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.
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.
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.
Swim in a tangy, saucy consortium of fall-off-the-bone ribs ($13.79 half slab, $19.99 full slab) served with fries, slaw, and a roll, or speak softly and carry six mozzarella sticks, 15 mini corn dogs, and beer nuggets by ordering the appetizer platter ($9.99). The pizza––with a signature recipe that dates back to 1967 (or 1709 in dog years)––is served with thin crust, in the pan, or stuffed. Perry's also has a vast array of pastas, sandwiches, salads, holiday wishes, wraps, and more. Along with daily-deal specials, patrons can bask in the never-ending ambience of the pizza and salad bar ($6.99) or the pizza and salad plus Italian favorites ($8.99), which are available three to five days a week. For bulk orders, check out the catering menu options for specific prices. This Groupon is valid for the pizza, salad, and Italian buffets.