In 1967, Benny and Joy Leonardo decided it was time the world got a taste of the family’s Italian cooking, maybe with a side of prime-aged beef. They founded Mr. Benny’s Steak & Lobster House, an enduring fine dining establishment that dishes up fine meats and fresh seafood in hot, Italian-style entrees. They’ve changed locations and expanded over the years, but the fine eats the restaurant serves at its two locations maintain the same spirit as the original spot. In Matteson, chefs sling steaks in an almost entirely brick structure, the interior warmly lit by chandeliers and wall sconces. Outside the window, privacy bushes enclose a small garden of statuary. Meanwhile, the Mokena restaurant boasts hand-painted murals and a brick-laid patio for al fresco dining, as long as weather permits and the sun hasn’t retired to another galaxy.
The kitchens at Bogart's Charhouse radiate tantalizing aromas of grilled meat as the walls grab guests' attention with black-and-white tributes to Bogie. The restaurant's meaty steaks range from 10 ounces to 4 pounds on dinner plates, and lunch guests can dig into a Bogie bacon cheeseburger, or a low-calorie plate of cold turkey. Sliced beef or lasagna catering plates can satisfy appetites at off-site events, such as office parties or a monthly tribute to the oppressive giants that rule one's neighborhood.
In a venue first opened in 1925, experienced chefs at Glenwood Oaks Rib & Chop House answer meaty cravings with a menu of hand-cut steaks and hearty American fare. Artichoke-fritter appetizers ($6) sport a layer of rich béarnaise sauce to comfort french-fried artichoke hearts waiting cynically for diners to break them. Baby-back ribs ($18 at lunch; $22.95 at dinner) slowly cook in a customized oven filled with hickory smoke to create slabs Chicago magazine called “juicy, tender, and clinging to the bone.” During dinner, guests can request the roast prime rib of beef in the Chop House’s traditional cut ($31), or "Pecos style" ($25)—sliced and finished on the grill to combine the roast's tenderness with rugged char tattoos normally found on steak.
The chefs at Luby's Pub & Steakhouse coat sweet jumbo shrimp in house-made coconut batter, bake orange roughy in herb butter, and char-grill juicy burgers with onions for dinners, banquets, and custom catering. In the dining area, veal parmesan nestled on plates of angel-hair pasta shares tables with slow-roasted portions of prime rib au jus and farm-raised blackened catfish. Diners may also opt to sip cocktails on the outdoor patio during the summer months, when the sun is extra fiery.
For more than 30 years, Pop's Italian Beef & Sausage has served up a Chicago-centric menu of beef sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. Silence empty-belly rumblings with one of Pop's delectable beef sandwiches ($4.19–$6.35), such as the italian beef, heaped with mounds of succulent, thin-sliced beef soaked in special spices and natural gravy. Windy-city visitors can delight in the classic Chicago hot dog and the savory polish sausage (each around $2.29–$2.99, depending on location), each nestled underneath mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, pickles, and the looming shadow of oscillating skyscrapers. Other handheld fare includes the meatball and corned-beef sandwiches, which can be upgraded with a variety of extras, including red sauce, sweet peppers, hot mix (all free on sandwiches, extra as a side), feta cheese, and bacon. A fleet of made-from-scratch soups and salads is also available, and includes such options as the hearty cream-of-chicken rice soup and the large garden salad ($2.09–$3.99).
Jack Gibbons Gardens has broiled and grilled its signature surf ‘n’ turf since 1922, building up a loyal fan base spanning generations of satiated stomachs. Amid flickering candles and stained-glass lampshades, waiters—many of whom have served the same tables for decades—ferry timeless classics such as oyster Rockefeller, 38-ounce porterhouse steaks, and baked tilapia. The sizeable dessert menu adds a sweet coda to every meal, and the wine list features myriad imported and domestic varietals from Californian chardonnay to merlot made from Italian grapes stomped by Hannibal's war elephants.