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Authentic Chicago Style Italian Beef in Tampa

I've just relocated to Tampa from the Chicago suburbs and I'm looking for the best Chicago style Itailan Beef in the Tampa area. I've read some 3 year old postings, but would like to know if anything has changed.

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  1. Chicago Grill and Dog House in Largo.

    1 Reply
    1. re: aynrandgirl

      Chicago Grill and Dog House is astronomically expensive and not very good. They charge about $8.00 for a combo (beef and sausage on the same bread), and when I asked for it dipped, their crappy bread fell apart. If this were in Chicago, it wouldn't make it, and taking an italian beef newbie here would cause that person to have a very low impression of Chicago.

      Put this in the same category as Mel's. Not very good and outrageously expensive. This place makes money off of Chicagoans who need a faint reminder of home and have nowhere else to go to get it.

      I have not yet found a credible beef in Tampa.

    2. I second Chicago Grill and Dog House. Well, actually I have never had their Italian beef sandwich as I cannot go there without eating a Chicago dog.

      Which burb are you from? My wife is from Park Ridge.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Little T.

        Thanks for the advice. I appreciate it. I'm from Downers Grove. Lots of Italian Beef from Teddy's and Portillos.

        1. re: rkulovany

          I was just up in Chicago, actually Deerfield, visiting my sister. While there, she took me to Paradise Pup not too far from O'Hare and really enjoyed their Chicago beef. Also had it at another non-descript place and theirs had a overriding flavor of cloves to it. Did not like that at all.


        2. re: Little T.

          I had to wait for stars to align to finally get to Chicago Grill and that includes them rebuilding because of a fire - and I'm a fan. The owner was helpful and had a great sense of humor. The Italian beef was great and not expensive at all. If this place is serving anywhere near what an Italian beef is supposed to be, then I want to move to Chicago. Before this place, I'd only had this sandwich in the Chicago Airport and Placy's which is just a few miles away from this place. I liked Placy's but if I had a craving for an Italian beef, I wouldn't waste my time on Placy's after trying Chicago Grill.

        3. I still think that Fat Boy's on 94th Ave. N in St. Pete has an excellent Chicago beef sandwich. Give it a try.


          4 Replies
              1. re: rshally

                Fat Boys is closed - replaced by an Asian restaurant.

                Are they in a new location or gone altogether?

                1. re: Little T.

                  Not in google =(. I need an Italitan Beef!!!

          1. Went to a new place called Placy's just south of Morton Plant Hospital on Ft. Harrison in Clearwater, and hubby had a great Italian beef sandwich (homemade beef as well as the giardiniera). REAL nice owner (his family was in the restaurant biz a long time in Chicago). I had the Vienna dog, which had the snappy skin, poppy seed bun, and all the right condiments (except relish was not the neon green kind). We also sampled the meatballs and homemade red sauce - yum! Fries were fantastic, and the Italian ice went down easy. Here is their link:


            triff (who spent her first 38 years in Chicago & its burbs)

            3 Replies
            1. re: triff

              I can't attest to the authenticity of Placy's but I can tell you that I enjoyed the Italian Beef and my husband is often a member of the lunch crowd enjoying the giardiniera. He has raved about the hot dog as well, but I haven't gone beyond the Italian beef.

              1. re: TampaAurora

                That's on my list of must tries!


                1. re: RibDog

                  This was mentioned in another thread - Placy's is closed - Didn't want anyone to drive all the way out there for nothing.

            2. There is a Beeef on the menu at DATZ in tampabut I have not tried it yet

              1. Olde Town Pizzeria in Brandon and the one in Plant City have the best beef sandwiches we have found. After 30 years in Chicago my husband can't go more than a month without one. it's like being home...they even have a choice of green peppers or the little hot peppers....

                Olde Town Pizzeria
                3011 James L Redman Pkwy, Plant City, FL 33566

                Olde Town Pizzeria
                115 W Bloomingdale Ave, Brandon, FL 33511

                1. Some Publix have the Scalas Beef Kits
                  the one in Brandon had but now no

                  ask you meat manager in Publx


                  1. If you're referring to the Italian Beef Sandwich, there's a street-food-van-mobile thing that comes to the pour house downtown on certain nights, they pride themselves on being the best, etc etc. I ate one and enjoyed it, but having only visited Chi-town a couple times I can't say I'm a worthy judge. You could call pour house and ask what nights they come, I'm not 100% sure.

                    1. I had the same problem when I first moved here. I can't speak much for Hillsborough but in Pinellas the best beef by far is Randy's on 580. In Dunedin. He used to be on Tampa Rd and 19 in Palm harbor but has recently moved. It's on the north side of the road near Patricia(highland) ave. Might want to call 1st to check hours he's normally only open for lunch.

                      1. For an authentic chicago beef sandwich try maria`s pizza in hudson. Small place ,hard to find,has great pizza,and the best beef sandwiches i`ve had since leaving chicago.

                        1. i had an italian beef (wet with giardiniera and cheese) at hot willy's in ybor today and i thought it was really good. i've never been to chicago nor eaten an italian beef before, so it may not live up to certain standards, but i suggest checking it out.

                          1. I had an Italian Beef sandwich from Cesarina's Italian Deli on East Bay Dr. in Largo today. For a twelve inch sandwich with onions (sry, don't like green peppers) and provolone cheese for $8 . I had a most difficult time finishing the sandwich in one sitting. While the bread, which they make themselves, had a little more bite to it than the rolls in Chicago, I really enjoyed the sandwich. Give it a try and see what you think.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: RibDog

                              They will make a half sandwich if you ask.

                            2. I tried Hot Willy's and the Chicago dog place on Treasure Island. Willy's was the better of the two due to a toasted bun, but both tasted essentially the same. This is what i have a problem with--- importing kits and such from Chicago just does not do the trick. These Chiacgo wannabe places mean well, but it tasted institutional to me--- only the peppers impart any real flavor.

                              Unless someplace is willing to start from scratch, you'll only get a bunch of bland, banal sandwiches. A place like Datz could probably produce something great, but I have yet to taste one that impresses.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: andy huse

                                Try the one at Cesarina's, I think you might be surprised.

                              2. "Hot Dogs on Main" in Dunedin also does Italian Beef. Have not tried but their Chicago Dawg was pretty good. Nice folks too.

                                There is some other place I saw Italian Beef but now my memory fades me.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Little T.

                                  You know what? The Italian Beef at Gatsby’s was really good I thought. Served on a large, tasty fresh baked roll - not your typical hoagie roll that gets all soggy.

                                  The service, however, was terrible the one time that I have been.


                                  1. re: Little T.

                                    Dang, $10.95! It better be good for that price. IMHO

                                  2. re: Little T.

                                    Do you think they make it fresh or get it in already cooked from Vienna or somebody?

                                    1. re: RibDog

                                      Which place? Hot Dogs on Main = yes. Gatsby's, I am not sure but didn't taste like Vienna. Not even sure if Gatsby's is still open.

                                  3. There is a place in Sarasota (on Tamiami Trail) called Little Joe's and it is very good. It even serves Jay's Potato Chips too.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. What is "Chicago style" in Italian beef?

                                      I dont like what it is in politics.

                                      I know a couple old time ethnic markets

                                      Brothers and Sons..

                                      1. mels diner-busch blvd. tampa