When thinking of iconic Chicago staples, Italian beef is among the first to come to mind. It’s a sandwich that’s wholly unique to this great city and sparks fierce debate over who does it the best. Because there’s a plethora of delicious options all over town, it’s impossible to choose just one. Instead, here are 18 messy favorites that are worth indulging in. Just don’t forget to include those peppers. Listed in alphabetical order.
The purported origins of the Italian beef sandwich dates back to 1938 at this Taylor Street stand in Little Italy. That’s when Al Ferrari and his sister and brother-in-law, Frances and Chris Pacelli Sr., set up shop and started popularizing what would become one of the city’s iconic foods. Today, the original location is still serving its famous sandwiches, marinated in a secret recipe blend and dipped in gravy. So stop in, assume the proper upright eating position, and savor a bit of Chicago history.