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Jun 19, 2009 02:05 PM

Good Chicago food in DFW area?

Do any of you know where to get some good Chicago food in North Texas? I want an Italian Beef sooooo bad. Hirsch's carries the Vienna beef and gravy, but it was nowhere near as good as Portillo's. Any suggestions?

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  1. I would suggest Chicago Street Pizza in Plano, Chicagos Finest in Plano or Rosatis in McKinney, Allen or Firsco

    Tarrant County there is Sweet Home Chicago in South Fort Worth cklose to Hulen Mall (20 & McCart).

    If you after pizzas Chicago Street and Sweet Home Chicago would be the best options.

    Sweet home Chicago has a great story behind it and worth a read.

    5 Replies
    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

      Oh, thank you so much!! I can't wait to try it, sounds cool!!

      1. re: joanna.mcmaster

        There is an Uno's downtown Fort Worth. There was one for a long time in Addison, and I believe before that on Greenville Ave. But as I am sure you are aware, it's a Chicago based organization with a decent Chicago taste.

      2. re: LewisvilleHounder

        LH, what did you eat when you went to Sweet Home Chicago?

        1. re: LewisvilleHounder

          FYI - Sweet Home Chicago has since gone out of business - drove by a month or so ago.

          1. I'm curious. Other than deep dish pizza and Chicago style (salad with neon green relish) hot dogs, what else is, "Chicago food"? No disrespect meant.

            3 Replies
            1. re: twinwillow

              OP actually mentioned one already: the Italian Beef. Haven't tried it before but it sounds quite good.

              Jimmy's Food Store has them, but I can't vouch for how it'd compare to one from Chicago. I'll give it a shot sometime.

              1. re: twinwillow

                Italian beef - Portillos

                Chicago Style hot dog - Many places

                Deep dish pizza - Ginos East or Lou Malanati's

                Thin crust pizza - Many places. Most people don't realize that Chicago thin crusts are also very good and different than other places around the country.

                Pizza puff - IL Taco (YES!)

                1. re: twinwillow

                  Chicago is to food as Texas is to football. It is home to the best food in the country perhaps with the exception of Texas style BBQ. Every ethnic food on the planet is available in Chicago and you can find the best food of any ethnicity there such as Italian, German, Polish, Bohemian (Czech), Indian, Greek, Chinese, Thai, etc. While most want and crave the pizza a good Italian beef is even harder to get in north Texas. Chicago pizzas have a harder crust then New York and do not fold the way a New Yorker likes to eat their pizza. Both are good but different styles and tastes. Chicago is also where deep-dish pizzas were invented and I can assure you that there are many different styles and tastes available in both thin and deep-dish pizzas.

                2. Jimmy's also carries Vienna natural casing hot dogs, and the poppy seed buns.

                  1. Weinberger's
                    611 S Main St # 100
                    Grapevine, TX 76051-5372
                    (817) 416-5577

                    Give it a try. As to what you're searching for in Italian Beef, here's what I do know from a lunch there last year:

                    A Chicago favorite of Italian beef, dipped in au jus, served on Gonella bread and topped with the acclaimed Giardinerra pepper relish, the beef was a very generous portion of lean beef, shaved paper thin, but with so much carry over au jus on the beef that parts of the roll just couldn't be handled easily, so I ended up eating it with a fork and picking off pieces of non-soggy bread. The bread itself was the size of a small loaf of Mrs. Bairds. Soggy or not, I could never have eaten even half of it.

                    BUT, this is how it's made in Chicago - or so claims the proprietor and so I've been told by friends of mine from Chi-town.

                    The sandwiches are made "hot, sweet, wet, dry, cheesy and red". The owner claims he can tell what part of Chicago you're from by how you order your sandwich.

                    (Yes, this was written from last year.)
                    If you make a visit, report back...... And while on Main Street in Grapevine, enjoy the 6 block stroll through downtown.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: CocoaNut

                      Thank you, I will give it a try. I have been craving an Italian beef for years, I got spoiled by Portillo's in Chicago. I know they will ship online, but it is VERY pricey.

                      1. re: joanna.mcmaster

                        Jimmy's for Italian Beef, and Weinbergers for a Rueben, but that is just me.

                        1. re: jasontjames

                          Reuben's have been a long-standing favorite of mine, but I have to say that Weinberger's is pretty chintzy with the meat portion - at least on this sandwich. I ended up taking the meat from one half and piling it onto the other to have a decent sized half sandwich in total. It tasted wonderful, but was simply lacking in size. Fortunately for me, I have a pretty light appetite so it was plenty, but I still paid for a whole sandwich and their prices aren't bargin basement.

                          1. re: CocoaNut

                            Is this Weinberger's of which you speak in Dallas or Chicago?

                            The original Reuben sandwich is a thin, grilled sandwich, with just a small layer of meat. I haven't had a proper Reuben since I got to Texas. If, after Weinberger's put on that 'chintzy meat portion,' they grilled the whole sandwich so that the cheese melted and the sandwich was a slightly greasy crunchy treat (instead of a foot of meat piled onto toast), I'd happily drive up from Houston for it.

                            1. re: Jaymes

                              Jaymes: Weinberger's is in Grapevine, a suburb of Dallas. What would meet the criteria for a proper reuben? Doesn't sound like you're looking for something like the open-faced one served at Kenny & Ziggy's.

                              1. re: air

                                The original Reuben Sandwich, as invented in the restaurant of the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha ( probably in 1925, was a thin, grilled sandwich. It had a texture very similar to a grilled cheese sandwich - thin and crunchy and a little greasy - but packed full of flavor. The ingredients are similar to today's mile-high monstrosities, but the appearance and texture were nothing like it. Today, they take what is basically toast, and then pile on the ingredients. For comparison, imagine that you tell someone you want a "grilled cheese sandwich," and they take two pieces of toast and pile a half-foot of cheese on it. Would that work for you?

                                The original Reuben consisted of two pieces of rye bread, smeared with thousand island dressing. Then, a small handful of sauerkraut was squeezed tightly to remove as much liquid as possible (I do this step between two pieces of paper towels). Onto the bread was layered the squeezed sauerkraut, a few slices of swiss cheese and a FEW slices of corned beef. Then the tops and the bottoms of the sandwich were smeared with butter and the entire sandwich was grilled on both sides until the bread was brown and crunchy and the cheese inside warm and melted.

                                I lived in Omaha in the mid-60's and had one of these marvelous inventions at least once or twice a week until I moved away.

                                As to why a proper Reuben is so difficult to find these days, it's probably because it's more labor intensive to grill each sandwich separately than it is to pile stuff up on toast. And also because of the 'wow' factor; as in, "Wow. Their Reuben is a foot high!"

                                Yeah, it's a foot high. So what. Anyone know where can I get a proper hot, crunchy, grilled Reuben?

                                1. re: Jaymes

                                  Pretty sure the sandwich was ordered by an actress, while filming a Charlie Chaplin film, from Reubens Deli in NYC in 1914. A few years before your account. But the debate could be endless, I am sure, not unlike the hamburger.

                                  1. re: DallasDude

                                    Yes, that's one version. But upon closer inspection, that sandwich reportedly contained meat, cabbage and cheese. Similar. But not a classic Reuben.

                                    You're right of course that, like the hamburger, and Margarita, Frito Pie, and other iconic dishes, the debate could be endless. And it basically comes down to who you choose to believe. But for my money, I'm more than pretty sure that today's familiar Reuben, with corned beef, swiss and sauerkraut, was indeed invented in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Blackstone Hotel.

                                    A scholarly investigation:


                              2. re: Jaymes

                                "Is this Weinberger's of which you speak in Dallas or Chicago?
                                Both. It originated (by dad and/or granddad) in Chicago Heights (south suburb) before the owner moved to TX and opened the legacy Grapevine location.

                                Jaymes, the meat is sliced very thin and dry grilled on marbled rye (full rye would be better) - but would bet they'd "grease it up" a little if you asked.. The dressing is either house made or custom made and has excellent flavor. NOT the overly pickely sweet flavor found in oft used 1000 Island.

                                If you do make it up, I hope it is what you are looking for. They get crazy crowded during the lunch hour, so if you'd care to talk with the owner, you may want to try an off-peak time.

                                Weinberger Delicatessen
                                611 S Main St Ste 100, Grapevine, TX 76051

                                1. re: Jaymes

                                  A little more information. I found I had a paper menu stashed away and looking over it, I see that they have light Rye bread and also Black Bread (Pumpernickel)

                                  Also - there were 5 locations around Chicago: Homewood, Calumet City, Munster, Calumet City (2nd loc) and Chicago Heights.

                                  And now I'm off to get one of their sandwiches - just not sure which one....

                            2. re: joanna.mcmaster

                              Here is a way to come close to a Chicago Italian beef at home. Buy roast beef from Walmart, Hillshire Farm's thin sliced roast beef. Make the gravey first from one 15 ounce can of beef broth plus one cup of water in a two quart saucepan. Add one heaping tablespoon mild or hot Giardinerra pepper relish finely chopped, then add two shakes of crushed red pepper, two shakes of garlic powder, couple shakes of black pepper, one shake of Italian seasonings, and a couple of shakes of salt to the broth and bring to a boil. Once it boils add the beef one slice at a time and cook until it returns to a boil. lower the heat and simmer the beef for 5 minutes. I prefer the artisian bread from Tom Thumb for the sandwitch itself. Cut off a 6 inch piece of the bread, slice it in half, pile on some beef, dip and add gravey. top wtih more Giardinerra pepper relish if you wish and enjoy. This will make 2 sandwiches.

                          2. If you like Portillo's you can have it shipped here. I get a couple of pounds a year

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: tomj

                              Old World Sausage Co. just opened in the Dallas Farmers Market, they have a real Chicago slant, are bringing in lots of goods...