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The Italian Beef Google Map

The Italian Beef Google Map
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  • The Italian Beef Google Map

    Post #1 - January 9th, 2019, 3:14 pm
    Post #1 - January 9th, 2019, 3:14 pm Post #1 - January 9th, 2019, 3:14 pm
    Image
    Italian beef from Riviera Foods

    I'd like to share a side project of mine with LTHForum. First, a simple history. When I moved to Chicago I became somewhat obsessed with Italian beef sandwiches. Every time I tried a sandwich from a new place, I would record it in a simple spreadsheet with scores for component categories, and an overall weighted average score. Eventually the spreadsheet grew to encompass address information, and from there it was a short leap to creating the official Italian Beef Google Map, now linked here for the amusement and edification of all: https://drive.google.com/open?id=17Togo ... sp=sharing

    A few notes on methodology. Each sandwich is given a total score out of 10 based on the average score of the component categories: beef, bread, giardiniera, gravy, and construction. Each category’s score is also weighted differently to reflect my personal preference; for example, I dislike when a sandwich falls apart on the first bite, so the construction score is weighted relatively heavily. I have also included scores for fries, spiciness, and ambiance as a matter of curiosity, but these do not factor into the total score. All data and score weights are here in table form:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

    All scores are based solely on my opinion, and reflect the experiences of only one visit in the vast majority of cases. Any recommendations for new sandwiches to try are greatly appreciated! I know this is a site with perhaps the world’s most preeminent scholars of the Italian beef, so I gladly submit my research to peer review.

    Happy Beefing in 2019
    eating while walking
  • Post #2 - January 9th, 2019, 4:17 pm
    Post #2 - January 9th, 2019, 4:17 pm Post #2 - January 9th, 2019, 4:17 pm
    This is great! Thanks for sharing.
    -Mary
  • Post #3 - January 9th, 2019, 4:19 pm
    Post #3 - January 9th, 2019, 4:19 pm Post #3 - January 9th, 2019, 4:19 pm
    The GP wrote:This is great! Thanks for sharing.

    Agreed. Fucking awesome! Thank you, for sharing.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #4 - January 9th, 2019, 5:03 pm
    Post #4 - January 9th, 2019, 5:03 pm Post #4 - January 9th, 2019, 5:03 pm
    This is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    Not only is it a great resource, but makes me feel less crazy about some of the food tracking I do! :)
  • Post #5 - January 9th, 2019, 5:53 pm
    Post #5 - January 9th, 2019, 5:53 pm Post #5 - January 9th, 2019, 5:53 pm
    eating while walking wrote:Happy Beefing in 2019
    Wow de Wow wow Wow! I tip my hat to your wonderful obsessiveness.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #6 - January 9th, 2019, 7:23 pm
    Post #6 - January 9th, 2019, 7:23 pm Post #6 - January 9th, 2019, 7:23 pm
    What is the cut off score? That is, at what point is the sandwich to be avoided even if you are jonesing for an IB?
  • Post #7 - January 9th, 2019, 10:24 pm
    Post #7 - January 9th, 2019, 10:24 pm Post #7 - January 9th, 2019, 10:24 pm
    The lowest score went to Sears Corporate Cafeteria. How did you get in there to check it out?

    94 places vetted, this is grand stuff!

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - January 10th, 2019, 4:49 am
    Post #8 - January 10th, 2019, 4:49 am Post #8 - January 10th, 2019, 4:49 am
    Finally!...

    …someway to make the most important decisions in life: Where to go for lunch?

    ...something that I can believe in as a moral compass to guide me through these troubled times.

    …someone to whom I can point as proof that I am NOT the most food-obsessed person in the world.

    A tip of the hat…a bend of the knee…a hearty salute to you and much thanks for a job well done!
  • Post #9 - January 10th, 2019, 7:26 am
    Post #9 - January 10th, 2019, 7:26 am Post #9 - January 10th, 2019, 7:26 am
    Amazing. Excellent work.
  • Post #10 - January 10th, 2019, 8:03 am
    Post #10 - January 10th, 2019, 8:03 am Post #10 - January 10th, 2019, 8:03 am
    jimd wrote:Finally!...

    …someway to make the most important decisions in life: Where to go for lunch?


    “When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

    "What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

    "I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

    Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.”

    ― A.A. Milne
  • Post #11 - January 10th, 2019, 8:47 am
    Post #11 - January 10th, 2019, 8:47 am Post #11 - January 10th, 2019, 8:47 am
    scottsol wrote:What is the cut off score? That is, at what point is the sandwich to be avoided even if you are jonesing for an IB?

    Hello, I would say anything below a 5 is iffy. The markers on the map are color coded by total score. Orange is best avoided and Red should be considered actively hazardous.

    I find there is a vast middle ground of beefs that all seem to use the same prepackaged ingredients kit from Vienna or maybe Kronos. Generally you find these at hot dog stands, outdoor events, or other joints which don't specialize in IB. If you're using these prefab ingredients it's hard to score above a 6 in my book.

    Cathy2 wrote:The lowest score went to Sears Corporate Cafeteria. How did you get in there to check it out?

    Hi Cathy, I used to work out at the Hoffman Estates campus. I imagine the SHC cafeteria is on the bread-and-water meal plan now...

    To all, I'm glad my map has been useful (or at least entertaining)!
  • Post #12 - January 10th, 2019, 9:00 am
    Post #12 - January 10th, 2019, 9:00 am Post #12 - January 10th, 2019, 9:00 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    The GP wrote:This is great! Thanks for sharing.

    Agreed. Fucking awesome! Thank you, for sharing.

    =R=


    This is awesome.

    It's hard not to look at the list and mentally calculate my own scores and see where my rankings will be........I guess I now know what I will be doing the rest of the day.

    One question, for places that you have frequented more than once do you record each visit and are the posted scores based on all visits? I know from my own experiences that many of the "best" beef stands can be inconsistent, especially in terms of construction.
  • Post #13 - January 10th, 2019, 11:34 am
    Post #13 - January 10th, 2019, 11:34 am Post #13 - January 10th, 2019, 11:34 am
    I've been far and wide for many beef sandwiches over the years. This map will help me fill in a few holes but I have to tell you I can already see you are missing out on some great ones that I have been to including half of my top 10 (all of which make their own in house). PM me to discuss!
  • Post #14 - January 10th, 2019, 12:16 pm
    Post #14 - January 10th, 2019, 12:16 pm Post #14 - January 10th, 2019, 12:16 pm
    Ram4 wrote:I've been far and wide for many beef sandwiches over the years. This map will help me fill in a few holes but I have to tell you I can already see you are missing out on some great ones that I have been to including half of my top 10 (all of which make their own in house). PM me to discuss!

    Ram4 - would you consider sharing here? More data points!!
    -Mary
  • Post #15 - January 10th, 2019, 12:53 pm
    Post #15 - January 10th, 2019, 12:53 pm Post #15 - January 10th, 2019, 12:53 pm
    I love that you created and shared this map. When I open it on a Samsung tablet, though, all of the markers appear white. I can see the colors in the legend, but not on the map. Wierd. I'll try again on a computer and see what happens.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #16 - January 10th, 2019, 12:57 pm
    Post #16 - January 10th, 2019, 12:57 pm Post #16 - January 10th, 2019, 12:57 pm
    So a perfect 10 looks to be using Al's as the base after stopping in to D'Amato's, Babo's, Bari or Bombacigno's for some bread and Pop's for Giard. Of course you'd need to convince Al's to put it all together, but could be a fun experience!

    From the ranking sheet it looks like Spiciness, Fries and Ambiance don't figure into the rankings.
  • Post #17 - January 10th, 2019, 2:49 pm
    Post #17 - January 10th, 2019, 2:49 pm Post #17 - January 10th, 2019, 2:49 pm
    The next time you are out in Naperville, please check out a great up and comer...I'd love your thoughts.

    https://www.francosbeef.com/
  • Post #18 - January 10th, 2019, 2:54 pm
    Post #18 - January 10th, 2019, 2:54 pm Post #18 - January 10th, 2019, 2:54 pm
    chicagojim wrote:
    From the ranking sheet it looks like Spiciness, Fries and Ambiance don't figure into the rankings.


    As written in the initial post, “I have also included scores for fries, spiciness, and ambiance as a matter of curiosity, but these do not factor into the total score.”
  • Post #19 - January 10th, 2019, 3:45 pm
    Post #19 - January 10th, 2019, 3:45 pm Post #19 - January 10th, 2019, 3:45 pm
    HonestMan wrote:The next time you are out in Naperville, please check out a great up and comer...I'd love your thoughts.

    https://www.francosbeef.com/


    Franco's is legit.

    I'm surprised Fontano's is so poorly rated, it used to be one of the best in the Loop when it was at 20 E Jackson.
  • Post #20 - January 10th, 2019, 3:53 pm
    Post #20 - January 10th, 2019, 3:53 pm Post #20 - January 10th, 2019, 3:53 pm
    lodasi wrote:
    HonestMan wrote:The next time you are out in Naperville, please check out a great up and comer...I'd love your thoughts.

    https://www.francosbeef.com/


    Franco's is legit.
    I was hoping to go to Franco's last month when I was in the area, but I didn't have time to head over there. I hear it's great.
  • Post #21 - January 10th, 2019, 6:22 pm
    Post #21 - January 10th, 2019, 6:22 pm Post #21 - January 10th, 2019, 6:22 pm
    The GP wrote:
    Ram4 wrote:I've been far and wide for many beef sandwiches over the years. This map will help me fill in a few holes but I have to tell you I can already see you are missing out on some great ones that I have been to including half of my top 10 (all of which make their own in house). PM me to discuss!

    Ram4 - would you consider sharing here? More data points!!
    Ok :) . Check out these. I think all do great beefs.
    - Chickie's (Hillside)
    - Mr. Beef and Pizza (Dunning)
    - Pete's Red Hots (Oak Park)
    - Mama D's (Lemont)
    - Novi's (Berwyn)
    - Frangella Italian Market (Palos Park)
    - The Original Mr. Beef (Homer Glen)
    Last edited by Ram4 on January 11th, 2019, 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #22 - January 10th, 2019, 7:32 pm
    Post #22 - January 10th, 2019, 7:32 pm Post #22 - January 10th, 2019, 7:32 pm
    One of my quests is to find a beef place with fresh cut fries. Any suggestions?
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #23 - January 11th, 2019, 11:52 am
    Post #23 - January 11th, 2019, 11:52 am Post #23 - January 11th, 2019, 11:52 am
    JoelF wrote:One of my quests is to find a beef place with fresh cut fries. Any suggestions?
    No, your quest is you want a GREAT beef place with fresh cut fries. :wink:
    - Al's (Little Italy)
    - Frannie's (Schiller Park)
    - Bob O's Hot Dogs (Dunning)
    - Chickie's (Hillside)
    - Novi's (Berwyn)
  • Post #24 - January 11th, 2019, 12:24 pm
    Post #24 - January 11th, 2019, 12:24 pm Post #24 - January 11th, 2019, 12:24 pm
    Try a great beef in Arlington Heights.

    http://bigangeseatery.com/
  • Post #25 - January 11th, 2019, 5:14 pm
    Post #25 - January 11th, 2019, 5:14 pm Post #25 - January 11th, 2019, 5:14 pm
    thetrob wrote:This is awesome.
    It's hard not to look at the list and mentally calculate my own scores and see where my rankings will be........I guess I now know what I will be doing the rest of the day.
    One question, for places that you have frequented more than once do you record each visit and are the posted scores based on all visits? I know from my own experiences that many of the "best" beef stands can be inconsistent, especially in terms of construction.

    If I go to a joint more than once I just replace the old score with the new one. I wish I had originally thought to put dates of visit on all entries but alas, that data is lost to time… :(

    HonestMan wrote:The next time you are out in Naperville, please check out a great up and comer...I'd love your thoughts.
    https://www.francosbeef.com/

    Ram4 wrote:Check out these. I think all do great beefs.
    - Chickie's (Hillside)
    - Mr. Beef and Pizza (Dunning)
    - Pete's Red Hots (Oak Park)
    - Mama D's (Lemont)
    - Novi's (Berwyn)
    - Frangella Italian Market (Palos Park)
    - The Original Mr. Beef (Homer Glen)

    Thanks for the recs! I’ll check them out when I can get out to the burbs. I am also especially looking for South Side and Southwest side beef recs as you see on the map my roster is pretty thin.

    JoelF wrote:One of my quests is to find a beef place with fresh cut fries. Any suggestions?

    I don’t usually order fries, but as Ram4 says, I find the Al’s franchises to have consistently good fresh cut double fries. As for Frannie’s, the first time I went there I saw the workers manhandling a giant block of white stuff into the fryer so I’m pretty sure they cook in either lard or shortening. Either way their fries and beef are fantastic.
  • Post #26 - January 11th, 2019, 11:25 pm
    Post #26 - January 11th, 2019, 11:25 pm Post #26 - January 11th, 2019, 11:25 pm
    The map doesn’t seem to work on my iPad. Anyone else have the same issue?
  • Post #27 - January 12th, 2019, 12:21 am
    Post #27 - January 12th, 2019, 12:21 am Post #27 - January 12th, 2019, 12:21 am
    I'll second the motion for Bob-O's regarding the combination of great Italian Beef and Fresh Cut Fries. My feeling is, Johnnie's may make the best beef, but they fall way short in the Fries department. Al's comes in a close second, and has Fresh Cut Fries, but frankly, their Giardiniera is bland and uninteresting. OTOH, Bob-O's is consistently in the top three for high quality Beef, they serve Fresh Cut Fries, and they serve an excellent Giardiniera. Trifecta!

    Buddy
  • Post #28 - January 12th, 2019, 1:51 am
    Post #28 - January 12th, 2019, 1:51 am Post #28 - January 12th, 2019, 1:51 am
    This is an impressive Google™ Document. I will add it, and the corresponding map, to my regular bookmark page darned soon - but I will run them through a URL shortener for ease of typography. :o
    Do you have a character or symbol to indicate which italian beef stands have closed? I.E.: I saw Joe Boston's (Grand | Chicago) on the roster. {Doh. It displays (CLOSED) in the first column. :oops:}
    One element I do not glimpse is the definition of “Standard” in 'Giard Type'. Could you please inform us?
    Last edited by pudgym29 on January 12th, 2019, 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    The links you can use, without the fluff, or sales pitch: http://208.84.112.25/~pudgym29/bookmark4.html
  • Post #29 - January 12th, 2019, 5:17 am
    Post #29 - January 12th, 2019, 5:17 am Post #29 - January 12th, 2019, 5:17 am
    ld111134 wrote:The map doesn’t seem to work on my iPad. Anyone else have the same issue?


    Put your finger on the link and hold it there until a menu appears. Tap on ‘Open in new tab’ and the map will open in a new tab and it will work. If you simply tap on the link, it will not work.
  • Post #30 - January 12th, 2019, 11:39 am
    Post #30 - January 12th, 2019, 11:39 am Post #30 - January 12th, 2019, 11:39 am
    lsher wrote:Try a great beef in Arlington Heights.

    http://bigangeseatery.com/
    This place looks pretty good. Is the beef made in house?

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