Arguably, Italian beef deserves top recognition as an Illinois standout because it’s a truly unique Chicago creation, more so than its hot dog or deep-dish pizza rivals. There’s no denying that deep-dish pizza and Chicago dogs also originated in Illinois, but these two dishes aren’t entirely original. Both hot dogs and pizza (in this case the American version) were first made and sold by immigrants in New York City. And in this battle of Chicago classics, location is key. Unlike other Windy City staples, the Italian Beef His sandwich was first created in Chicago by Italian immigrants who were looking for a way to feed more people with less money. So they cut the beef incredibly thin and served it on bread. result? Well, there’s nothing else quite like it.
As food writer and Chicago native Lucas Kwan Peterson explains in an article for the Los Angeles Times, the “hyperlocal” sandwich is also something truly deep and singular. “This is not your typical Italian sub sandwich with a variety of cured meats. It’s also not a roast beef sandwich with a relatively thick slice of meat that’s still pink in the middle,” says Peter. Sohn writes. Its unique qualities, Peterson said, are nearly impossible to replicate, even at Chicago-themed restaurants in the Chicago suburbs, which serve some of the city’s most famous dishes. If you want a delicious Italian beef sandwich, you have to come to Illinois, no exceptions.