$7 at Chicago Italian Beef on Airline

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Since sometimes $13 is too much to drop on lunch (or dinner, or breakfast, or brunch), we now present the inaugural installment of our $7 series, where we tell you what seven smackers gets you at various spots around town…

Where: Chicago Italian Beef, 1777 Airline, 713-862-2828.

What $7 gets you: Super stuffed, especially if you keep your head down.

So I was walking down Heights Boulevard when I saw colorful cardboard flyers strewn all over the ground. Looks like some canvasser took the money and ran, I thought to myself.

I picked one up and discovered it was a coupon for some joint called Chicago Italian Beef, which was pretty damn descriptive, as far as names go. Buy any sandwich and get a free hot dog? I was there.

Recommended? In the immortal words of Yello, Oh yeah

Located on Airline between Teotihuacan and Canino’s, Chicago Italian Beef is dressed in sports-bar décor. You got your ‘Stros and Cubs signage, your photos of John Wayne, Lucy Ball and Albert Einstein. Were the restaurant not lit so well, you might mistake it for Ernie’s or Kenneally’s.

Since this was my first time, I opted for the titular Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich ($5.95) and used my coupon to add on a Chicago-Style Hot Dog.

Good thing I downed the all-beef dog first, since I never would’ve had room for its pickles, onions, tomatoes, peppers and spice had I started with the gargantuan sandwich and fries. The dog’s bun was a tad moist, like it’d been kept in a steamer. Stellar.

Assuming you don’t happen upon a pile of coupons in the middle of the street, the Italian Beef Sandwich is still more than enough to glut your gut. We’re talking piles of paper-thin beef dumped atop a hoagie roll that’s been soaked in warm


. I wound up using a knife and fork on the sucker, which might be considering sacrilege by those from Second City, but there was no way I could keep it together otherwise.

The fries are cut on site, and the results are thick and striped with skin. Coupled with the sandwich, this is more than enough food to give one of Bill Swerski’s Superfans a heart attack. Hell, I didn’t even finish the spread and I was passed out on the couch 30 minutes later.

Lucky for you: There’s a condiment counter well-stocked with pickled Italian peppers and other veggies. – Keith Plocek

UPDATE: Turns out you can find that same coupon on page 49 of our fine publication. Free hot dogs for everyone!

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