A trip to Chicago just isn’t complete without a taste of real Italian beef. This juicy, meaty sandwich has been a favorite of Chicagoans for years. Check out the best places to sample this sandwich from Shoreline Sightseeing.
If you’re a true sandwich purist, check out Johnnie’s Beef in Elmwood Park. This cash-only joint serves up tender and perfectly sliced beef, with a complex and well-seasoned gravy that perfectly complements the thick, crusty bread. You can also order your Italian beef with a charcoal-grilled sausage for an extra kick of flavor, and the sweet peppers are spicy enough to enjoy while not losing the sweetness of the vegetables. If you’re a vegetarian but still want a taste of Chicago, the pepper and egg sandwich is a favorite.
Joe Boston’s Italian Beef
Joe Boston’s might be sparse on atmosphere, but this family-owned store has been in business since 1949 for a reason. The well-spiced gravy features notes of oregano for a real Italian flavor, mixing with the thinly shaved beef for a unique flavor sensation that melts right onto the bread. The giardinera mix is rich with carrots and chili peppers for a crunchy kick.
Al’s No. 1 Italian Beef
This humble University Village restaurant claims to be the first Italian beef joint in town, dating from 1938. The charcoal-grilled sausage is a favorite, while the gravy boasts notes of cinnamon and a sheen of satisfying grease. For the adventurous, Al’s secret menu features choices like “Gypsy Fries” featuring Al’s fresh-cut fries topped with gravy, beef, and peppers.
This iconic Cicero fast food stand started serving Italian beef, pizza, and sausages in 1953. It’s been endorsed by the Vienna Beef Company and the Food Network, and it’s a popular spot for local celebrities. The paper-thin sirloin beef is topped with flavorful gravy and crunchy hot peppers. Don’t miss the $10 pizzas or the chili cheese fries!
With locations in Schiller Park, Wicker Park, and Harwood Heights, you won’t be able to miss a Jay’s sandwich. These huge sandwiches have a full-flavored profile with meaty, thick slices of sirloin. The celery and sweet red pepper giardinera is sure to please. If you’re really craving a beef fix, Jay’s offers catering services with beef by the pound and plenty of bread and fixings to go with!