Italian beef is sliced thin and slathered in au jus, an homage to the way its creator drooled all over his pencil-thin mustache when inventing it in his mind. Marvel at the messily delicious fruits of his labor with today's Groupon: for $74, you get a party meal for 9 to 12 people (a $136 value) from Al's Italian Beef and Nancy's Pizza in Park Ridge. This party package includes:
- Two medium stuffed pizzas with cheese and four toppings, excluding chicken breast
- One pound of Italian beef
- Eight precut buns and servings of provolone cheese for sandwiches
- Two servings of hot peppers and two servings of sweet peppers
- Three 2-liter sodas
- Two heater cans and one stand for beef
- 20 paper plates, cups, lids, forks, knives, straws, and napkins
Dishing the same stellar recipes since 1938, Al's allies cunningly sliced Italian beef with the deep-dish deliciousness of Nancy's Pizza to stuff bellies at wintertime parties. Selected as one of the Best Sandwiches in America by Esquire Magazine in 2008, the signature italian beef anchors a spread of sandwich makings, including traditional hot and sweet peppers to add spice to steak-laden buns or an element of danger to holiday get-togethers, Super Bowl parties, or the family's annual food fight. Teeth sink beneath the cheese-stuffed crust of a pizza sprinkled with four toppings chosen from among a hefty list of pie enhancers such as kalamata olives, pineapple, and shrimp. A stand holds a tray of food over the fiery breath of heater cans designed to keep the feast simmering while conversations run their course and the assembled children perform their new play, Thanksgiving 2: Turkey's Revenge.
Al's Beef & Nancy's Pizza
Al Ferreri, his sister Frances, and his brother-in-law Chris Pacelli Sr., developed their signature italian-beef sandwich out of necessity in 1938. The economic depression made meat harder to come by, so the trio of sandwich makers made their supplies last by cutting thinner slices of roast beef.
Their business started with them feeding guests at family weddings, delivering meals to local hospitals, and catering the country's first food fight, but they soon founded a more permanent curbside food stand in Chicago's Little Italy neighborhood. Despite their relatively humble beginnings, Al's Beef & Nancy's Pizza rapidly expanded and now boasts franchises throughout the Chicago area and across the country. The family business has garnered plentiful acclaim throughout the years, having been named Adam Richman's best sandwich in the Midwest on the Travel Channel show Best Sandwich in America in June 2012, appearing on Richman's Man v. Food and earning a place on Esquire's list of The Best Sandwiches in America in 2008.
The cooks begin every morning by roasting cuts of beef for the day, kneading fresh pizza dough, and cutting french fries with an industrial-strength laser pointer. The hearty italian-beef sandwiches can emerge from the kitchen with simple, unadorned meat or with blankets of melted cheese and spicy housemade giardiniera. The pizzas range from crispy thin-crust disks to deep-dish pies with 2.5-inch-thick crusts, supporting any combination of the 24 available toppings, which include oven-roasted garlic, baby spinach, and bacon.