Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Apr 26, 2008 06:17 PM

Italian Beef

I'll be in chicago at the end of June and I want a good beef sandwich. Where should I go? We have Lukes of Chicago here in Arizona and I've never had a better beef. They used to be in the greater Chicago land area but sold the business but not the recipe. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you're looking for a chain restaurant, Portillo's has a very good beef. If you're looking for a small hole in the wall, then try Paradise Pup in Des Plaines. Not only is their beef very good but they might possibly have the best cheddar burger around.

    2 Replies
    1. re: HungryZ

      Never mind the suburban wannabes or the spiffied up chains. The best here is going to be a hole-in-the-wall. Mr. Beef on Orleans is the best in the city. For the original, you'll wanna go out to Johnny's Beef on North Avenue in Elmwood Park. Get the hot peppers.

      1. re: chicgail

        I agree that Mr. Beef CAN be one of the best (though it still falls short of Johnnie's, Pop's and Chickies before the sale, to my tastes), but I wouldn't recommend it to somebody who's visiting (unless IAMMAC is planning on going to a few different places). Mr. Beef is great when they're on, but they've become horribly inconsistent in recent years. Inconsistency is an issue at just about any beef stand, but Mr. Beef has really taken it to new levels. I've had stupendous sandwiches and flat-out awful sandwiches in the same week... to say nothing of their practice of sometimes serving premade sandwiches that have been sitting on the counter wrapped up for who knows how long. If I'm in the heart of the city, I do Tore's or Boston's instead (I'm not an Al's guy, but I realize they're a love it or hate it place).

    2. ahhh, johnny's beef......i grew up so close to that one.

      i used to order it "wet." definitely hot peppers....definitely.

      1. One of my favorites is at Tore's on the corner of Western, Diversey and Elston. Although it's alluring to get a 1/2 price slice woith your beef, don't do it. Their pizza is not very good. They use scala beef, shaved, not too salty, and SIZZLIN hot giardiniera. Fries are the frozen, thinly cut mcdonalds type, but I still like em enough. I like the fact that the beef and "gravy" isn't overly salty, so the saltiness of the peppers + the beef doesn't result in one giant sodium bomb. For me, Tore's has a darn near perfect flavor profile. Not too salty, tender, beefy beef, and HOT giardiniera. (Forehead sweat giardiniera.) I think Johnnie's beef is just ok, but their combos are more special than their beefs. I'm not even much of an Italian sausage lover, but Johnnie's char-grilled sausage is something special.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gordeaux

          I'll try them all and give a report of my findings! Thanks to all.

          1. re: IAMMAC

            Max's on Western Ave it the best beef by far

        2. Nobody's mentioned Al's yet, so I will. Mario's Italian Ice will be right across the street and open by June:

          1. I grew up a block behind Chickies, on harding street, we used to get the gravies for $0.79 at the time man where they good, I am biased so I'll say Chickies is the best, but you can also try Jackies on 55th and Pulaski it grew on me when I moved out of "la villita", "la veinteseis", or the 26th st. neighborhood. Get it dipped, its the best!!!!