Italian Beef

A shaft of muscular bread filled with thin-sliced beef in garlicky natural gravy, Italian Beef is the king of street food in Chicago but virtually nonexistent elsewhere. Many joints that serve it provide a chest-high counter for customers to stand, unwrap the butcher paper it comes packaged in, and ingest lunch. Italian beef shops rarely have menus and order-takers are famously brusque, so it is important to know the lingo before ordering. These are a few vital terms: Double dipped: a request for the entire sandwich to be momentarily submerged in gravy after it is assembled. Dry: a request for the server to pluck a heap of beef from the pan with tongs and let excess juice drip away before inserting it into the bread. Hot: spicy pickled-vegetable relish called giardiniera is applied. Sweet: a garnish of roasted red and or green peppers. Combo: add of a length of charcoal-cooked Italian sausage.

Restaurants With This Dish

Gravy-sopped Italian beef piled into a length of bread with spicy vegetable giardiniera
Mr. Beef | A Chicago Street Food Best: Italian Beef Sandwich


Eggplant baked around seasoned veal, topped with melted cheese, in a pool of fruity tomato sauce
Freddy’s Pizzeria


Corned Beef Factory Sandwich Shop - Tom & Jerry Reuben
Corned Beef Factory Sandwich Shop


Stanley’s Tavern


Harry Caray’s - Chicken Vesuvio
Harry Caray’s | Chicago’s Best Italian Steak House


Charlie the Butcher



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