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The Best Italian Beef Sandwiches in Chicago

Daniel Zemans 30 comments

I set out to sample 11 different Italian Beefs with three friends. We came with eager stomachs and a fairly wide array of experience. I've been eating the sandwiches for at least 25 years. At each stop, we each ate about three inches of a sandwich, each of which was topped with giardiniera and dipped in the thin gravy. Our goal wasn't to crown the best Italian Beef in the city—that cannot be done in just one day. Find out the results. Spoiler: it's not Al's. More

Six Delis in One Day: Finding the Best Italian Sub in Chicago

Robyn Lee 6 comments

Where's the best Italian sub in Chicago? Nick Kindelsperger, Blake Royer, and Daniel Zemans go on a five-hour, six-deli tour to find out. More

Standing Room Only: Hannah's Bretzel

Standing Room Only Nick Kindelsperger 9 comments

Chicago's Loop is a wasteland of major chains, overpriced diners, and endless buffet lines. But among the dreck you'll find Hannah's Bretzel, serving sandwiches on "bretzel" baguettes. More

Standing Room Only: Al's #1 Italian Beef

Standing Room Only Nick Kindelsperger 13 comments

"It's not everyone's favorite beef, but it just happens to be mine." Al's #1 Italian Beef 1079 W. Taylor Street, Chicago IL 60607 (map); 312-226-4017 The Short Order: The original Italian beef, in all its tender glory. Want Fries with... More

Standing Room Only: Alpine Food Shop

Standing Room Only Nick Kindelsperger 4 comments

"This handmade sub is the kind that most neighborhoods would dream of having. It's the anti-Subway." [Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger] Alpine Food Shop 7538 W. North Ave., Elmwood Park IL 60707 (map); 708-453-3505; alpinefoodshop.com The Short Order: Family-run Italian deli with... More

Standing Room Only: Pop's Italian Beef

Standing Room Only Nick Kindelsperger 4 comments

"This impossibly tender beef is one of the best I've sampled in Chicago." [Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger] Pop's Italian Beef 10337 South Kedzie Avenue, Chicago IL 60655 (map); 773-239-1243 The Short Order: Succulent Italian beef with crunchy giardineria . Want Fries... More

Standing Room Only: Scatchell's Beef and Pizza

Standing Room Only Nick Kindelsperger 3 comments

Don't come here for the pizza. Come for one of the best Italian beef sandwiches in Chicago. [Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger] Scatchell's Beef & Pizza 4700 W. Cermak Road, Cicero IL 60804 (map); 708-656-0911 The Short Order: Thinly sliced Italian Beef... More

Standing Room Only: Red Hen Bread

Standing Room Only Nick Kindelsperger 8 comments

"What really sets Red Hen apart is how they manage to pair each ingredient with a particular type of bread." [Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger] Red Hen Bread 1623 N. Milwaukee, Chicago IL 60647 (map); 773-342-6823‎ The Short Order: Sandwiches where the... More

Standing Room Only: Nhu' Lan Bakery

Standing Room Only Nick Kindelsperger 4 comments

The best bánh mì in Chicago? [Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger] Nhu' Lan Bakery 2612 W. Lawrence, Chicago IL 60625 (map); 773-878-9898 The Short Order: Freshly baked bread and perfect bánh mì. Want Fries with That? Nope, but some shrimp chips are... More

Standing Room Only: Tropi Cuban

Standing Room Only Nick Kindelsperger 8 comments

"It's one of the best sandwiches you can get in Chicago for under $4." [Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger] Tropi Cuban 3000 W. Lyndale Street, Chicago IL 60647 (map); 773-252-0230 The Short Order: Friendly stand in Cuban grocery store, with incredible Cuban... More

Standing Room Only: Roma's Italian Beef & Sausage

Standing Room Only Nick Kindelsperger 1 comment

[Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger] Roma's Italian Beef & Sausage 4237 N. Cicero Avenue, Chicago IL 60641 (map); 773-725-5715 The Short Order: Perfectly executed Italian beef and Italian sausage combo. Want Fries with That? Fries are standard. Want Ketchup? Maybe for... More

Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi from Nhu Lan Bakery in Chicago

Michael Nagrant 1 comment

"The tofu...looks and texturally feels almost like the tender ribeye on a Philly cheesesteak." [Photograph: Michael Nagrant] I've finally found a reason to stop making fun of vegetarians and to become one myself: lemongrass tofu banh mi at Nhu Lan,... More

Standing Room Only: Susie's Drive Thru

Standing Room Only Nick Kindelsperger 12 comments

"Susie's is a veritable wonderland of grease and the only advice I have is to submit." [Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger] Susie's Drive Thru 4126 W. Montrose Avenue, Chicago IL 60641; 773-283-6544‎ The Short Order: Eclectic diner fare, with incredible milkshakes. Want... More

Standing Room Only: Bari Foods

Standing Room Only Nick Kindelsperger 16 comments

"It's a nearly perfect Italian sandwich." [Photographs: Nick Kindelsperger] Bari Foods 1120 W Grand Avenue, Chicago IL 60622 (map) The Short Order: Perfectly proportioned Italian sub with spicy giardiniera Want Fries with That? Nope. Just pick up some chips on... More

Standing Room Only: Chicago's Cafe Marianao

Standing Room Only Nick Kindelsperger 7 comments

Standing Room Only, in which the author visits Chicago's best seatless eateries. Have at it, Nick. Previously on SRO Italian Beef at Chickie's Jimmy's Red Hots I must have walked by Cafe Marianao a few dozen times in the past... More

Serious Sandwiches: Johnnie's Combo Beef, Chicago

Michael Nagrant 9 comments

I know, with so many new restaurants opening each day and so many tasty leads to follow, sometimes I take the local food icons here in Chicago for granted. I even forsake them occasionally. But, with so many fanny pack clad tourists descending on our city in search of salad dogs, deep dish pizza, and the Italian beef, I don't really think they need me. More

Serious Sandwiches: Rosario's Italian Sausage

Michael Nagrant 1 comment

Rosario's has a serious pig problem. There are little porky tchotchkes on the counter, statues of swine behind the counter, and a few huge piggy bank–looking porkers above the freezer case. Even the neon sign on the front of the... More

Serious Sandwiches: The Bari Italian

Michael Nagrant 6 comments

It would seem that a man who wore a Jason (of Friday the 13th) mask for a living and took more than a few discs of frozen rubber to the head during his career isn't the best person to take... More

Serious Sandwiches: The Marky B from Jerry's

Michael Nagrant 3 comments

Jerry's has a hundred and twenty plus signature sandwiches named after musicians, cartoon characters, customers, and pop culture icons. Given the wide choice, the journalist in me yearns to work through each and every one of them. But, while... More

Serious Sandwiches: Raving Over Ropa Vieja at El Cubanito

Michael Nagrant 3 comments

Photograph courtesy of Ron Kaplan It's often said Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. Taking it a step further, it's also a city of sandwiches, as each of those neighborhoods, whether it's the Will Special in Dunning, Al's Italian... More

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