Italian Beef & Chicago Dogs...

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  #61  
Old 09-23-2008, 11:39 AM
Jim 114 Jim 114 is offline
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I've been to Big City several times. It's as close as you're going to get to a Chicago-style Italian Beef sandwich, but I've found that the quality seems to vary. My first experience was great; the second time they were apparently out of the bread/buns that they normally put the beef on and substituted something that was not very good. Another trip there resulted in the beef not tasting quite right.

My Son recently send me a "care package" for my birthday that has Lou Malnoti's pizzas and genuine Portillo's Italian beef sandwiches (complete with the bread, gravy, green peppers and hot giardiniera) ... there's no comparison between the original and Big City - Portillo's is far superior.

For those not familiar with Portillo's or Lou Malnoti's, my deepest condolances ...
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Last edited by Jim 114; 09-23-2008 at 11:43 AM.
  #62  
Old 09-23-2008, 03:32 PM
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Jim - As the soon to retire Bob Feder might say in the "Devotion to Accuracy Department", it's Malnati's not Malnoti's. If you can't spell it correctly you could end up eating thin crust at Home Run Inn.

PS - Dick Portillo did try a location in SW Florida that was not successful. Order da beef dipped or juicy and it will be fine.
  #63  
Old 09-23-2008, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirleevee View Post
This Italian/New Yorker would love to know what Italian Beef is.........


Thanks.

Shirleevee
This Brooklyn, Italian too..
  #64  
Old 09-23-2008, 07:17 PM
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here in southern Calif, we have a Chicago chain which started opening in the last yr called Portillos"FROM CHICAGO" I am hoping they make it to the villages in the future.
because they r great

Surprised you Chicago peeps haven't commented on them!
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Last edited by diskman; 09-26-2008 at 04:00 PM.
  #65  
Old 09-24-2008, 09:19 AM
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Default Big City Grill

Yes, Big City Grill is family owned... by Mike Valenta, who opened Johnny Rockets and operated it for a couple of years. I've had a couple of long talks with him. He's a career restaurant man and yes he's from the Chicago area. He had a restaurant in Villa Park. Hard-working guy and he likes to mingle with the customers, so tell him what you like or don't like. I imagine he'll try to fix it. I've also had mixed results, but would agree the Italian Beef is a decent sandwich.
  #66  
Old 09-24-2008, 07:02 PM
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Well, I'm a Chicago boy born and raised on Italian Beef, Combos, hot dogs, etc.
I've been to Big City twice now and it's about the best I've had in the south, however it's not nearly as good as Chicago. I don't know why, but it's not.

It's good, it SMELLS right, but it's not Chicago.

The hot peppers will burn your tonsils out, go easy on 'em.
The sweet peppers weren't right (as noted above), they were way too big and not cooked enough. Just little stuff, but it makes a difference.

I'll visit again for my Italian Beef fix.
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  #67  
Old 09-26-2008, 12:24 PM
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Default Big City Grill

Well I lived in Chicago and the burbs around it all my life till 6 years ago when we moved to TV. We went to Big City after it opened and it was pretty darn close to a good Chicago Italian Beef. We went back several times after that and it was very good. However we went back about a month or so ago and the beef sandwich was half the size it used to be, the beef was tasteless and the roll stale and not the kind they started out with. We were VERY disappointed and have not gone back since. I'll make my own at home till they start making them like they used to. The dogs are still pretty good but nothing will ever compare to the ones sold on the hot dog carts around Chicago years ago....ah those were the best!
  #68  
Old 09-26-2008, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diskman View Post
here in southern Calif, we have a Chicago chain which started opening in the last yr called Portillos"FROM CHICAGO" I am hoping they make it to the villages in the future.
because they r great

Surprised you Chicago peeps haven't commented on them!
Surprised you Chicago peeps haven't commented on them![/QUOTE]
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  #69  
Old 09-27-2008, 11:09 AM
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Default Italian Beef

Just my opinion.... Being a born and raised Chicagoan and spending much of my time in the Little Italy area, Portillos is good but by far not the best. Bueno Beef is better and the best is a little Italian Deli on 22nd street In Bridgeview, called Vesuvios' Genuine and authentic the biggest and the best for less than the chains like Portillos. Lukes was a chain also that had really good Italian Beef. I never knew till I moved here that Italian Beef is a Chicago thing, the Italian places here looked at me like I had 2 heads when I asked for it LOL. I will give Big City another try hopefully I just went on an off day. Also I tried the "Maxwell Street Polish at Big City and it was horrible. No where near a true Maxwell Street Polish Oh Ricobenes on 26th St in Chicago is another great place. If you have never had a breaded steak sandwich from there you are missing something special!
  #70  
Old 09-27-2008, 11:34 AM
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Default Italian Beef

Three posters have asked and have not received a reply.

What the heck is Italian beef? Is it a special steer raised on oregano and pasta or what??

Please enlighten us non-Chicagoans.

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  #71  
Old 09-27-2008, 01:32 PM
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rdhdleo,
let me know when you're makin' 'em at home and I'll bring the drinks!!
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  #72  
Old 09-27-2008, 03:23 PM
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From Google:

Italian beef / uh TALE yun beef / n. 1. Thinly sliced beef seasoned with garlic, oregano and other spices and served on Italian bread. A Chicago creation, it is slowly spreading nationwide thanks to transplants who can't do without it. The slow-cooked, top-butt meat can be eaten "dipped" (in beef broth), "sweet" (with sweet peppers), "hot" (with giardiniera), "cheesey" (with cheese) or as a combo (with an Italian sausage tucked beneath the beef). In Chicago, it's a source of pride, competition and dirty shirts. 2. A sandwich not known to be served anywhere in Italy.
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  #73  
Old 10-02-2008, 08:20 PM
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Default Big City Grill in SS

We decided to give the Big City Grill a try today. We went to the one in SS. It was okay. The wife had the Philadelphia Cheese Steak. There were no green peppers and the wife likes A-1 sauce on the sandwich. I had the Chicago Italian beef with hot peppers. It came out wrapped in tin foil so the bun was soggy. But the meat was very tender and the hot peppers with a double dose of catsup made it pretty good.

I was expecting a more upscale eatery than we got. At least McDonald's puts salt and pepper shakers on the tables. I hate those little tear apart salt and pepper packets.

We might return to try some of the other sandwiches but then maybe not.
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  #74  
Old 11-08-2008, 12:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zcaveman View Post
We decided to give the Big City Grill a try today. We went to the one in SS. It was okay. The wife had the Philadelphia Cheese Steak. There were no green peppers and the wife likes A-1 sauce on the sandwich. I had the Chicago Italian beef with hot peppers. It came out wrapped in tin foil so the bun was soggy. But the meat was very tender and the hot peppers with a double dose of catsup made it pretty good.

I was expecting a more upscale eatery than we got. At least McDonald's puts salt and pepper shakers on the tables. I hate those little tear apart salt and pepper packets.

We might return to try some of the other sandwiches but then maybe not.


Zcaveman:

I have given Big City a try about four times and, sorry to say, it just doesn't produce the good Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich and the fries are terrible.

I have been in Norcal for 35 years and whenever I get back to Chicago I head for the closest Italian Beef I can find and usually can get a pretty good sandwich at just about any small neighborhood lunch spot or pizza place.

When we were kids, probably the biggest treat was when my dad brought home a bucket of Italian Beef and buns for dinner.
.
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Last edited by chuckinca; 11-08-2008 at 12:42 AM.
  #75  
Old 11-08-2008, 01:21 AM
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Default Ital sausage

May have mentioned this before but . . . I love Italian sausage, from mild to fairly hot. I've tried Big City a couple times and the huge negative is the bun. As mentioned, they wrap everything in foil. Each sandwich I've had ends up with an adequate roll/bun that is inedibly soggy on at least one end. I'd love to see them use a bun similar to the really crusty things that the hot dog restaurant by Target used. (Did they go under???)
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