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Where's the Beef: Who Makes the Best Italian Beef Sandwich?

This week, Patch sought out the best Italian beef in the Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn and Palos area for our ongoing series “Chowdown Showdown.”

Welcome to “Chowdown Showdown,” a weekly feature where we take one type of food and ask readers to nominate their favorite places in Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn and Palos. This week we chowed down on the South Side favorite--the Italian Beef. We tallied the votes on each respective Patch site and Facebook page.

Real South Siders know their Italian beef sandwiches, and these three proved worthy competitors.


Evergreen Park Patch -  All hail king of the Italian Beef! Pappys was my absolute favorite. We got a few suggestions, including who was in our , and , but this one won the crown. You want a South Sider's Beef? Chow down on Pappys beef, the way South Siders like it: dipped with sweet and hot peppers. - 5 Stars

Oak Lawn Patch - Wow! Being from the North Side, this beef knocked me on my butt. Perfectly spiced with a nice combo of sweet and hot peppers and dipped in gravy, this was a real South Side sammy! 5 Stars

Palos Patch - It was the texture of the beef in this sandwich that put it over the edge for me. It was piled thick, but still as soft and tender as could be. The flavor was right on point. Beef, peppers, giardiniera . . . What's more South Side Chicago than that?  5 Stars

Evergreen Park Patch - I really loved how well this beef was seasoned. The sweet peppers were a good touch, topped off with mozzarella cheese--a lovely take on the classic Italian beef. The fries were also seasoned to perfection and some of the best I've tasted in a while. 4.5 Stars

Oak Lawn Patch - I really liked this sandwich. The sandwich was wonderfully framed in a french roll with a generous amount of beef, mozzarella and peppers. The gravy was delish. 4.5 Stars.

Palos Patch - Tony's won out over in our local vote. I agree with my esteemed colleagues that it was the seasoning of the beef that made this a great sandwich. I can see how this one can become addictive. The beef was moist and the bread just thick enough to hold in all that juicy goodness, just the way an Italian beef sandwich should be. 5 Stars

- Oak Lawn

Evergreen Park Patch - This classic Italian beef was really toned down compared with its competitors. Very minimal sweet peppers, no suprises, no extras. 4 Stars

Oak Lawn Patch - We got a lot of recommendations for the chains in Oak Lawn like and , both of which make great Italian beef sandwiches. won out in the mom-and-pop category. I've had some fantastic pasta at Frankie's. Usually I get my beef on toasted garlic bread with mounds of peppers but I did not want to overwhelm my colleagues. A solid sandwich but I think I'll stick with Frankie's pasta. 4.5 Stars.

Palos Patch - This was a very solid sandwich. I could have used a bit more juice, but the flavor was good and it would fulfill any Chicagoan's craving for a classic Italian beef.  4 Stars

And the winner is  . . . Pappys from Evergreen Park! Made like a true South Side beef, Pappys provided all of the flavor, a good grade of beef, and a generous helping of sweet and hot peppers.

Read past 'Chowdown Showdown' Readers' Choice winners:

john Crivellone May 10, 2012 at 12:07 PM
I can't believe you would even put Frankees in that category. His beef tastes like horse meat and the bread he puts it on tastes like cardboard.
Dave May 10, 2012 at 02:03 PM
I thought this was reader's choice?! I looked at all 3 Patch pages and Pappy's received, at most, 4 votes from readers. I call shenanigans.
Jimmy J May 10, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Haha, completely bogus. How the heck do you pick Pappy's in a reader's choice award when one person mentioned them? Tony's Beef slaughtered this contest. They are in a totally different league. Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park Patch..."unliked". Enjoy your free food Renita.
angelo May 10, 2012 at 03:12 PM
I personally like tonys beef but my fav when i go to k town is chickiees 28th m pilaski.mmmmmmmtty try 1for ur self
OakLawnBill May 10, 2012 at 03:29 PM
John, I have eaten raw horsemeat, wasn't too bad.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) May 10, 2012 at 03:56 PM
There are no shennanigans. Readers recommended these establishments. BTW, if anyone is interested in joining us on our taste tests, drop me a line, lorraine.swanson@patch.com.
Dave May 10, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Yes, but who picked the winner? Not readers, that's for sure. And if you all were "taste testing" by reader votes, then why didn't you taste test Roseangela's? They had 2 recommendations to Pappy's 1 mention on facebook and the Patch site(s). Still calling Shenanigans. I am betting you didn't even try all three places.
A. Ron May 10, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I can't believe that Pappy's won in Evergreen Park. It is not the best roast beef. The beef cuts are too thick, the bread is tough, and most importantly, the flavor is not there. This really makes me wonder about who is voting on these restaurants; I do not know if I can trust these results.
Dan Lambert (Editor) May 10, 2012 at 05:00 PM
There is never going to be a right answer, and that's the way it is supposed to be. Everyone has their favorite spot and we just want to give you a space to voice your opinions. Tony's Beef won the contest for favorite beef in Palos. The next step is this tasting which is all in good fun and is meant to encourage people to try somewhere in town they might never have been.
Dave May 10, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Deciding who has the best Pizza, Hot Dogs or Italian Beef in the Chicago area is never just "good fun". It's serious business. :) I see you are a Cubs fan. Let's start a Cubs/Sox debate while we're at it.
Jimmy J May 10, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Everybody's opinion counts unless it's the Patch "Reader's Choice". Haha. White Sox all the way!!
Grunty May 10, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I heard that if you win this contest suddenly everyone likes your food. If you lose, you go out of business. or it could just be a fun opinion peice that actually has no real impact....
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) May 11, 2012 at 08:01 AM
Grunty, I wish that Patch had that kind of power. Chowdown Showdown is a work in progress. We try to promote businesses in our respective communities, but realize that readers also have their favorite places outside our Patch boundaries. There are no conspiracies here. I personally would have chosen another favorite Oak Lawn restaurant for best omelet, but I abide by Oak Lawn readers' recommendation of another local restaurant that I am also quite fond of. I was also surprised when another of my favorite 95th Street establishments wasn't even mentioned for best Italian beef. And while I'm living on the South Side, I've decided that I am going to enjoy the White Sox while I'm down here. Believe me, eating food for a story isn't as much fun as I thought it would be.
lynda May 16, 2012 at 06:00 PM
By far the best italian beef in palos heights is mid villa pizzas. New to the town but by far the best around. 12226 S harlem ave.Stop in and try it out for sure.

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