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Best Italian Beef

Best Italian Beef
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  • Post #841 - September 13th, 2019, 8:39 am
    Post #841 - September 13th, 2019, 8:39 am Post #841 - September 13th, 2019, 8:39 am
    Freddy's looks to be a little light on the beef. The Mr. D's beef is swimming in beautiful juices. Man, the itch.
  • Post #842 - September 13th, 2019, 8:44 am
    Post #842 - September 13th, 2019, 8:44 am Post #842 - September 13th, 2019, 8:44 am
    Puckjam wrote:Freddy's looks to be a little light on the beef. The Mr. D's beef is swimming in beautiful juices. Man, the itch.

    A perfect balance of bread, beef. Not overloaded, falling out/apart.

    With the 10” sandwich, probably the same amount of beef.

    Beef, sliced, briefly cooked in au jus, prepared to order. You will have to wait a moment...

    I’ll challenge you to find fresher. :)
    Last edited by Panther in the Den on September 14th, 2019, 6:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #843 - September 13th, 2019, 12:57 pm
    Post #843 - September 13th, 2019, 12:57 pm Post #843 - September 13th, 2019, 12:57 pm
    Freddy's is another that has been on my radar but I've missed. Last time I was in Cicero my friends and I went to Scatchell's, Hawthorne for harness racing and then Villa Nova for late night sausage pizza. Thanks for the FB group tip Panther.
  • Post #844 - November 25th, 2019, 9:30 am
    Post #844 - November 25th, 2019, 9:30 am Post #844 - November 25th, 2019, 9:30 am
    In town on business last week. Drove down so hit Johnnies on North for lunch Friday. Beautiful IB with hot. Man that was good. Hungry enough to also partake in the pepper and egg with sausage. Good stuff. Smooth operation here.
  • Post #845 - November 25th, 2019, 9:58 am
    Post #845 - November 25th, 2019, 9:58 am Post #845 - November 25th, 2019, 9:58 am
    Hungry enough to also partake in the pepper and egg with sausage.


    This cracked me up. Was also there on Friday, and I don't know what they were doing, but the combo was better than ever. I remarked to my dining partner that, "the only mistake I made was not ordering two"!
    "Living well is the best revenge"
  • Post #846 - November 25th, 2019, 11:20 am
    Post #846 - November 25th, 2019, 11:20 am Post #846 - November 25th, 2019, 11:20 am
    Ram4 wrote:Freddy's is another that has been on my radar but I've missed. Last time I was in Cicero my friends and I went to Scatchell's, Hawthorne for harness racing and then Villa Nova for late night sausage pizza. Thanks for the FB group tip Panther.

    Sausage as big as meatballs :)

    FB7C2795-32BC-48C4-8A86-3C5C222FDCB8.jpeg

    Pursuit wrote:
    Hungry enough to also partake in the pepper and egg with sausage.


    This cracked me up. Was also there on Friday, and I don't know what they were doing, but the combo was better than ever. I remarked to my dining partner that, "the only mistake I made was not ordering two"!

    It is a fantastic beef but maybe the skimpiest for the price. You need two to get a full beefs worth. :0

    Unlike the beef I had at...

    Novi's Beef
    6746 Ogden Ave, Berwyn

    ... a week or so ago. So full it is as a challenge to pick up and eat. Classic old school flavor you’d expect from a place around since, well forever.

    6A3C1766-FC7E-4983-8B12-C19F0E4CE424.jpeg
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #847 - November 28th, 2019, 10:40 pm
    Post #847 - November 28th, 2019, 10:40 pm Post #847 - November 28th, 2019, 10:40 pm
    If you know near where I live, it is close to Cicero Ave. The address I give to Google™ is 4760 W. Belmont Ave., 60641.
    Which of course, is not my address. It is close, but it is not even in the same Chicago ward as I. {Let's hear it for gerrymandering! :P}
    So when I catch a CTA bus out of here, one of my top routes is going south on Cicero (Route #54 Cicero ~ I have testified [via correspondence] to the CTA Transit Board that it should revive the #X54 Cicero Express route on weekdays). The transfer point at Cicero & Cermak (22nd St.) is one block away from Scatchell's. From there, I can catch the Pink Line “L” train toward downtown (although there is also one intriguing bar, The Barrel, at Damen & the Pink Line), the Pace route #302 to Flapjack Brwy. in Berwyn {Berwyn :?: :wink:}, which also connects to the Pace route #330 at La Grange Road for Casciani's Pizzeria [Italian Beef] which I can bring to Blue Nose Brwy. further along East Ave. in Hodgkins, or the Metra BNSF train to a number of breweries or beer bars (including the one in Downers Grove which was Argus Brwg.'s first account) in Westmont, Downers Grove, Naperville, or Aurora.
    I think Scatchell's Italian Beef is another one of my favorites, and its hot pepper mix is a lot more inclusive of capers and giardinara than Mr. Beef on Orleans' {Why does it charge extra :?: :(}. So if I am not going to Casciani's, I will load my stomach with a Scatchell's Italian Beef (and its french fries are also to my preference)(Mr. Beef's french fries - no).
    What I was stressing is that, if the pepper mix (hot or sweet) is so critical to the taste of your Italian Beef sandwich, :arrow: raise the sandwich price 50-90¢ and cease jerking us all around for the 'mandatory option'.
    (Hypothetically heard at an Italian Beef stand :wink: : "What do you mean, “Cash only”?
    - This ATM is a {bleep}ing rip-off!
    ")
    The links you can use, without the fluff, or sales pitch: http://208.84.112.25/~pudgym29/bookmark4.html
  • Post #848 - November 29th, 2019, 12:27 pm
    Post #848 - November 29th, 2019, 12:27 pm Post #848 - November 29th, 2019, 12:27 pm
    Had the opportunity to chat on the phone with Chris Pacelli, grandson of one of the founders of Al's Beef. Here's a portion of the transcript that might be illuminating/entertaining for those who enjoy Italian beef and the history of that sandwich in Chicago:

    “Italians, in the Thirties, late Twenties, there were all kinds of gamblers, half-assed Mafia guys and stuff. My uncle Al was involved in all that, a gambler, dis dat. Well, he gets in trouble, has to go to jail, comes out of jail and starts driving a truck, Then his friend says, ‘let’s open up a bookie place.’ So my uncle says, ‘Well, I got an idea for a front. Why don’t I do beef sandwiches, and I’ll sell them like a front.’

    "Anyway, a lot of these beef places – like Carm’s and Mr. Beef – they all started out because of gambling. All these beef stands started because of my uncle. They were gamblers, and they saw him making money, cash money, and they figured that’s an easy way to make money and still gamble. They needed a source of money and instead of stealing they sold beef.”
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #849 - November 29th, 2019, 5:31 pm
    Post #849 - November 29th, 2019, 5:31 pm Post #849 - November 29th, 2019, 5:31 pm
    While it was open for 50 years, if you ever walked into the tiny Vittori Sandwich Shop at Taylor and May, and saw the old man Bart sitting in the back room by the the gas-burning heater, you might think what Al's relative was telling David is pretty accurate. Lotta numbers going on in that room in the past, policy, etc. You wanted to hang out there.

    Oh, I loved those beefs and combos back in the day. Similar to Al's (esp. the giardiniera) but on a skinny, long Italian roll. Subs were incredible too. Bart was a good dude.
  • Post #850 - December 2nd, 2019, 12:00 pm
    Post #850 - December 2nd, 2019, 12:00 pm Post #850 - December 2nd, 2019, 12:00 pm
    I miss Vittori's. Went to St Ignatius in the early 80s and it was our go to spot. Much better than Al's. For a short time in the late 80s they had locations on south Cicero in Oak Lawn and on Ogden In Downers Grove. Beef with hot or the Bart Special were the two best sandwiches of my teenage years.
  • Post #851 - December 2nd, 2019, 2:17 pm
    Post #851 - December 2nd, 2019, 2:17 pm Post #851 - December 2nd, 2019, 2:17 pm
    metro man wrote:Beef with hot or the Bart Special were the two best sandwiches of my teenage years.
    I recall it being called the Super Bart, but it's a memory from maybe 22-24 years ago.

    Best thing about Vittori's was how thoroughly anti-Al's they were with regard to ethos, the opposite of the expansion/franchising that has taken place.
  • Post #852 - December 3rd, 2019, 10:16 pm
    Post #852 - December 3rd, 2019, 10:16 pm Post #852 - December 3rd, 2019, 10:16 pm
    I too went to Ignatius (but in the 90s) and remember Vittori fondly. There was a healthy debate about whether Al’s or Vittori was better, and each had its proponents. I happened to be an Al’s guy, but appreciated Vittori quite a bit, not the least of which because of the price - it probably cost half of the price for a regular Al’s beef for one of those long-ass Vittori’s beefs. Interestingly, I remember people buying Fritos and pouring them on the top of Vittori’s beefs - to soak up some of the red oil, I suppose.

    It wasn’t quite the 20s or 30s, but Taylor was definitely different back then. The Nut House across the street from Al’s was interesting. Ali’s sub shop across from there, and the downstairs pizza place with bready slices just a bit west of that corner (Aberdeen). Projects across Racine but then Patio and the old Pompei on Loomis. Really good after school food options, and of course Mario’s in May/August.
  • Post #853 - December 6th, 2019, 8:07 pm
    Post #853 - December 6th, 2019, 8:07 pm Post #853 - December 6th, 2019, 8:07 pm
    Ram4 wrote:Frannie's has a very good beef. With Mr. Beef and Pizza, Bob-O's, Frannie's, and Jay's in that NW side area, you have four solid options.
    Ram4, you mention Mr. Beef and Pizza on Harlem a few times in this thread. Admittedly I was skeptical but stopped in for a quicky late lunch. Fries, so-so, counter service, so-so, ate in-house and managed to drop my soda, clumsy me, and ended up having a nice chat with the friendly interactive manager who confirmed Mr. Beef and Pizza Harlem is now an entity all to itself.

    The beef you babbling idiot, how was the Italian Beef? Very good, surprisingly good, tender, juicy, subtle spicing, slightly fatty in a good way with mild/medium crunchy made in-house giardiniera dipped to the point of barely holding together. I liked it, ate it with enough gusto to consider ordering another, but did not.

    MrBeefPizzaP3.jpg Image more delicious than it appears. Mr. Beef and Pizza on Harlem, Italian Beef


    Mr. Beef and Pizza on Harlem, Italian Beef, count me a Fan!

    Mr. Beef and Pizza
    3917 N Harlem Ave
    Chicago, IL 60634
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #854 - December 7th, 2019, 11:06 am
    Post #854 - December 7th, 2019, 11:06 am Post #854 - December 7th, 2019, 11:06 am
    Yeah, Mr. Beef and Pizza has been a lock in my top 5 for many years. While the fries are no big deal, they still hit the spot when fresh and crisp. Hard to resist a slice of pizza every time I go there. I like the old rock and roll theme too.

    Funny you were there because yesterday I was nearby at the place you recommended for the beef - Mr. D's (for my second visit). I took my brother for his maiden voyage, and he went for a steak sandwich which he loved even though he was given raw onion instead of the grilled he asked for. We both asked for our fries to be crispy and they were great. As for my beef it was just like the first time - about as good as you could get. This place was an instant addition to my (as DaBeef called his) starting five beef joints. Had a nice chat with the family after the meal including John the son. He may always look like his pissed off, but he's a really nice guy to talk to! They were appreciative of people recommending the restaurant but are wary of explosive growth alienating the regular customers. I let them know (as many have) how it's great that they take the time to cook everything to order including each order of fries.

    I guess I forgot to mention that in October I finally made it Freddy's Pizza (twice) and had a beef each time as well as a different slice of margherita pizza each time. The pizza was amazing and fresh out of the oven close to noon. The beef was yet another winner and one of the best around. I also hit Marco's Beef for the first time and that was yet another great beef, though a little below Mr. D's and Freddy's on my visit as it was a little dry. I'd go back for sure. Bubby's Beef in Elk Grove on Higgins next to Malnati's was very good and Franco's of Naperville was a miss and overrated online but I could understand why. I can't imagine people out in Naperville getting to places like Mr. D's, Mr. Beef and Pizza, Scatchell's, etc so they have nothing to compare to other than what's out there.
  • Post #855 - 4 minutes ago
    Post #855 - 4 minutes ago Post #855 - 4 minutes ago
    Thanks to @Ram4 for tipping me off to Pete's Red Hot in Cicero. They're serving up a very good sandwich with homemade beef and gravy:
    Image
    What I liked is that the beef is sliced very thin to the point of being semi shredded. I feel like this is almost a prerequisite to have a really good Italian beef as it helps tenderize a tough cut of meat. The gravy at Pete's is also very flavorful and rich with beef fat - clearly homemade. The only real drawback is that it's a bit too salty and that's coming from a salt lover. But that is something that can vary a lot from day to day even at the same stand (like the gravy evaporates too much, etc) so not a big deal. Good sandwich overall.

    Less good was Lucky Dog just down the street. Their beef is also thin sliced (good) but kinda dry with a cottony texture (bad). And their gravy tastes like it's made from bouillon cubes. I will say in their favor the bread is toasted to a nice crisp on the outside, which is something I wish more places did. Not a terrible sandwich but Pete's just down Roosevelt is a better choice.
    Image

    Pete's Red Hots
    6346 Roosevelt Rd, Oak Park, IL 60304

    Lucky Dog
    6043 Roosevelt Rd, Cicero, IL 60804

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