Ricobene’s | Chicago Street Food | Breaded Steak Sandwich

Review by: Michael Stern

Chicago South Side Breaded Steak Sandwich

The breaded steak sandwich is a South Side Chicago street food little known beyond the Bridgeport neighborhood. It is similar in girth to the city’s widely-beloved Italian beef sandwich. It often is similarly dressed. But the breaded steak sandwich stakes out its own place. The chef pounds a piece of skirt steak until it nearly is as thin as a potato chip. He then breads and fries it, and rolls it up inside a length of sturdy Italian bread. A spill of red sauce complements the cutlet. Now, the condiments. Topped with sweet peppers, hot peppers, or the spicy vegetable-pickle mélange known as giardiniera (and, perhaps, mozzarella cheese), you have one seriously hefty sandwich.

Only in Chicago

Only a few places continue to make a specialty of the breaded steak sandwich. One of the best-liked is Ricobene’s. It has been a favorite local institution since 1946. Now a big, modern dining room with evocative pictures of old Chicago on the walls, Ricobene’s is a fine place to eat breaded steak. It also serves good versions of many other Chicago specialties. These include red hots, Italian beef, and a curious “Vesuvio Italian Classic” sandwich. That’s a crisp, garlicky breaded chicken cutlet dressed with onions, lettuce, tomato, and mayo stuffed into a length of Italian bread. Here you have a quick-eats, street-food version of the knife-and-fork meal known in Chicago as Chicken Vesuvio.

French Fries are a Must

Alongside any exemplary Chicago street food, most of us want French fries. While you may ask to have the fries gilded with melted cheese, Ricobene’s fries are so good straight from the hot oil, they want only a sprinkle of salt. Chicago in general and Ricobene’s in particular have so many wonderful street foods to occupy one’s attention that excellent French fries are sometimes overlooked. Eat your way through a bag of Ricobene’s superb potatoes and you won’t soon forget them.

Directions & Hours

9am - 12:30am
  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 12:30 AM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 12:30 AM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 12:30 AM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 12:30 AM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 2:00 AM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM

What To Eat

Italian steak

Italian beef

French fries

Deep Dish Pizza

Breaded Steak


Ricobene’s | Chicago Street Food | Breaded Steak Sandwich Recipes


What do you think of Ricobene’s | Chicago Street Food | Breaded Steak Sandwich?

One Response to “Ricobene’s | Chicago Street Food | Breaded Steak Sandwich”

Burt Fleisher

December 20th, 2007

Riccobene’s is known as the place for the “Breaded Steak Sandwich,” a Southside original creation from the Bridgeport neighborhood. What’s special about Bridgeport? It’s the home of the White Sox and it’s the place in Chicago where the (Mayor) Daley family has its roots.

The food is simply and satisfyingly good. The famous steak sandwich is a type of milanesa commonly found in Latin America, which is based on the breaded veal cutlet (cotoletta, from Milan, Italy; cotoletta alla milanese). But these are kicked up a notch, Chicago-style of course. They have a wonderful red sauce, mozzarella cheese, and are served on an Italian bread roll (either Turanno or Gonella, I think). They are served in two sizes: regular and king. Both are huge!

One thing I never seem to see when Ricobene’s gets written up: they have one of the best Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas in the city. This is a pizza not to be missed.


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