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Apr 3, 2012 11:57 AM

Authentic Chicago Italian Beef Sandwhiches in Tampa?

I've been here for 9 years and haven't heard it spoken of!

There has to be a place!

Also, any Chicago/Chicago-style food places would be great!

I've missed:
Arancinis (rice balls), cannoli cake(really moist like a tres leche), great Italian bread(usually more of a circle-darker brown exterior-super light n airy inside), gardunes(from celery family-slightly tart, usially breaded), etc, etc

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    1. Not Chicago, but Italian... You've been to Mazzaro's in St. Pete?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mild Bill

        Bill, I love Mazzaro's & would move to St Pete just to be closer!!!

      2. There's nothing comparable to Al's or Johnnie's Beef here but there are a few random places around that make a decent one. Most good ones I've had are outside of Tampa Bay unfortunately. I'm still waiting for a Portillo's to open here.

        3 Replies
        1. re: jeff6806

          Theres a place in Schaumburg I miss...Zippy's!
          I heard of a place in largo thats really good.
          I hear ya on portillos!! I even worked there at one point!

          1. re: Glutton4Grub

            The place in Largo you are probably referring to is Chicago Grill & Dog House on Ulmerton, just east of Belcher. "Mayor" Bruce that owns it is quite a character (originally from Chicago), and puts out some pretty good dogs and beef sandwiches that give us our Chicago fix. My only complaint is he uses a crinkle cut fry instead of a perfectly crispy on the outside and soft in the inside one we know and love from Chicago. Yes, I miss Al's, Johnnie's, Portillo's and countless hot dog joints we had all over the place back home, but Chicago Grill is really a taste of it.

            1. re: triff

              That's the one! I have yet to get over there, but plan on it soon!!

        2. Yes, Chicago Grill has good beef, as good as most of the regular places in Chicago, just a little under the best of the places people really love back in Chicago. Definetly the best Itailan Beef I have found in Florida. For those Johnnies fans, I just read on a different post that they have closed down, no reasons were given why.
          I don't think their dogs are as good as their beef though.
          Best Chicago dogs I have had in Florida are at Hot Dog Heaven ( no Ital Beef) in Orlando on east Colonial Drive. There are 3 Ital Beef places in Orlando and none are good, what so ever.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Lorenz

            Looking around online it looks like both locations of Johnnie's are still open? Although it also looks like there's a million of them around the country so maybe we're talking about different ones.