The Italian beef sandwich is another fast food specialty item that is unique to the Chicago area. As CT alluded to during his discussion of Chicago style hot dogs, there are few things that compare to a well done Italian beef. For the uninitiated, the most important things to know are that, despite some similarities, an Italian beef is neither a French dip nor a cheesesteak.
A basic Italian beef sandwich consists roast beef that has been slow cooked with Italian spices, thinly sliced, dipped back in warm au jus, and served on an Italian style roll. I opted for sweet (green) peppers during a recent lunch trip to Big Jack’s, but giardiniera is probably the most common topping. Cheese and marinara sauce are offered as toppings at some restaurants, but those are definitely non-traditional. No matter how it’s topped, a well done Italian beef is not to be missed.
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