A distinct dish of Chicago is the Chicago Italian Beef. The Italian Beef is a type of sandwich which has its origins in Chicago and is made up of fine slices of roasted beef with seasoning. The meat is simmered and cooked with light moisture/ gravy (au jus) and is finally served on Italian- style long roll cut in half. The garnishing can be of sweet peppers or something else like spiced up giardiniera (pickled veggies in vinegar oil). As per the preference of the diner, the bread can be dipped or double-dipped in the meat juice for added flavor, and there can be multiple variations of the sandwich.
7. Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage
8. Fabulous Freddies Italian Eatery
Most places would offer an alternative as the Combo Chicago Italian Beef, which would have an additional grilled Italian sausage (hot/ cold). Some of the other popular variations of the Chicago Italian Beef are hot-dipped, hot-dipped combo, sweet, dry, gravy bread, cheesy beef (also called “chief”), garlic cheesy beef, triple-double, etc. This endemic dish of Chicago can be savored at multiple places across the city, which majorly include hot dog stands, pizzerias, street food joints or even restaurants serving Italian American cuisine. This guide will list out 10 best places in Chicago where you can have a delicious bite of the best Italian beef Chicago.
1. Tony’s Italian Beef
What could be better to try your first Chicago Italian Beef than someplace, which is considered to be among the best local long-timers of the city? This place serves delicious burgers, hot dogs, and many other preparations in a counter-serve arrangement. The Chicago Italian Beef here is famous among the locals as well as visitors. The restaurant is committed to providing great service and excellent service. The outlet is family run and is being carried on by the third generation now. They also offer catering services.
The standard Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich at Tony’s is priced at 5.99 US Dollars. There is also a variant to this Chicago Italian Beef, which has a different size and is called by the name of Big Italian Beef, which is priced at 9.45 US Dollars. The customers can request a choice of garnishing from among Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, and Red Sauce at about an additional dollar.
Tony’s Italian Beef, 7007 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, Illinois 60629, United States
Contact Number of the Restaurant- (773) 2846787.
2. Al’s Beef
Al’s Beef is a Chicago based food chain that is highly popular for its hotdogs and Chicago Italian Beef sandwiches. Al’s Italian Beef, as a place, is not very big, and its setup can be said to be a ‘bare-bones’ one, where only the necessary things are taken care of, the most necessary of them being its delicious Chicago Italian Beef. It is a small shop at a street corner and is usually queued up by a lot of people, considering its popularity. It is known for its overstuffed Chicago Italian Beef, which is prepared with utmost standards of cleanliness and hygiene. The garlicky taste of Al’s preparations is particularly distinct. They use the wetter, moist shards of beef and top it up with celery. The celery is clubbed with a combination of oily and crunchy textures of few added vegetables. The bread used for the sandwiches is of Gonella Baking Co. The place is over 80 years old and retains its customer popularity even now.
The Chicago Italian Beef here comes in three size versions; Little, Regular, Big, which are priced at 6.15 USD, 7.35 USD, and 9.75 USD, respectively. The addition of extra beef costs 2.75 USD, and there can be customizations like dry base, wet base, or dipped base with seasonings of pepper and cheese available.
Al’s Italian Beef, 169 W Ontario Street, Chicago, Illinois 60654, United States
Contact Number of the Restaurant- (312) 9433222.
3. Mr. Beef & Pizza
Mr. Beef & Pizza is a casual eatery that is popular for its pizza, hot dogs, burgers, and Chicago Italian Beef. The shop has a retro theme and has decent space & arrangements for seating. The ambiance is peppy and is accentuated by bright combinations of red tables in front of black & white walls. The main wall is decorated with jazz- retro type props or pictures in frames and faces the cooking area, which is bordered by a high-top table line. The place also offers catering services for meetings, birthdays, picnics, etc. and has a separate party room if one wants to host private functions there. The restaurant is 20 miles northwest of Downtown Chicago and is near the Chicago International Airport. It is said that when it comes to Chicago Italian Beef, they have got just the right balance in their preparation, which is neither too spicy nor too bland, neither dry nor oily. The taste of the beef is resonant, and the bread is sturdy.
Their Chicago Italian Beef costs from 4.79 to 8.69 USD depending upon the variant of size (Junior, Regular, and Large). The extra cheese variant costs 9.69 USD.
Mr. Beef & Pizza, 1796 Elmhurst Road, Mt Prospect, Illinois 60056, United States
Contact Number of the Restaurant- (847) 2281210.
4. Jay’s Beef
This is a family-run restaurant that is under operation for a long time. This also makes it rather experienced in its main domain, which is the Chicago Italian Beef. The place is decent, geared up with wooden furnishings & fittings, and is spacious. The place has self-service from its counters. They usually serve their dishes with potato chips and a cold beverage as a combo. The popular dishes include beef hotdogs, pizza puffs, Polish sausages, fries, bratwurst, etc. The Chicago Italian Beef served here is huge in terms of its size. One needs to use a knife and fork to eat it efficiently. The texture of the bread is toothsome, soft, and is accentuated by sirloin butt slices of the beef which is in meat juice. The flavor is a bit spicy, and the garnishing of sweet peppers and celery provides an adequate crunch to the sandwich. There are branches of Jay’s Beef, which are located in 3- 4 areas other areas of Chicago, too, but this is the main one.
Chicago Italian Beef with Giardiniera is priced at 8 US Dollars.
Jay’s Beef, 2255 North Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60647, United States
Contact Number of the Restaurant- (773) 7722333.
5. Luke’s Italian Beef
If you are looking for a well-maintained restaurant- like a place where you can enjoy a delicious bite of the best Italian beef Chicago, Luke’s is just the right place. The interiors are well furnished, and the ambiance has a classic vibe with a lot of space and ample ventilation. The popular preparations include the Chicago Italian Beef, pizzas, sandwiches, etc. The finely chopped beef with mellow seasoning provides its Chicago Italian Beef with a unique feel. There is also a hint of bell peppers to the taste of their Chicago Italian Beef. The roll retains adequate softness along with a certain crusty texture, which enhances the taste and experience for the customers.
The Chicago Italian Beef here is priced at 4.65 USD.
Luke’s Italian Beef, 215 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Illinois 60606, United States
Contact Number of the Restaurant- (312) 9394204.
6. Johnnie’s Beef
This is a tiny eatery in the Elmwood Park area of Chicago. It is known for its no-frills service, and its tasty offerings of Italian ice, sausages, hot dogs, shakes, fries, and the Chicago Italian Beef. The Chicago Italian Beef here is very popular among the locals. It is said that they prepare it by using sheer craft, as it feels like the meat is delicately cut like origami and then expertly folded to make an amazing roll. There are ribbons of meat present with different seasonings, which increases the appetizing appeal of the sandwiches. It is because of this expertise; the Italian Beef can be said to be among the best-rounded sandwich in the city. The beef retains a spicy, crunchy feel, and you can taste colorful peppers in every bite of the sandwich. The bread used for their Chicago Italian Beef is adequately soaked in the meat juice before cooking.
The Chicago Italian Beef here is priced at 4.54 US Dollars.
Johnnie’s Beef, 500 W North Avenue, Elmwood Park, Illinois 60707, United States
Contact Number of the Restaurant- (708) 4526000.
7. Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage
This is a local fast-food chain operating in the Kedzie Avenue area of Chicago. It is known for its grilled and fried sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. Among other popular preparations, the one that attracts most customers is the best Italian beef Chicago. The sandwich is packed and puffed with a lot of beef, to begin with. The pieces and shards are a bit flecked with chilly red seasoning. The bread used for rolling is soft and thick, which provides adequate chew & bite to the sandwich. The taste of the beef slices gets accentuated due to the toppings of hot jalapenos, and wrinkled pieces of sweet pepper.
There are 3 variants of the Chicago Italian Beef with size differences 3 inches, 6 inches, and 9 inches; priced at 3.50 USD, 5.49 USD, and 7.49 USD, respectively.
Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage, 10337 S Kedzie Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60655, United States
Contact Number of the Restaurant- (773) 2391234.
8. Fabulous Freddies Italian Eatery
This is a local Italian eatery with counter-serve operations, serving American comfort food as well as Italian. They are famous for preparing indigenous Chicago dishes like the Chicago Italian Beef. The website of Fabulous Freddies gives their tagline, which reads as “The Pride of Bridgeport.” The eatery is known for preparing juicy Chicago Italian Beef sandwiches. The sandwiches are stuffed to the brim with delicious shards of beef mixed with spices, and the bread retains a certain tangy flavor. The preparation includes tender slices of beef roasted in au jus. The place is open till midnight as it is sometimes too crowded considering its popularity among the locals and the visitors. The place also provides sumptuous meatballs that taste great with their Chicago Italian Beef.
The standard Chicago Italian Beef is available for 8.95 USD. There is also a variant with a different size, which is available for 10.95 USD.
Fabulous Freddies Italian Eatery, 3097, 701 W 31st St #1, Chicago, Illinois 60616, United States
Contact Number of the Restaurant- (312) 8080147.
9. Bari Beef
Bari is a compact deli dealing in sandwiches and groceries. Customers mostly flock it for takeaway orders of its sandwiches, sides, and soups. This place is also among the popular places to which the locals turn for a tasty Chicago Italian Beef. The place uses the finest cuts and choicest morsels of beef and cooks them through slow-roasting before rolling them up in fresh-baked bread. The spices used in the beef for marinating add to the exquisite flavor of the sandwich. The place has been serving Chicago Italian Beef for more than four decades now. There are options for the seasoning of sweet peppers or hot celery. Over the years, Bari has remained a family-owned business and has maintained its reputation and customer loyalty in the city for a long time. The prices are also relatively low, making these delicious sandwiches accessible to everyone.
Their Chicago Italian Beef of standard 9-inch size is priced at 4 USD, and another variant of bigger 12-inch size is priced at 5 USD.
Bari, 1120 W Grand Ave #1, Chicago, Illinois 60642, United States
Contact Number of the Restaurant- (312) 5878910.
10. Buona Restaurants
Buona is a local food chain in Chicago known for its Italian cuisine along with Chicago Italian Beef, burgers, salads, etc. Their Italian beef sandwiches have a peppery flavor and a chewy feel due to thick slices of beef placed in subsequent layers. The different variants offer different garnishing’s like that of chopped olives, or grated cheese, or jalapenos, etc. The beef used is slow roasted in its natural juices and seasoned to taste perfect before being sliced and rolled on to the bread. The ambiance of Buona outlets is impressive and attractive, and so is their food.
The Chicago Italian Beef comes in three sizes, 5 inches, 7 inches, and 10 inches; and is priced at 5.50 USD, 6.50 USD, and 8.50 USD, respectively.
Buona, 10633 S Western Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60643, United States
Contact Number of the Restaurant- (773) 9416980.
When thinking of iconic Chicago foods, Italian beef is among the first to come to mind. Due to so much variety in terms of social and cultural components, the food in Chicago is also highly diversified yet distinct. Chicago’s cuisine ranges from local street food to international offerings and is a combination of regional and acquired specialties. The regional food is a depiction of the ethnic roots of the city and is held in place by the feeding behavior of the working class majorly. This is why Chicago has a large number of street food joints, pizzerias, etc. So, visit the place to have delicious Chicago Cuisine, more importantly, the Beef Sandwiches.