Monday, April 27, 2009

Luke's on Harlem

--Got Beef? Italian Beef
a chibbqking production

There are quite a few Luke's beefs around Chicagoland and some are related and some are not. There is no debating that the original Luke's is the location on Harlem which was established in 1973. The original Luke's is a popular spot in the neighborhood for pizza, dogs and of course Italian Beef. I hadn't been to this location in over 15 years but I remembered visiting it back in grade school and was eager to try it again through the years. I finally got back to it this past year to see how it compares to the other beefs around town. The night I made in here it was a cold winter weekend night but there were still a good amount of people eating here around 10p so that was a good sign.

The Original luke's on Harlem ave.

The original rock outside Luke's

The beefs at Luke's are more than serviceable and I would call them good. Luke's has been making the same recipe for their beef that they used when they first started. It has a good spice in the gravy and the beef has a little kick itself from extra black pepper. I thought the peppers were average and maybe the weakest part of the beef but that everything else was good. I could see myself enjoying a beef from Luke's from time to time if I lived or worked near it. It also gets a big bonus for being open late nite and it is a more than passable beef after midnight when there are very few to be found.

beef with hot from Luke's on Harlem

Rating Scale 5/5

beef: 3
bread: 3
gravy: 4
hot peppers: 3

Score: 13/20

Luke's on Harlem
3130 N Harlem Ave
Chicago, IL 60634
(773) 889-4000

Monday, April 13, 2009

Beef with hot from Tony's Subs

--Got Beef? Italian Beef
a chibbqking production

Tony's Subs in Deerfield puts out what I feel to be the best Italian beef in the Northshore. I first read about this place five maybe six years ago in a magazine article about chefs favorite places to eat when they aren't working. A well known chef mentioned that she loves Tony's and cant enough of the homemade Italian beef when shes not in the kitchen. She went on to call it the best beef in Chicago. Like I always do when I hear that and its a place that I haven't been to I make a mental note and put it on my to beef list. Tony Viti opened his sandwich shop more than 44 years ago in his hometown of Deerfield. There was a time when Tony operated six locations of the sub shop including outlets in North Chicago, Libertyville, Highwood, Waukegan and two in Deerfield.

Here we are 43 years later and Tony and his family are still supplying the families of the area with the same great sandwiches as always. Unless your from the area, in which case you've been eating here since your childhood, you might not expect this sandwich shop next door to a Citgo to be anything worthwhile. The daughter of Tony recently opened a second location in Lakewood with her husband running it up to par with the one she grew up on.

a Deerfield, IL stop

Tony's menu is filled with a wide selection of both warm and cold subs along with soft serve for the kids which is a must when you have a place in the Northshore and you want kids to demand their ice cream and sandwich to their parents. One of the most popular sandwiches is the Launcher and it consists of salami, bologna, mortadella, ham and provolone cheese with a total of 19 slices of meat. When you walk inside you are immediately greeted by pictures of all the wonderful options to help make your choice a little easier. I have enjoyed the launcher but prefer the warm subs made with toasted bread and enjoy the meatball but nothing there is as good as the homemade Italian beef. Its a nice mixture of thin sliced beef and shredded beef with a gravy that has nice flavor topped with what may be store bought giardinara but it is still a good one.

What separates this beef from others is the toasted bread and it doesnt hurt that a large is a real mans size beef bigger than most out there. The toasted bread is an interesting addition to an Italian beef and it works for Tony's. I wouldn't want a beef from Johnnie's or any other place this way but from Tony's its a real treat. Long time customers also really like to devour an order of their air crisp fires. Different in that they bake them in a machine instead of deep frying them. They are good and taste like a light version of McDonald's fries.

large beef with hot from Tony's

Rating Scale 5/5

beef: 4
bread: 4
gravy: 3
hot peppers: 3

Score: 14/20

Tony's Submarine
1480 Waukegan Rd
Deerfield, IL 60015
(847) 940-7352

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pop's Beef

--Got Beef? Italian Beef
a chibbqking production

Maybe the reason I have such a picky palate when it comes to Italian beef is because I have been exploring the different beef joint's of the city since my youth. While y'all were eating at Mr. Beef and Portillo's thinking you were heaven, I was in beef heaven. I have two favorite beef sandwiches that I was introduced to in my youth, Pop's and Jay's. Pop's is out on the south side and I would consider it the best IB out south and still in my starting five for the all Chicago beef team. I have been eating at Pop's for 15+ years. Back in the day when me and family would be at our grandma's for Sunday dinner, me, my brother and my cousins would always ride bikes over to Pop's to eat beef and gravy bread before dinner. Yes, I was taking food journeys before I even had a license.

Pop's in Beverly is one of the King's all time favorites

Pop's does everything above average and it makes one of the better beef's in the city no matter where you are. They slice their beef ultra thin and dont skim on it by any means. Im a huge fan of the hot peppers at pop's, some of the best around. This was my favorite restaurant as a kid and still one of my favorite beef joints in the Chi. It really hasnt changed aside from a few more locations throughout the area. Unlike other places that expand they seem to do the same good beef at each location. I would still recommend the original on Kedzie though. Folks on the south side are lucky to have such a good beef that hasnt changed. Its always got a constant flow of traffic and they aint dumb, they do a beef dinner to go for all the family's busy with school and sports activities. You get the beef, roll of bread, gravy and giardinara and do it all up at home. This way the wife doesnt have to cook and dad and the kids are happy, everyone loves Pop's. Ill be goin here til the day I die. Go Cub's.
beef with hot from Pop's

Rating Scale 5/5

beef: 5
bread: 4
gravy: 4
hot peppers: 5

Score: 18/20

Pop's Italian Beef and Sausage
10337 S Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60655
(773) 239-1243
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