Lunch with Chef Judi: Tony’s Chicago Beef

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Tony’s Chicago Beef is owned and operated by True Chicagoans. Dedicated to delivering Chicago Style food at it’s BEST!

Chicago Style Hot Dogs wit' the works...dragged through the garden on poppy seed buns and fresh cut fries, Italian Beef Sandwiches anyway you like, dipped or dry, sweet or hot.

All served in True Authentic Chicago Style.

Photos and other memorabilia line the walls. There’s Mayor Daley (Richard J. & Richard M), the Riverview Amusement Park, Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, White Sox and even (I hate to say it) Cubs photos. The customers cover a wide range from construction workers to suit and tie types. But, the setting levels the playing field for everyone. It’s everything you would expect (if you were from Chicago).

Now there’s a million and one ways to order a Chicago beef. Some people like cheese, some don’t. Some like sweet giardiniera, some hot or none at all. What about the juice? Should the sandwich be wet, dry or just the tips dipped? You can also add an Italian sausage for a “combo”. You begin to see the picture. Arguments are constant and sometimes heated about the best way to serve a beef.

At Tony’s, they cook their own beef and you can really taste the garlic (which is great). But Chicago’s version of the roast beef sandwich is the star here, and rightfully so. The meat is roasted in its own juices, seasoned with garlic and Italian herbs, and sliced paper-thin. Pile it high on a roll and you have a fine meal, sure, but that’s not the Chicago way. Here, these roast beasts are dipped in the pan juices that came from the roast itself before serving, bread and all. Want more than just a discrete dunk? They’ll soak it to your heart’s content.

It’s not just the food and decor that’s Chicago at Tony’s Chicago Beef, it’s the attitude. The open kitchen, the friendly owners, the nonchalance — you get the sense that nothing is being hidden from the customer.

Tony's Chicago Beef is located at 6569 Superior Avenue off Gulf Gate Drive in Sarasota.

As the Culinary Director for ABC 7, I whip up cooking segments on ABC 7 News at Noon, along with recipes, cooking tips, reviews and great food finds on MySuncoast Dining at