Vinnie’s Beef & Dog
Timing is everything, right? Last Friday night, I was coming back from Rockford via Northland Drive. As I was zipping by the shopping area near the intersection with the M-44 Connector, I noticed what looked like a Vienna Beef sign. I craned my neck while trying to keep my eyes on the road to see if what I thought I saw was correct.
Last night, I was at Cornerstone University and decided to head back out to Northland Drive to see about getting a beef.
Vinnie’s Beef & Dog is a brand new Chicago-Style addition to the Grand Rapids area. When I noticed the sign last week, it turns out, that was their first day open.
The restaurant is located in a small strip mall just north of the Northland Drive, East Beltline, and Plainfield Avenue intersection. The small restaurant boasts only five tables, but they have the Chicago favorites I crave.
It was getting close to closing time when I walked in, but the two employees stopped their clean up routine to find out what I wanted. My eyes went straight to the Italian beef with Hot Peppers. I asked for it dipped then added on an order of fries and a drink. The bill came to a little over $9 which I paid with my credit card.
The beef is waiting in a pan of au jus, but the fries needed to be dropped in the fryer. I took a seat in the small dining decorated with both Bears and Lions posters while I waited for the fries to come up. In the meantime, the proprietor went to work assembly my sandwich and tightly wrapping it in wax paper and aluminum foil.
The skin on fries was the first thing I dove in to when I got back in the car. There wasn’t a lot of them, but I was happy to find something other than GFS crinkle cut. They’re not quite Al’s Beef fries, but better than the typical Chicago joint outside of Chicago that tend to go cheap on the fries.
The sandwich had to wait until I got back to the office. The flaky Italian roll is stuffed with tender sliced beef then topped off with hot Giardiniera. I like my beef’s soaking wet, so I had them dip the whole sandwich in the gravy. Since I had a fifteen minute drive back to the shop, that sandwich really got to soak in the juices.
I’m not sure if Vinnie’s is using Vienna Beef Italian beef, or if it’s something else. My sandwich was good, but didn’t have a ton of the oregano flavor gravy that makes my favorite Chicago beef’s so good. There was an ample helping of the spicy giardiniera on top to round out a delicious sandwich.
I’m always happy when I find a Chicago style place on my travels and Vinnie’s was no different. The sandwich was good and filling. It’s a little bit of a mess when you order the beef dipped, but totally, totally worth it.