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Tony’s Italian Beef

June 20, 2017

  • 7007 S. Pulaski Road
  • Chicago, IL 60629
  • (773) 284-6787
  • Website
  • Menu

It doesn’t take me long.  The first thing I usually do when we get to Chicago for a long weekend is start planning out my meals.  An Italian beef is always on the agenda and finding a new place to get one from is always exciting.

We were in Chicago last weekend because I had a three day weekend.  It just happened to work out that my niece’s birthday party was on Saturday so we could hang out with J’s family in the Chicago suburbs then head south to my brother’s house for a Saturday with my family.

We got in to town around noon on Friday.  J asked what we should do for lunch.  She was hungry and started snacking so I started looking for food.  I stumbled upon an Italian beef place not far away that happened to be on a couple of Chicago’s best lists (including Chicago’s Best, Thrillest, and The Hungry Hound..who didn’t really like it but still made the list.)

Tony’s Italian Beef is on Chicago’s south side near the corner of Pulaski Road and 70th.  The small restaurant can best be described as something you will only find in Chicago.  It’s a true Chicago sandwich shop with just enough room to barely breath with a kitchen full of fast talking and quick working employees serving up what Chicago does best.

The restaurant sits right on the very busy Pulaski Road so parking can be tricky.  There is street parking up and down Pulaski, but once you get off on to the numbered streets, you need a parking sticker to park.  I found an open spot just south of the small brick building on my second lap around the block.

The inside area of Tony’s is tiny.  There is a small dining room area with a stand up lunch counter on one side while the order window that looks in to the kitchen is on the other.

Things weren’t so bad when I walked in, but very, very quickly the space filled up to the point it was almost uncomfortable.  A lot of orders came in real fast and the only place to wait is inside the cramped dining area.  There are chairs next to the counter in case you don’t want to stand and most of them were filled up with people taking up most available standing space as well.

The menu is on the wall above the stand up counter with a few value meals on a wall in the kitchen.  I knew when I walked in exactly what I wanted.  I had to have an Italian beef.  I got it with hot peppers and asked for it juicy.  I added on a large order of fries but skipped the drink.

J had asked me to get some chicken fingers if they had them.  There was an option for chicken fingers and fries so I got that for J and/or the kids.  L had requested pizza and I saw a slice place on my way to Tony’s so I was planning on hitting that up for her on the way back.

The cost for my meal was exactly $13.  I paid with my credit card then took a seat while the chicken fingers cooked.  It was about ten minutes of sitting in the cramped, hot dining area before my name was called and I was handed two bags of greasy, delicious food from over the same counter which I had ordered earlier.

I had one quick stop to make on my way back to J’s parents to pick up a couple of slices of pizza….but that’s another blog.  The trip down Pulaski is about 15-20 minutes so people were waiting for me when I walked in with food.

I started with my fries.  In my opinion, Chicago has a very distinct type of fry and the places that serve this greasy mess (Al’s Beef being one of them) always get extra points from me.  Tony’s didn’t serve this kind of fry, but the one they do offer is better than the crinkle cut most other places dish up.

The fries are skin on (not fresh cut though) fries that have some kind of seasoning salt on them.  The fries were kind of a surprise.  I saw them being dumped out of a bag into the fryer and didn’t have much hope for them, but they turned out to be quite tasty and the large order is more than enough for one person

The Italian beef was up next.  This huge sandwich starts with Gonnella Bread that is overflowing with tender, juicy, meat with a huge oregano kick to it.  I have to imagine Steve Dolinsky got a bad batch when he visited because the meat I got was dripping with a huge flavor and was super tender.

The giardiniera came in a small plastic cup to be put on right before eating.  The cup is pretty small, so there’s not a lot of the peppers to go on the sandwich.  The concoction was interesting and I’m not really sure what to make of it other than I enjoyed it.  It was an all green giardiniera with olives, celery and jalapenos.  I’ve read other reviews that included garbanzo beans, carrots, and cauliflower in the giardiniera, but that’s not what I got.

The sandwich really exceeded my expectations.  The only thing really near my in-laws now is Portillo’s.  While I enjoy Portillo’s, a person can do better in Chicago, so I keep looking.  This one ranks above Portillo’s, but not quite near legends like Al’s or Johnnie’s.

The kids weren’t really interested in the chicken fingers, so J started eating those.  The meal came with five, frozen breaded tenders and a large portion of fries.  The chicken was at least pretty juicy, but it was nothing out of the ordinary.  The fries were the same fries I got, so we had an abundance of them and a few ended up going to waste despite the fact they were pretty dang tasty.

Tony’s Italian Beef is another of the quintessential sandwich shops.  It’s not very big, it’s not very fancy, but the food that comes out is full of flavor.  It’s a neighborhood joint that people come from all over the city to try out.

Tony's Italian Beef Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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