Thursday, October 8, 2009

Who Invented the Italian Beef?

Maybe it should be called the Chicago Beef since you can't find this little baby anywhere outside the windy city. And before any of you Chicago natives living in Buenos Aires get overly excited, no you can not find them in Buenos Aires either.

On my previous trips I did not get the opportunity to revisit one of my favorite sandwiches and today, through the magic of Facebook, I stumbled across an article that led me to a web-site that wrote the straight dope on Chicago.

One of the articles was on the origins of this sandwich. My taste buds kicked into gear and reminded me that if I don't eat at least one of these on my next trip to Chicago, I will have to stop calling myself a Chicagoan.

Apparently, there was a poll on America's favorite sandwich and my beloved Italian Beef came out third. That is not bad considering that the only place you can find these are in Chicago. That's a pretty heavy handicap to be playing with 'cause the other two you can find just about everywhere.

You can read all about the poll and what's coming down the pipeline with regards to Italian Beef at this site called

This little sandwich is about to be introduced to the rest of the country. Wait 'till next year Philly Cheesesteak.


Katie said...

While I congratulate the Italian Beef on its 3rd place showing, as a Philadelphian I take umbrage with your comment that "you can find [a Philly Cheesesteak] just about everywhere." The pathetic excuse for a sandwich that passes as a cheesesteak in most places outside of Philadelphia should not be confused with the cheesy, beefy goodness that is a Philly Cheesesteak. ;)

I have to admit that an Italian beef does look quite tasty though. Too bad there are none to be had here in Argentina.

Unknown said...


Damn it, you're right. What the hell was I thinking. In fact, I think it's my number one reason for visiting Philly some day in the future. The second I get there I am making a bee line to a cheesesteak.

There was a resto in Palermohollywood that made a Philly Cheesesteak. The first time I went they cut the steak wrong, but the taste was good. They did promise to cut it differently. I have to see if they are still open and pay them a visit.

Fourpoint said...

Love Chicago beef! I'm from NY, and almost died and went to heaven after being introduced to it by a local. Don't forget the combo, which has a piece of sausage in the middle. Portillos always delivers, an excellent chain for beef.

I tried an IB sandwich at a Chicago bar in Dallas, and it was horrible, they had like 2 slices on the sandwich :(.

Also good, Chicago Vienna beef hot dog, on a steamed poppy bun, and all the trimmings.

And don't forget Maxwell street Polish.

Frank, do you get your beef 'dipped' or not?
And sweet or hot peppers...


Malini Mohan Kumar said...

Looking for argentine information and landed here in your blog. Couldnt take my eyes off for few minutes! very interesting site..wll keep visiting you :-)

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Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

As a live long Chicagoan who found this blog while surfing today, I have to add my comments. I love Italian beef and here are my favorite places to go for the sandwiches...

Portillos - my favorite place. Actually, I usually buy the combo - a italian beef and italian sausage dipped.

Al's Beef (check out that picture of a Italian Beef sandwich on their web site!)

Mr. Beef - Jay Leno's favorite when he comes to CHicago
(no official web site, but here is a site that has a bunch of info on Mr.'s a real long URL, so I created a tiny url so it will show up here in a format that you can use to get to)

Unknown said...

Kasey, your words are music to my ears (and stomach).

I used to work only a couple of blocks from Mr. Beef so I know them well. On my next trip to Chicago I am making a bee line to them. It has literally been years since I had one.

I have also frequented Portillos. They do make a good sandwich. I am going to have to try the combo as well. I guess I was mostly a purist. It's time I venture out to uncharted waters (for me).

I have to confess that I have not been to Al's.

Thank you Kasey!

yanqui mike said...

DIP it. DIP it good!