Al’s #1 Italian Beef

Hamburgers | Hot Dog | Sandwich Shop | Street Food
Memorable
One of the best
Save

The strangest thing about Al’s #1 Italian Beef at the corner of Wells and Ontario is that there is table seating. The original Al’s out on Taylor Street has high counters on which to lean one’s elbows while ingesting a sandwich, thus preventing drippage on shirt and lap. Here, you sit on a chair and eat off the table; and no matter how many napkins you take and no matter how far forward you lean, it is inevitable that shreds of beef and spills of giardiniera will fall onto your clothing.

Al’s beef is sliced so thin and is so tender that it verges on being hash. Piled into a length of bread and even momentarily “dipped” (immersed in natural gravy), it becomes an unbelievably juicy dish, so moist that bun disintegration begins even as the sandwich gets wrapped in butcher paper. When you unwrap it at the table (or, heaven forbid, on the front seat of your car), out drips that gravy; and if you have ordered it with lip-tingling-hot giardiniera, that spills out, too. What a delicious combination!

Al’s French fries are some of the best in this city with the very highest French-fry standards. Each serving is a wildly diverse cornucopia of crunchy potato twigs and cream-centered spud logs, some encrusted with skin, all fairly bursting with flavor and vibrantly pre-salted.

What to Eat
Al’s #1 Italian Beef, Italian Beef
Italian Beef
Must-Try
A 6' with hot peppers, a 6' with sweet peppers, cheese fries and onion rings. Both sandwiches equally delicious - just depends on your heat meter - fries perfectly covered with ooey cheese and onion rings were nice and crunchy. A definite must eat when traveling to Chicago!
Al’s #1 Italian Beef, Combo
Combo
Must-Try
Al's combo: you cannot see the taut, full-flavored Italian sausage buried underneath the beef and giardiniera in this sandwich, but it is a significant presence. No one ever nominated Chicago's Italian beef as one of the prettiest foods, but to those who know and love it, there is nothing more beautiful than this sandwich's exquisite combination of flavors and textures.
Al’s #1 Italian Beef, French Fries
French Fries
Must-Try
Aside from those at the annual Minnesota Fair, America's best French fries are in Chicago; and Al's serves some of the best of the best. No matter what else you get, you MUST have these. While they are available topped with cheese and/or chili, I recommend them au naturel.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday12pm - 5pm
Monday10am - 6pm
Tuesday10am - 6pm
Wednesday10am - 6pm
Thursday10am - 6pm
Friday10am - 6pm
Saturday10am - 6pm
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
6 stops | 30 MILES | 1 hr 10 min

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…

Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
Yes
Website

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Mr. Beef

    Chicago, Illinois

    Mr. Beef is one of Chicago’s premier sources of the sloppy, big-flavored Italian beef sandwich. Add spicy giardiniera as a condiment.

  • Merichka’s

    Crest Hill, Illinois

    Saturday-night splurge meals are Merichka’s specialty, but the Roadfood lure is Poor Boy Steak — an under-$10 sandwich sopped with margarine & garlic.

  • Johnnie’s

    Elmwood Park, Illinois

    Is this the best Chicago sandwich ever? Johnnie’s Italian beef delivers juicy garlic kick; add vibrant giardiniera and you’ll hear angels sing.

  • Paradise Pup

    Des Plaines, Illinois

    Char-grilled burgers and fries topped with Merkts cheddar cheese as well as classic Chicago red hots make Paradise Pup a best bet.

  • Vienna Beef Factory Store and Café

    Chicago, Illinois

    A Vienna Beef workers’ cafeteria open to the public. Chicago dogs are perfect and fresh. Corned beef sandwiches are piled high on good rye.

  • Tempo Café

    Chicago, Illinois

    Tempo is a 24/7 Chicago cafe with a full menu. It is best known for mighty omelets served in silver skillets on wooden trivets.