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[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Ready for another Chicago sandwich classic? Follow me to the northeast corner of Bridgeport, where a sliver of 26th Street is cut off from the rest of the neighborhood by ten lanes of I-90/94. There you'll find Ricobene's, an enormous quick-service Italian restaurant famous for serving a breaded steak sandwich, which is exactly what it sounds like. Beef is breaded and fried, stuffed into a roll, and doused in an herby tomato sauce.

I first learned about this beast from Kevin Hickey, who vouched for it in his neighborhood guide of Bridgeport. But the Allium chef also hinted at its size when he casually mentioned that he's "only allowed to go once a year." No joke. Like all great Chicago sandwich originals, it's a massive mess.

Take a minute to admire the big glorious feast before digging in—for some reason the sauce is so molten you're likely to burn your tongue. Luckily, enjoying it requires no instructions. Either the crunchy fillets and assertive sauce hits some gut-busting pleasure button in your belly or it doesn't. Like Hickey, this is the kind of yearly tradition I could get into, though definitely remember to add some giardiniera on top.

Ricobene's

252 West 26th Street, Chicago, IL 60616 (map)
312-225-5555
ricobenespizza.com‎

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