As they struggled to make ends meet by peddling fruits and vegetables from a truck, Mr. and Mrs. Ricobene never dreamed that their family’s name would one day be renowned throughout the South Side of Chicago. The couple first opened their own food stand in 1946, where they doled out sandwiches, pizzas, and pastas inspired by their Italian homeland. With the aid of their sons, they soon perfected their signature dish—the breaded steak sandwich, a meal that would one day be lauded by reporters from Chicago magazine as one of the best in the city. Today, Ricobene’s has expanded to multiple restaurant locations across Chicagoland, and chefs continue to whip up steak sandwiches in accordance with the original Ricobene family recipe. They fold ultrathin steaks into crusty Italian rolls before showering sandwiches in peppers, cheese, and meaty marinara sauce. The chefs draw culinary inspiration from both Italy and Chicago, seasoning wieners in celery salt and topping deep-dish pizzas with mozzarella. Meanwhile, out in the casual dining rooms, guests perch at wooden tables and admire the photographs of old Chicago that speckle the walls.
Open for 28 years and voted Chicagoland's Best Pizza by AM670 The Score listeners, and Best Beer Garden by the the Southland Star, the items on the Durbin’s menu vary by location, but all of its kitchens prepare hearty sandwiches, pizzas, and barbecue. Patch.com has also dished about how wood embers infuse ribs and chicken with smoky flavors as USDA Black Angus steaks are plated alongside sautéed mushrooms and homemade coleslaw. Fresh donut holes are also made in-house and stacked on ice cream sundaes topped with a single red cherry that resembles the setting sun resting on a pillow of vanilla-flavored clouds.
As Ed n Joe's approaches its 50th birthday, the back kitchen chefs continue to toss the same classic thin-crusted creations and deep-dish delights that made the restaurant beloved in its infancy. Baked in a deck oven, the signature pizzas satiate hunger in inventive ways, such as with the taco pizza, topped in spicy salsa beef and mozzarella and then dusted heartily in crushed tortilla chips, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, and cheddar and crowned with sour cream and salsa ($16.85 for a small). For a tangy twist, try the barbecue-chicken pizza, served Hawaiian style with grilled chicken, Mancuso mozzarella, red onion, and sliced pineapple ($14.35 for a small). Beyond circular chewables, Ed n Joe's menu boasts a bounty of house favorites such as garnished chicken vesuvio ($16.95), portobello strip steak ($20.95), baked mostaccioli ($14.45), and items conceived by crayons on the kids' menu.
Since its first pizza went into the oven in 1961, Palermo's has been crafting Italian favorites from scratch with recipes passed down through the generations. The restaurant's pizza makers blanket pies in the classic flavors of homemade italian sausage and pepperoni, or glean inspiration from other dishes in Chicago-style beef or barbecue-chicken pizzas. Meanwhile, other Italian staples—all of which are also available for takeout and catering—fill out the menu with such classics as chicken parmesan and penne primavera.