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Chicago Italian Beef


More New-World than Old-Country, the Italian beef sandwich was invented on Chicago's near West Side and it has become a city signature dish as beloved as red hots. It is a heap of thinly sliced beef, sopped with garlicky natural gravy, sandwiched inside a sturdy length of Italian bread. Customers choose how drippy they want it – the whole sandwich can be submerged in gravy – and also exactly how to dress it. The two popular garnishes are roasted peppers or the spicy vegetable mélange known as giardiniera; and it is not uncommon for connoisseurs to ask for a length of charcoal-cooked sausage to be sandwiched in with the beef.

Max's Italian Beef
Johnnie's
Vienna Beef Factory Store and Café
Mr. Beef
Al's #1 Italian Beef
Ricobene's
Uncle Johnny's Grocery
Max's Italian Beef - Chicago , IL
Beef "sweet" and "wet" gets heaped with roasted peppers; the server takes the whole sandwich and dips it into natural gravy. It becomes so juicy that it is virtually impossible to eat without major disintegration. Ghetto fries are a cardboard trough of potatoes topped with barbecue sauce, raw onions, cheese, and giardiniera.
Johnnie's - Elmwood Park , IL
Is this the ultimate Chicago sandwich? The beef is just garlicky enough to halo its protein magnitude, and if you get a combo, the tender beef is balanced by sausage that is dense, taut, and chewy. Add some of Johnnie's vibrant giardiniera and you will hear angels sing.
Vienna Beef Factory Store and Café - Chicago , IL
Vienna Beef operates a workers' cafeteria that's open to the public. The Chicago dogs are notable for the absolute sparkling freshness of the toppings; everything is in perfect, crisp condition, the poppy seed roll is soft and fresh, and the franks themselves are of course at their best here at the factory.
Mr. Beef - Chicago , IL
Mr. Beef is one of Chicago's premier sources of the great, sloppy and delicious Italian beef sandwich: shaved-thin beef, saturated with garlicky au jus, piled into a sturdy length of bread. Have spicy giardiera as a condiment; and if you are really hungry, add a length of crusty Italian sausage to the beef.
Al's #1 Italian Beef - Chicago , IL
No matter how many napkins you take and no matter how far forward you lean, shreds of beef and spills of giardiniera will fall onto your clothing. Wear the drippage like a badge of honor! Al's beef is sliced so thin and is so tender that it verges on being hash. Al's French fries are some of the best in this city.
Ricobene's - Chicago , IL
Here's an opportunity to eat great versions of many of Chicago's casual specialties, including the breaded steak sandwich, red hots, Italian beef, and a sandwich version of the city specialty, chicken Vesuvio.
Uncle Johnny's Grocery - Chicago , IL
At this old-school neighborhood grocery, the Italian beef is roasted on premises, making for some of the city's best beef sandwiches; and the breaded steak sandwich -- a specialty unique to this Chicago neighborhood -- sets the benchmark.

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