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The Chicago Traveler

Johnnie’s Beef

by Matt B on February 19th, 2008

We've talked about pizza. We've talked about hot dogs. Now, it's time to discuss' beef. The Italian Beef is another dish associated with Chicago, and as can be expected, there plenty of places in the city to find this great sandwich. Among the best of them is Johnnie's Beef.

johnnie's beef elmwood park This take-out cash-only place only fits about ten standing customers at its counter, so it's fairly common to see a long line stretching out the door, day or night, rain or shine. The line moves quickly though as the employees serve up Chicago-style hot dogs, extra-crispy fries, tamales, and (on Fridays) fried-egg sandwiches. Italian ices taste great any time of year, but be sure to say 'no lid!' so you can get a nice heaping cup.

The pi'ce de r'sistance is, of course, the namesake. Thin slices of beyond-delicious beef are served inside crusty Italian bread (soaked in jus), topped with giardiniera and caramelized green peppers. Hungry carnivores can go for 'the combo,' wherein a char-grilled Italian sausage lies beneath all that beef.

Finally, a word of advice: Most people are familiar with 'the soup Nazi' from the popular TV series Seinfeld. Be prepared for a similar experience at Johnnie's. The menu is short, so it shouldn't take you long to figure out what you want. Know your order before you get to the front of the line! Neither the employees nor the customers behind you will appreciate your hemming and hawing. The most ideal order is given like a S.W.A.T. command: 'Beef. Dipped. Sweet. Fries. Large ice. No cover.' Done.

Photo credit: MMChicago

Johnnie's Beef ($): 7500 W North Ave (Elmwood Park); 708-452-6000
Mon ' Sat: 11:00 a.m. ' 12 midnight
Sun: 12 noon ' 12 midnight
Free parking lot
Public trans: (Pace) Bus # 318

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POSTED IN: Hot Dogs, Italian Beef, Restaurants

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