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 Pizzeria 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.
Family owned for over 35 years! The tradition began when Angelo opened the doors in 1976, his sons Larry & Peter took over a few years later. From there they have expanded to 9 family owned locations and 9 franchises. All of the franchise owners continue the tradition of family owned and operated restaurants.
The Bergstein's NY Delicatessen food cart carts around authentic New York–style deli fare made fresh by in-house cooks. Check the truck's Twitter to pinpoint locations around downtown or simply listen for the melodious unwrapping of corned beef on rye sandwiches ($8.50). Once parked, the meal mobile entertains waiting customers with a flat-screen television and outdoor speakers while chefs serve a menu of salads and sandwiches. Taste buds can traverse the crispy mixed greens of the Big Apple salad ($8) or the swiss-cheese-glued corned beef and pastrami of the Bensonhurst ($9.00). Aggressive pickle publicists get their clients featured with every sandwich, and diners can choose from several sides including homemade chips, macaroni salad, or potato knish ($1 each; $2 for knish or a drink-and-side combo). Desserts such as the big black-and-white cookie ($2.25) add a sweet exclamation point to a thorough dissertation on deliciousness.
In 1988, Auntie Anne's founders Anne and Jonas Beiler purchased a Pennsylvania farmers'-market stand, where they experimented with dough until they created a pretzel that seemed to strike the perfect chord with their customers. Today, at their more than 1,350 locations worldwide, the pretzel makers still hand roll the original recipe but have added to the menu with inventive options such as the eight signature dipping sauces. The team constantly explores new uses for the pretzel dough, such as wrapping it around hot dogs and slicing it into bite-size nuggets. To transform the snack into a meal, they accompany it with specialty drinks, including frozen-lemonade desserts.
When not twisting dough, Auntie Anne's team partners with the national charitable organization Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which raises funds to fight childhood cancer. Auntie Anne's also reaches out to the community through fundraising opportunities.
Inside a lively eatery, a menu runs long with healthy versions of fast-food favorites that spin taste buds into indecision. Five juicy turkey burgers help customers forget the pull of beef versions, the chicken gyro sandwich flips a favorite Chicago dish, and grilled vegetarian fajitas toss in south-of-the-border flavors. These are just some of the recipes bore from founder Quentin Love's vision to bring healthy fare options to communities that need them while empowering locals to take charge of their quality of life. Now with several pork- and beef-free Quench restaurants open around the Chicago, Love’s alternatives to typical fast fare—which garnered praise from the Chicago Tribune and ABC food critic Steve Dolinsky—keep the emphasis on health without compromising flavor or choices.
Live jazz music swirls throughout Flavor Restaurant on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings each week, blending with the sweet and spicy aromas of Southern breakfast and dinner specialties. The restaurant conjures made-from-scratch dishes from family recipes, and specialties include Grandma Haywood's blackened catfish and eggs, pecan-stuffed chicken, and sweet-potato pancakes with mandarin-orange butter. Breakfast triumphs over the sun on select jazz nights, when diners can conclude their evenings with menu items typically reserved for sunrise. The dessert menu punctuates meals with Southern classics including New Orleans bread pudding, and adds Southern kicks such as peach cobbler.
J N Michaels' voluminous menu of classic American diner fare provides myriad meal options to sate the cravings of every guest at any hour of the day. Whether the time of day is early morning or long after the sun begins snoring below the horizon, cooks sizzle breakfast skillets, assemble lunch sandwiches, and plate hefty dinner platters. They craft many of the dishes from scratch, and in the eatery's bakery, they whip up pies and pastries that join handcrafted, old-fashioned milkshakes to conquer sweet teeth's lingering postmeal demands. J N Michaels is devoted to enriching its community and frequently helps support nearby schools' and churches' fundraising efforts.