Michael's Italian Beef and Sausage Company
1111 SE Sandy at Burnside, 230-1899

Beef, beef, I love beef! Tender, juicy, drippy, BEEF! Yes, it's BEEF I love, and I'm not ashamed! I love BEEF stew, BEEF bourgogne, BEEFaroni...anything BEEF! But I especially love a big honkin' slab of roasted beef, drip, drip, drippin' in its own natural juices. Oh, and I like vegetables, too... as long as they're floating in a tub of juicy BEEF!

And because I'm a proponent of all things BEEF, I'm a big fan of Michael's Italian Beef and Sausage Company. Tucked neatly in the industrio district surrounding Burnside and Sandy, I can easily imagine Michael's bustling lunch crowd; big burly guys eating sandwich after sandwich crammed with sopping wet BEEF. But that isn't to say Michael's is the capital of machismo. The fast-food atmosphere is undercut by a big, communal lunch counter, and non-skronky soothing jazz emanating from the speakers.

But the star of the show? Why that would be BEEF! And, in particular, the Chicago Style Italian Beef sandwich, which is cram-packed with the drippy deliciousness of thinly sliced, roasted top round marinated in its own gravy, topped with peppers (your choice: hot, mild or pepperoncinis), sauteed onions, and jammed into a soft Italian roll. It's like a French Dip sandwhich that's already been dipped for your convenience.

Naturally, there are other meaty delights on the menu, including the Italian Sausage (which is the teensiest bit dry, but a delight when ladled with BEEF juice), and the Chicken Italiano (brimming with thick hunks of chicken breast and doused in lemon sesame gravy). And what would a Chicago-style restaurant be without a Chicago-style frank? This one is a quarter-pound, Sinai 48 Kosher doggy (nice choice) loaded down with mustard, relish, pickle, onions, tomatoes, and peppers. The only drawback is the bun that can hardly bear the weight of such a gastronomic juggernaut.

Oh, and they have veggie sandwiches, too... but who cares?? As previously mentioned, I LOVE BEEF! And for me, that makes Michael's the absolute BEEFIEST!