More Extraordinary Glimpse Inside A Restaurant Kitchen Than This

Jeremy Allen White stars as an elite chef who inherits his familys struggling Chicago beef sandwich shop in The Bear, premiering Thursday on Hulu.

But its just as well, as Chicagoans are fanatically protective of their foods. Chicago-style dogs with nearly every vegetable under the sun piled on top of them? Cheese and caramel popcorn eaten together? Deep-dish pizza derided by none other than Anthony Bourdain himself? We Chicagoans hear what you say about us and our food. We hear every little gibe and good-natured insult. And in true Midwest fashion, we squish all of it into a tight little ball and push it way down inside, to be released later at an inappropriate time.

For me, the greatest of all Italian beef stands is Johnnies Beef, about six minutes from where I grew up, where Ive eaten countless sandwiches. Its a long, one-story shack with a wall of big windows facing the street they light up at night, making it look like a small ship out on the water. Note that it is a beef stand, not a beef restaurant. It is a stand because there is no place to sit.

How To Make Italian Beef Sandwiches

To make one of Chicagos most famous foods at home, you will need:

  • Meat: boneless beef roast
  • Rub: ground black pepper, garlic power, onion powder, dried oregano, dried basil, crushed red pepper
  • Juice: water and beef bouillon cubes
  • Bread: Italian roll loaves
  • Garnish: green bell peppers, hot giardiniera

After rubbing the meat, roast in the oven with water and bouillon cubes until medium rare. Then, slice the meat as thinly as possible, piling onto the bread.

One of the most important steps in how to make Italian beef sandwiches is whether you prefer your sandwich wet or dry. Many Chicagoans order their Italian beef dipped, meaning the entire sandwich, bread and all, is dunked in the juice. You can also finish your sandwich by making it sweet , hot , or a combo .

If youre wondering what to serve with Italian beef sandwiches, you cant go wrong with french fries, onion rings, potato chips, or any kind of salad.

Read Also: Toyota Tacoma For Sale In Chicago

Extreme And Totally Over

Every now and then, you need to treat yourself to an over-the-top dining experience, and weve found that Chicago has quite a few of these spots. Whether its an extreme atmosphere or simply unusual and overwhelming food, youll find plenty of exciting, over the top restaurants to explore in Chicago.

Best Italian Beef Chicago Suburbs

Chicago’s Best Italian Beef: Mr. Beef on Orleans

If youre looking for the best Italian beef in the Chicago suburbs, you have to check out Als Beef. Als has been serving up delicious Italian beef sandwiches since 1938, and theyre still going strong today. Their beef is slow-cooked and seasoned to perfection, and their sandwiches are served on a freshly baked Italian roll. You can get your Italian beef sandwich with sweet or hot peppers, and they also offer a delicious chicken sandwich if youre not in the mood for beef.

This sandwich is made with perfectly seasoned beef, finely chopped green bell peppers and onions, and oregano. An Italian salad with carrots, sport peppers, and cauliflower is topped with a thinly sliced beef sandwich. The beef is roasted for two hours in garlic and oregano before cooling overnight. The giardiniera is delicious, with crunchy knobs of cauliflower and jalapeos mixed with habaneros and olives. In Freddys, one of those places that feels frozen in time is perfectly located. In 1953, Gonnella Stubby and Eddie Scatchell opened their own restaurant in Cicero, titled Stubbys. The price of a sandwich at Portillos has risen to $5.89 in Illinois.

Turanos lemon ice, like Johnnies, is smooth and creamy, but not quite as good. Portillos has evolved into more of a theme park than a joint. Each location has a specific theme, such as 1930s Prohibition or 1950s and 60s Retro. If you dont have a car, this is a very good sandwich, but I dont think its in the top ten.

Recommended Reading: Jewish Federation Of Metropolitan Chicago

Popular Articles
Related news