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Chicagoland in the Southland: Deep Dish Pizza (Nancy's) and Italian Beef (Al's) come to Alhambra

Anyone have any experience with Nancy's Pizza and/or Al's Italian Beef in Alhambra?

http://www.alhambrasource.org/news/tw...

Bourdain spent most of his Chicago show dissing Chicago Stuffed/Deep Dish Pizza but I like it now and again.

And the Italian Beef may get some of my attention off Little Jewel's RB Po Boy, if it is done right.

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  1. I went to Al's during their soft opening. I was supposed to go to Nancy's today for their joint grand opening , but other plans came up, so I'll go later in the week. I never had italian beef before, but I ordered the "award winning italian beef" w/ peppers. They dipped the bun into au jus(?), and the beef was flavorful without being salty.

    Also got the chicago dog and loaded fries. The chicago dog was absolutely packed with toppings, which made it difficult to eat, and the bun fell apart as I was eating. Not as amazing as I thought it would be. The fries were their home made fries w/ cheese, beef, and au jus all over, pretty good but ended up being really salty.

    Hope to try nancy's soon, as I've never had chicago style deep dish pizza.

     
     
     
    19 Replies
    1. re: blimpbinge

      french fries hot dog ??????

      is that the same as the no.1 beef chain in chi-town ?????

      thanks.

      1. re: kevin

        Al's Beef sells Chicago-style hot dogs (yes, with umpteen toppings) as well as Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches. As does Portillo's, mentioned below.

        Wrapping the fries in with the dog may be done at some places, but is not a Chicago tradition (at least, I've never seen it in the decades I've lived in Chicago).

      2. re: blimpbinge

        I just went to Portillos in Buena Park last week and had a great beef with hot peppers, but I'll have to give Al's a go sometime.

        The dog with fries reminds me of my old haunt in Chicago, Demon Dogs, right under the El tracks at Fullerton. They'd wrap the fries in with the dog. So good....RIP Demon Dogs :(.

        Budacki's does a decent Chicago dog in town, near USC.

        1. re: moreplease

          *sigh* RIP Demon Dogs.

          To others: you aren't s'pose to eat the fries IN the dogs. you pick up the dog, eat the fries separately. Geebus people.

          To the Chinese franchisee: you're fucking crazy (or a brave genius -- unsure yet). Can I interview you for a story?

          1. re: TonyC

            Tell me about it Tony. With Hot Doug's closing, every tourist will end up at Wiener Circle and think that is what a hot dog is in Chicago now. It's not bad, but it's hardly Gene and Jude's.

            1. re: moreplease

              Hot Doug's is closing??!!! RIP.... :(

            2. re: TonyC

              which joint is the one with the Chinese franchiser ???

              Budacki's ?????

              btw, when i peered in at the menu a few months back, the prices there were seriously cheap, like two dogs and a fries and a soda for under 6 bucks, which is unheard of in LA, especially for Vienna Beef tubers, but USC is close by so making it's like the Buck Fifty of there but way way way way better quality.

              and that ain't no joke.

              1. re: kevin

                I was shocked at how cheap it was too Kevin. I haven't been back in a few months, but if it's still the same, that's pretty amazing.

                Even the Gyro combo was less than $7 IIRC.

                1. re: moreplease

                  We're talking about Budacki's right near USC right ????

                  thanks.

                2. re: kevin

                  I've been a few times. An italian beef sandwich, dog, fries and a drink for less than a 10 spot. Can't beat that.

                3. re: TonyC

                  if that's the Budacki proprietor definitely interview him.

                    1. re: TonyC

                      kronos cones, my favorite.

                      but seriously why's it so fucking cheap ??????

                      am i missing something.

                      1. re: kevin

                        I wish I knew. It seems crazy to me, but I'm not complaining.

                        1. re: kevin

                          Kronos is the Sysco of Middle Eastern food

                    2. re: TonyC

                      Yea I took the fries out before eating it since they all fell off the moment I picked it up anyways... but that's the way it was wrapped up... geebus tony..

                4. I also tried this new location in Alhambra for the first time last week. I had their signature Italian beef sandwich with sweet peppers and provolone, and a small order of fries. The beef sandwich was OK if salty but I am wondering if they roast the beef in-house or it is shipped in pre-cooked. I am glad I ordered the fries without salt as it would have been a sodium overload between the two. The fries were good, fresh-style similar to In n Out

                  I am curious to try their hamburgers next time, they looked pretty good

                  1. I tried Nancy's in Atlanta, and it's wasn't all that, and probably not even as good as Masa in Echo Park.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      "it's wasn't all that"

                      That was my entire groups reaction to Nancy's as well

                    2. so I went earlier today.. the place was a madhouse. They kept mixing up orders and it took me 40 minutes to get my pizzas..

                      The "original 2 1/2 A Lot’ A Meat" and.. well it's my first time eating this style of pizza. It's basically a cheese & meat pie. Extremely cheesy, crust was ok, wasn't overly salty. I just don't think I like this style of pizza.

                      Also got their Margherita pizza and while it wasn't bad, I prefer the one from settebello.

                      Ambiance is strange because they share a somewhat small burger-joint-esq dining area with al's (both apparently owned by the same chinese investors, who were there tonight). They will not be getting beer or wine, got a firm NO from the manager on site.

                      I don't really have a reason to go back since I don't like the original style and would rather to go settebello for pizza & overall environment.

                       
                       
                       
                      2 Replies
                      1. re: blimpbinge

                        I'm a fan of great stuffed Chicago-style pizza, but I'll just say that when it goes wrong, it REALLY goes wrong,

                        1. re: moreplease

                          I don't know if it was good or not, but it just wasn't for me.

                      2. Brought back a family size original thin crust pizza from Nancy's with pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms and the general consensus from my friends was that this pizza was bland. The cracker-like crust tasted like it was made with Bisquick. The sausage had a weird taste, the pepperoni were small pieces and what little mushrooms we could find looked like tiny bits. Too bad since we had were all looking forward to a having a good Chicago pizza joint in the SGV. Our go-to place for our upcoming football parties will continue to be Petrillo's which has always been consistently tasty!

                        1. >> Hope to try nancy's soon, as I've never had chicago style deep dish pizza.

                          Don't confuse stuffed pizza with deep-dish pizza.

                          There are two types of thick-crust pizza in Chicago. One is a single-crust pizza, with sauce, cheese, and toppings on top of a single, crunchy, thick crust. This is the type usually called "deep-dish". Popular examples include Pizzeria Uno (founded 1943) and its sister Pizzeria Due (the downtown Chicago locations still use the original recipe, unlike all the other locations in the nationwide franchise), as well as Lou Malnati's and Pizano's. The latter two were founded by sons of one of the principal characters in the early days of Uno and Due, who grew up in the business working alongside their father.

                          The other type of thick-crust pizza is the double-crust pizza that is usually called "stuffed pizza". In this style, there is a bottom crust, covered by cheese and added ingredients (in other styles they would be called toppings), then covered by a second crust, with the tomatoes and tomato sauce on top. Nancy's was the first to offer stuffed pizza, in 1971, followed shortly thereafter by Giordano's. Both were developed based on family recipes from the same region of northern Italy.

                          All of the above have multiple locations in the Chicago area. You can read more about their history, and find photos, on their websites:

                          www.unos.com
                          www.loumalnatis.com
                          www.pizanoschicago.com
                          www.nancyspizza.com
                          www.giordanos.com

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: nsxtasy

                            And then there's Burts/Pequods, which is Pan Pizza, not to be confused with either version of deep dish or stuffed!

                            1. re: moreplease

                              Burt's Place and Pequod's do not really serve a separate style of pizza. Theirs is your basic deep-dish, with the same single-crust construction. The only real difference is that they coat the outside/bottom of the crust with grated cheese, which then chars as the pizza bakes.

                              1. re: nsxtasy

                                I wouldn't consider Burt's/Pequods the same as either Malnati's or Giordano's, though, would you?

                                1. re: moreplease

                                  I consider it the same style as Malnati's, with the same construction: a single crust, topped with cheese and ingredients, then with the tomato sauce on top. As I mentioned above, the only significant difference in the Burt's/Pequod's is the charred grated cheese on the outside of the crust. Which gives it an unpleasant burnt taste, IMHO.

                                  Giordano's is really a different style, due to its double crust. The crust on Giordano's also tends to be somewhat less crunchy than Malnati's.

                                  I like the deep-dish at Malnati's much, much better than at Burt's or Pequod's, both of which I've tried. Lou Malnati's is my main place for pizza, although I also enjoy the stuffed pizza at Giordano's every once in a while, for a chance of pace.

                                  Note that none of these is at all similar to the thick-crust Sicilian style pizza served in some other cities, where the crust is more like a thick piece of bread.

                            2. re: nsxtasy

                              Interesting! I did not know there were so many variations of "thick" pizza.