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Scatchell’s Beef & Pizza

June 18, 2018

  • 4700 W. Cermak Road
  • Cicero, IL 60804
  • (708) 656-0911
  • Website
  • Menu

I think you’ve figured this out by now.  I can’t go to Chicago without getting an Italian beef.

We had to make a quick trip home for my niece’s birthday.  L was really looking forward to playing with her cousins so we really need to make it to this one.  I got off work around 6:30 on Friday night and we started the trip back to J’s parents in Oak Lawn.

We ate at Casey’s General Store in Watervliet on the way so we didn’t eat when we go to the Chicago area.  I figured my only chance to get a beef was that night, so I waited until everyone went to bed then headed out towards the city.

I picked Scatchell’s Beef and Pizza in Cicero because I’ve talked about this particular beef shop a few times and I’ve never actually been there.  Scatchell’s is consistently picked as one of the best beef stands in the city but my interest has more to do with the giardiniera.

Scatchell’s Beef and Pizza is on Cermak Road just east of Cicero Avenue in the Town of Cicero right on the edge of the city of Chicago on the west side.  This small food stand has been around since the early 1950’s right next to the Pink Line on Chicago’s EL.  It’s hard to miss at night with large lighted signs that can be seen well before you get on top of the building.

I didn’t get to the beef stand until a little before midnight.  There were quite a few people hanging around both inside and out waiting for food.  I drove around the block once looking for parking.  There are only a few spots on the side of the building and I wasn’t sure if I could safely park (by that I mean without getting towed) in the lots on the other side of the restaurant.

Scatchell’s is pretty small inside, but it’s typical for this kind of restaurant in Chicago.  There is a very busy order counter with several people taking orders and yelling instructions to each other on one side of the room and a stand up metal bar near the windows should you chose to eat before leaving.

When it looked like it was my turn to order, I stepped up and asked for a beef, wet and hot with an order of fries.  The lady taking my order went to work putting together an Italian beef with hot giardiniera.  She dipped the whole sandwich into the gravy and wrapped it up tightly.  After she grabbed the fries, she handed a paper bag to a guy at the cash register and told him what I had.  He rang me.  The meal was just a little over eight bucks and I had to pay in cash.  This place doesn’t take cards and I didn’t notice an ATM on site, so come prepared.

I grabbed the fries on my way back to my in-laws house.  It’s only ten miles or so but in the city, that translates to a little over a half hour drive…at least at midnight when there’s not much traffic.

The fries were nothing special.  I say that a lot but when you just open a bag and dump them in to the fryer, don’t expect me to say anything else.  That’s not to say they were bad.  They were fine.  They were hot.  They were salty.  And there were a lot of them.  I was slowly eating them on my way back and I finished them off before I pulled back in to the driveway.

The beef was wrapped in about six layers of paper and foil and it took me quite a while to get open.  I was really looking forward to this one because, if my memory serves me correctly, this is the Italian beef that Ray Ray’s Italian Beef in Kalamazoo bases theirs on.

The sandwich was bursting with a large portion of tender sliced beef with a very heavy oregano flavor.  I let the sandwich sit for about a half hour in the wrapping so by the time I tried to pick it up, the gravy had taken over and the bread was disintegrating in my hands.  I actually went to get a fork…and this isn’t a bad thing.  The bread soaked up so much of that gravy’s flavor…it was so delicious.

Alright, so let’s talk about those hot peppers.  This isn’t usually the way I like it.  Instead of a rainbow of pickled vegetables, Scatchell’s uses mostly green veggies.  There is a lot a celery in this giardiniera but what saves this is the abundance of red pepper flakes.  The giardiniera is crunchy but without the flakes, there wouldn’t be a lot of heat.  This giardiniera is how I was able to connect Ray Ray’s…they use the same kind of all green mixture instead of including things like cauliflower, carrots, and red jalapenos.

As the name imples, they also do pizza, but honestly, I wasn’t super hungry when I went for this sandwich…I just wanted an Italian beef.   I passed on a slice of pizza.  they have large slices in a rotating oven on the counter ready all the time.  The slices are much more reminiscent of New York slices than Chicago, but they looked good and I’ve heard decent things about them.

I really liked Scatchell’s Beef.  There are so many good beef places in the city and surrounding suburbs but there are only a few that really stand out to me.  Scatchell’s is one of those.  It wasn’t an awful trip up Cicero at that time of night and they’re open late so I can wait until the familiy goes to bed then take a trip to satisfy that Italian beef craving every time someone even mentions taking a trip to Illinois.

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