Chicago, IL

My Best and Worst list for Illinois Italian Beef Sandwich

Chicago Food King

One of my favorite Chicago unique foods is the Italian beef sandwich.

I have made a list of my favorite and not-so-favorite Chicago-style Italian beefs for 2022 that are located throughout Illinois.

The Worst Italian Beef Sandwichs of 2022

Jays Beef - Harwood Heights.

This used to be one of my favorite beefs in Illinois. I do not know what happened to the quality, but it is definitely not the same. The beef is somewhat tough. The bread tastes different. The hot giardiniera tastes very vinegary and not hot at all.
Jays Italian BeefPhoto by Yelp.

Buona Beef - Chicago

Buona Beef has always been a Chicago staple, but with so many locations the quality has dropped off. This is always been in my view second to Portillo‘s. This is more of a chain establishment that’s meant for tourists.
Buona BeefPhoto by Yelp.

Portillos - Multiple Location’s

this is in my eyes a complete tourist trip. The food is hit or miss ever since they were bought out a couple of years ago. Their Italian beef has lost its quality. They charge an arm and a leg for their food. No matter what location you go to there’s always a line in the drive-through that is always packed.
PortillosPhoto by Yelp.

Mickey’s Drive-in - Bellwood

This was one of my favorite beefs in the suburbs. The quality has changed some in recent years. The area where this beef stand is located has gotten worse in regard to crime. I would say that this is a passable beef but not worth the trip to Bellwood.
Mickey'sPhoto by Yelp.

Mr. Beef - Harwood Heights

This used to be my hands-down favorite Italian beef in Illinois. Their quality has dropped so severely post Covid. The beefs are still good on certain days. I have visited many times where my beef just did not taste good or was cold. The fries tasted old on many occasions. I really wish that this location was what it used to be years ago.
Mr Beef Harlem avePhoto by Yelp.

The Best Italian Beef Sandwiches of 2022

The Original Chickies Beef - Hillside.

The Chickie's name in regard to Italian beefs was popular back in the 80s. This restaurant is a revival of this brand. The beefs are solid and very tasty.

Al’s Italian Beef - Chicago

This is a Chicago landmark in regard to Italian beefs. The beefs are always above average. Their Giardiniera here is more of a relish style. Many locations offer so many items other than just Italian beefs.
Al's Italian BeefPhoto by Yelp.

Tony’s Beef - South Side Chicago

This is one of the top-rated Italian beefs in the city of Chicago. Many people say it rivals some of the best in the city and surrounding suburbs. I have been here now many times and it is hit or miss in regard to quality and service.

I will say though when it is good it is great.

Tip - This location is located in a very sketchy area of Chicago be careful.
Tony's Italian BeefPhoto by Yelp.

Johnnies Beef - Elmwood Park

This for me will always be the king of Italian beefs in Illinois. The uniqueness of the flavor of their beef is second to none. The bread is perfectly spongy but not too soft to make the bread break apart with juice. The fries are shoestring cut and always delicious. I also love their giardiniera. This is the best Italian beef you’ll get in Illinois.
Johnnies BeefPhoto by Yelp.

Mr. Beef on Orleans - Chicago

If I had to choose a second first-place winner for best Italian beef in Illinois. I would definitely have to say Mr. beef on Orleans in Chicago. They have no relation to Mr. Beef in Harwood Heights.
Mr Beef on OrleansPhoto by Yelp.

The beef has fantastic flavor and their Giardiniera is delicious. I always make a point to stop here when in the city.

They recently made a series on Hulu called the bear that was filmed in this location. The series follows a restaurant owner who makes Italian beefs.

This is my list of some of the good and bad beefs that are offered in Illinois suburbs and Chicago.

I would love to hear what your favorite Italian beef and Illinois are.

© Frank S ChicagoFoodKing, 2022. All Rights Reserved

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