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Best Italian Beef in Chicago


awbrig
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  • 4 weeks later...

Johnnie's in Elmwood Park is IT!!! I've had most around the city. (Buona, Carm's, Mr. Beef, Portillo's, + more) There really is no comparison. Better spices in the beef, much better giardinare(sp?), great sausage charcoal broiled right in front of you.

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Gotta!!! be Mr. Beef. Maybe he should be declared hors de concours, if we're doing a competition.

The sidearm on the guy at Al's is the one and only time I have ever seen a firearm.

We lived briefly at Lexington and Racine. There was a joint two or three blocks west of Racine on Taylor called Patio Barbecue. (Near the hospital district.)Maybe two tables. The sandwich was sooo close to being as Good as Mr. Beef's. Plus: they had really really good fries, which are usually an disappointing in a beef joint.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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  • 5 months later...

Quajalote and I ate at Mr. Beef today for lunch with the rest of my family. I had the combo of Chicago Italian Beef and Italian sausage in the same roll! You wouldnt think it would have worked but it did. Awesome as usual. My nephew ate his huge beef sandwich in about 2 minutes. Pretty good for 13 years old. Hey Deano, howd you like Mr Beef?

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OK

A.W. invited me to Mr. Beef today. I had a great time, but forgot to take the obligatory picture of Emory.

The Good News: This was the best Italian Beef Sandwich I have ever had. Good moist beef with a good roll, the hot peppers were tasty. I loved the dining room at Mr. Beef - one 60 foot long picnic table. They also had very good fries.

The Bad News: The Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich is not world-class. Ggive me a Chicago hot dog, Detrit Coney Island, Philly Cheese Steak, or New York Pastrami sandwich any day. My main complaint is lack of contrast. I would have liked to have some mustard, onions, or pickles on this sandwich. Also, I don't know what cut of beef they use but it's not a ribeye like a Philly Cheesesteak. The beef was kind of bland.

All in all, however, I had a really good time and enjoyed the company. If I were ever in the neighborhood I would go again, especially since they have a parking lot (value: $1,000,000?).

Let the flogging proceed.

Edited by guajolote (log)
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The Bad News: The Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich is not world-class.

Remove shirt, the cat o' nine tails is on its way. Lack of contrast, already? Very Symposium, Dean! :biggrin: Did you ask for the sweet and hots?

You shouldn't compare, G. Pastrami ain't a Chicago beef. It's good, mind you, but you aren't comparing apples and oranges.

Gad, no picture of Emory? Could stunt the kid's growth!

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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A.W. invited me to Mr. Beef today. I had a great time, but forgot to take the obligatory picture of Emory.

The Good News: This was the best Italian Beef Sandwich I have ever had. Good moist beef with a good roll, the hot peppers were tasty. I loved the dining room at Mr. Beef - one 60 foot long picnic table. 

Mr. Beef's slogan is "Home of the Elegant Dining Room." :shock:

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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The Bad News: The Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich is not world-class. Ggive me a Chicago hot dog, Detrit Coney Island, Philly Cheese Steak, or New York Pastrami sandwich any day. My main complaint is lack of contrast. I would have liked to have some mustard, onions, or pickles on this sandwich. Also, I don't know what cut of beef they use but it's not a ribeye like a Philly Cheesesteak. The beef was kind of bland.

I can sort of see where your coming from but the thing with Mr Beef is that it grows on you, it tempts you - haunts you in your dreams to come back. Once you've had a few sandwiches under your belt you will start to crave their beef and its special blend of seasonings. Im not saying that its the best sandwich in the world. But its close! :smile:

1882_1.jpg

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I've always liked restaurants that use "Mr." in the title. OK, I like the name more than the restaurant, but here's a few examples of which I'm aware:

Mr. Beef

Mr. Donut

Mr. Pizza

Mr. Greek

Any others?

Why so few "Mrs." restaurants?

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I've always liked restaurants that use "Mr." in the title.  OK, I like the name more than the restaurant, but here's a few examples of which I'm aware:

Mr. Beef

Mr. Donut

Mr. Pizza

Mr. Greek

Any others?

Why so few "Mrs." restaurants?

There was a restaurant in Mt. Prospect called "Mrs. P and Me" a few years ago...

Also, the title of the donut joint was spelled out: Mister Donut.

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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If you pull up metromix.com and search restaurants that have "Mr" in the name you get 7 pages worth of names - almost 100 restaurants in the Chicago area. If you search "Mrs" - you get only 7 restaurants that have it in their name.

http://entertainment.metromix.chicagotribu...ttributeType=52

http://entertainment.metromix.chicagotribu...ttributeType=52

Edited by awbrig (log)
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The Good News: This was the best Italian Beef Sandwich I have ever had. Good moist beef with a good roll, the hot peppers were tasty. I loved the dining room at Mr. Beef - one 60 foot long picnic table. They also had very good fries.

The Bad News: The Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich is not world-class. Ggive me a Chicago hot dog, Detrit Coney Island, Philly Cheese Steak, or New York Pastrami sandwich any day. My main complaint is lack of contrast. I would have liked to have some mustard, onions, or pickles on this sandwich. Also, I don't know what cut of beef they use but it's not a ribeye like a Philly Cheesesteak. The beef was kind of bland.

Let the flogging proceed.

Shh. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Do I hear yet another faint, but distinct sound of, of...another Mr. Beef dis from Guajolote?

I don't think it's really about having Italian beef recognized as "world-class." I hear where your going with that, but the Mr. Beef Italian Beef Sandwich really can't be quantified in those terms. Aside from the sandwich, Mr. Beef is an institution, which is far greater than the sum of its parts. Of course, its the sandwich, but it's the long picnic table, that slight hole-in-the-wall feel, and the endearing wall of fame that's lined with head shots of local "celebrities" and the shrine to Jay Leno (he's on record as a Mr. Beef fan).

...the thing with Mr. Beef is that it grows on you, it tempts you - haunts you in your dreams to come back...

Awbrig, this is probably one of the most beautiful things you have ever written (sniff). How true. Is that Mr. Beef love, or what?

One thing, no two. Mustard? Pickles? :blink: I'll give you the onions, maybe even a touch of mayonaise, but after the sweet and hot, what more is needed except a side of fries and a Coke?

Maggie, I'm afraid cat o' nines wont be enough!

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I don't think it's really about having Italian beef recognized as "world-class."  I hear where your going with that, but the Mr. Beef Italian Beef Sandwich really can't be quantified in those terms.  Aside from the sandwich, Mr. Beef is an institution, which is far greater than the sum of its parts.  Of course, its the sandwich, but it's the long picnic table, that slight hole-in-the-wall feel, and the endearing wall of fame that's lined with head shots of local "celebrities" and the shrine to Jay Leno (he's on record as a Mr. Beef fan).

And, this statement says would why you are the Goddess of the Heartlands. :wub::wub:

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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  • 1 month later...

And, this statement says would why you are the Goddess of the Heartlands.  :wub:  :wub:

I think this question has been ducked before. :cool:

Living hard will take its toll...
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Italian beef is almost unheard of here in Sioux City. I think I'm going to put it in my foodie project bin. I can easily get the necessary ingredients.

We do have one very nice, independent classical Italian restaurant here. I happened to catch a local cooking segment of the news and they showed their method of al dente pasta cooking. It was impressive. Of course some of the diners here just see the higher than normal prices for the pasta (not realizing its made daily by hand) and balk at returning. :blink:

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The best I've had has to be Al's on taylor. My only complaint about them is that every time I have turned my back they keep raising the price. In my days as a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, 1 block away, it use to be a cheap lunch but is now a bit pricey. If you go during the summer, i recomend stopping across the street at marios italian lemonaid stand for your drink first.

They also have the best fries.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Just had lunch at Al's #1 Italian Beef. Much better than Mr Beef in my opinion. The giardinara was terrific. They also made the sandwich to order. No sidearm sightings though.

Now I'm at the library in Pilsen waiting for Laura to get to Bon Bon. Picked up my Valencia rice and imported chorizo at Sam's this morning.

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Im having lunch at Portillo's tomorrow to check out their italian beef...

Anyone else have any favorites....

As much as I dislike the “Italian beef” concept Portillo’s dose a better job on beef. It is tender and flavorful without being over seasoned. Mr. Beef uses MSG and it is detracting.

Living hard will take its toll...
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  • 2 weeks later...
Johnnie's in Elmwood Park is IT!!!  I've had most around the city.  (Buona, Carm's, Mr. Beef, Portillo's,  + more)  There really is no comparison.  Better spices in the beef, much better giardinare(sp?),

Agreed!

Johnnie’s Beef

7500 W. North Ave, Elmwood Park

708-452-6000

AND there is a Johnnie's opening up on Golf Road in Arlington Hts soon.

"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all, I happened by this discussion and I'm gettin' all teary-eyed over my beloved Chicago Italian beef sandwiches. Grew up in Chicago and rarely get back from Southern California, but when I do...Ohhhhhh man! Buona Beef, Portillo's, Mr. Beef, Carm's. I try and hit 'em all.

The best I've been able to do out here is to get Boar's Head Italian beef from an Italian deli in Santa Monica, some fresh rolls, and a jar of hot giardiniera and head home. I use beef broth, some pepperocini juice and a few cut up pepperocini. Simmer until barely boiling and THEN put in the beef as to not bruise the delicate texture and taste of the beef. Fellow Chicagoans say it's damn good. I'm so proud.

All in all, I still miss the great beef joints in Chicago. Have a beef for me!!!

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