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Longshot---any place to get a good Italian beef in Portland/Southern Maine area

brokeasscollegestudent Jul 27, 2010 09:12 PM

I was watching an episode of Man Vs Food for the zillionth time and got a serious craving for some Italian Beef. Since I don't see myself being able to afford a trip to Chitown any time in the near future to get the real , is there anywhere nearby where I can get a reasonable approximation?

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  1. s
    sopo RE: brokeasscollegestudent Jul 28, 2010 05:41 AM

    What is "Italian Beef" and where is "Chitown"???

    1. the_MU RE: brokeasscollegestudent Jul 28, 2010 05:53 AM

      You are more likely to find fried whole clams in Chicago.

      2 Replies
      1. re: the_MU
        sopo RE: the_MU Jul 28, 2010 05:55 AM

        What does clams have to do with the original question?

        1. re: sopo
          kimfair1 RE: sopo Jul 28, 2010 06:14 AM

          Because Italian Beef is a regional Chicago delicacy, and fried whole clams are a New England regional delicacy. You're as unlikely to find either the beef in Maine as you are to find the fried whole clams in Chicago.

      2. c
        care2 RE: brokeasscollegestudent Jul 28, 2010 06:07 AM

        It's never going to happen. We're from Chicago and I can tell u to save yourself the trouble. You won't find one (if u do, let me know!)

        1. j
          jackattack RE: brokeasscollegestudent Jul 28, 2010 09:36 AM

          Haven 't tried it and don't know if their Italian Beef is any good but worth a try............


          2 Replies
          1. re: jackattack
            MidCoastMaineiac RE: jackattack Jul 28, 2010 01:44 PM

            You beat me to it jackattack. I can't vouch for the beef either, but i've always loved their dogs and fries.


            1. re: jackattack
              foodquest RE: jackattack Jul 30, 2010 09:19 AM

              Now *I* want an Italian Beef! Thanks for mentioning Chicago Dogs regardless. If its any good, this could be a great find for me :)

              Chicago Dogs
              285 US Route 1 Ste 3, Scarborough, ME 04074

            2. w
              westernmaine RE: brokeasscollegestudent Jul 28, 2010 01:53 PM

              I think the closest thing you find to an italian beef in Maine is called a french dip.

              Roast beef on a sub roll ( crunchy if you can find one) and Aujus.....but the beef wont really come out of the ajus like the Italian beef I know.

              3 Replies
              1. re: westernmaine
                westernmaine RE: westernmaine Jul 28, 2010 01:56 PM

                lol just had to follow up you can find many beef "italians".....but you try to define an italian on chow hound and you will really get a responce LOL.

                1. re: westernmaine
                  ChefGrant RE: westernmaine Jul 29, 2010 05:45 AM

                  I'm pretty sure that Chicago dogs in saco has one on there menu, not sure haven't been there in a while.

                  1. re: ChefGrant
                    MidCoastMaineiac RE: ChefGrant Jul 30, 2010 05:40 AM

                    Chicago Dogs website attached above...in Scarborough, not Saco. Route 1. If you do go there brokeass, let us know, I'd like to know how it is.

                    Chicago Dogs
                    285 US Route 1 Ste 3, Scarborough, ME 04074

              2. Bob W RE: brokeasscollegestudent Jul 30, 2010 09:37 AM

                If you ever get down to the DC area, check this place out (it's verified authentic!):


                I'm not from Chitown but the Italian beef is damn good.

                1. MidCoastMaineiac RE: brokeasscollegestudent Sep 13, 2010 02:32 PM

                  Did anybody ever get to try the beef at Chicago Dogs?

                  On a semi-related note, the roast beef sandwich at Morse's in Waldoboro is fantastic....just had it again this past weekend. Not italian beef, but darn good beef. On challah bread with this crazy good horseradish / pepper sauce. Yum.

                  Chicago Dogs
                  285 US Route 1 Ste 3, Scarborough, ME 04074

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: MidCoastMaineiac
                    masha RE: MidCoastMaineiac Sep 13, 2010 09:27 PM

                    Not the Italian beef, and I was not there, but my husband & son both had Chi-style Hot dogs at Chicago Dogs last month and thought they were spot on (& we're from Chicago). So, for what it's worth, they thought that Chi Dogs has achieved authenticity in the dogs, which bodes well for the Italian beef.

                    Chicago Dogs
                    285 US Route 1 Ste 3, Scarborough, ME 04074

                    1. re: MidCoastMaineiac
                      foodquest RE: MidCoastMaineiac Sep 17, 2010 04:53 PM

                      I did try the Italian beef and didn't really find it very good. The beef was rather tough and its flavor didn't really marry well with the onions and peppers. Someone with more experience on a good Italian Beef would be much better able to comment on the specifics of what a good version should be like compared to this.

                      The hot dogs on the other hand were really good! Great condiment selection, good chili for the chili dogs. Will definitely return.

                      1. re: foodquest
                        matteo1973 RE: foodquest Sep 17, 2010 05:32 PM

                        Hi foodquest. I'm just now seeing your topic for the first time. I wish I'd seen it sooner as I would have warned you off of Chicago Dogs' Italian beef. As you undoubtedly know from the Man vs. Food episode, real Chicago Italian beef is slow-cooked for hours, sliced paper thin and then dipped in an au jus type of liquid before it is placed in the bun and accompanied by peppers and giardiniera. At Chicago Dogs, the beef (which is frozen and cut much too thick) is tossed on a grill to cook. When I ordered it awhile back, it didn't come with any peppers, juice or giardiniera. The meat was tough and very gristle-y.

                        Unfortunately, I don't have any great answers for you on other places to try for Italian beef. I've looked everywhere and come up short. I've even tried making my own, but its just not the same. Unfortunately, Maine is just not a great place for the type of food that Chicago does so well (deep dish pizza, italian beef, etc...). I lived in the midwest for almost ten years, and had many, many great food experiences in Chicago. I grew up in Western New York, so I am also always on the lookout for places serving beef on weck, but that too is extremely hard to come by. This state also struggles mightily with hamburgers, but that's a story for another day. Anyway, have you looked online to see if there are any places that will ship the italian beef to you overnight? I've seen a few places that will ship chicago dogs and deep dish pizza, but its very expensive.

                        PS: I have seen the "Man vs. Food" episode to which you are referring. The segment on Al's Italian Beef always makes my mouth water. In fact, it was just on the other night and after watching it I went to bed. I woke up at 3am hungering for deep dish pizza!

                        PPS: To give some credit to Chicago Dogs, their hot dogs are pretty good... still not as great as the real thing, but not too bad for Maine.

                        Chicago Dogs
                        285 US Route 1 Ste 3, Scarborough, ME 04074

                      2. re: MidCoastMaineiac
                        matteo1973 RE: MidCoastMaineiac Sep 17, 2010 05:35 PM

                        I'm in love with Morse's. Stopped there one day over the summer and ordered a couple of hotdogs on pretzel bread, with this amazing sweet mustard. I also got a side order of macaroni & cheese, which was out of this world. I need to get back up there before winter arrives.

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