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.
Maki Sushi & Noodle Shop earned city-worthy praise in both the Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune for the elegant simplicity that characterizes both its menu and décor. Japanese letters run down the floor-to-ceiling murals that color the bright eatery’s mint-green walls, flanking a sushi bar centerpiece where more than 20 seats rest courtside as master chefs prepare soft shell crab, homemade dumplings, and crispy rangoons. They also churn out fresh sashimi and dozens of signature maki rolls including Crazy Crunch filled with tuna, salmon, yellowtail and tempura crunch topped with wasabi mayo and unagi sauce. The clean lines of the eatery’s exposed brick pillars and polished wood-grain floors spill over into lunchtime bento boxes, which compartmentalize protein such as crabmeat fried rice or chicken katsu. Delicate flutes of martini glasses filled with fruit-infused takes on the classic cocktail. Equipped with a glass-enclosed wine cellar, Maki Sushi’s lower level lounge plays host to private get-togethers, corporate happy hours, and very short games of hide-and-seek.
Affresco celebrates the delicious culinary heritage of Sicily with house-made sauces that blanket handcrafted pizza dough and pastas. Each succulent cut of fish or meat arrives fresh, never frozen or teleported, to fill out mouthwatering plates of Italian fare with authentic flavor. Fresh salads combine crispy greens with rich cheeses and house-made dressings, and wood-fired ovens cure tasty thin-crust Sicilian pizzas. In addition to munching on satisfying dinner fare, patrons relish in the Sunday brunch menu's eye-opening frittatas and cappuccino-infused utensils. Scoops of imported gelato and sorbetto end meals on a decadently dulcet note.
Northwestern-trained dentist Dr. Jonathan Yahav specializes in a patient-focused style of general and cosmetic dentistry that minimizes discomfort during procedures, enlisting the help of a professional anesthesiologist when necessary. At the three Chicago Smile Center locations, including one in the John Hancock Center downtown, patients receive all manner of dental enhancement and maintenance with the benefit of Dr. Yahav's 20 years of dentistry experience. Additionally, the dentist maintains his chops with esteemed membership in professional associations including the Chicago Dental Society, the American Dental Association, and the National Academy of Tooth Fairies.
The dual-level Cafe Zalute marries classic Italian fare and juicy steaks with an extensive wine and martini list. The upstairs’ neutral-hued wall showcases ornately framed paintings, while the lower level pumps out motown, classic R & B, and disco tunes. Diners munch on asiago-infused gnocchi, linguine with clams, filet mignon, and house-made desserts. Free wireless Internet facilitates multitasking without having to juggle buttered rolls during dinner. The outdoor patio proffers views of incoming planes at nearby O’Hare International Airport, and Cafe Zalute's location across the street from Rivers Casino offers the opportunity for postmeal profit.
Cooks at Carmine's focus on Chicago specialties, starting with deep-dish pizzas crowned with toppings such as capicola, pepperoni, and bubbling, melted cheese. Turning away from the blazing ovens, chefs dip their signature italian beef sandwiches in au jus or cover them with cheddar cheese and zesty hot peppers. Five rotating flavors of fresh-fruit italian ice, blended fresh each day, cool the taste buds of diners splitting orders of spicy wings or slices sprinkled with hot giardiniera. Patrons may opt for carry-out or delivery, dine indoors at the restaurant, or practice Olympic vault dismounts off of its outdoor picnic tables.