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