One of the sandwiches I've been wanting to wrap my hands around for a long time is the famous Chicago Italian beef. Doing some research in La Porte, TX, earlier this year I happened on JC's Chicago Hot Dogs, 9606-D Spencer Hwy. The cross street is Underwood; it's about about 2 miles south of 225 and 3 miles west of 146. Going across on Spencer from I-45 will take you a looooong time because of all the traffic signals.
JC is a Chicagoan who’s been down here many years and has retired here. He uses Vienna Beef provisions and sells some in the store. I saw a rack with jars of sport peppers and a brand of chips I’ve never heard of that I presume are a Chicago favorite. I guess he’s also got the neon green relish and pickle spears, but I didn’t specifically see them.
I haven't developed a taste for the Chicago style dog but the thing I really like is the Italian Beef, served on a Gonella roll with either hot giardinera or sweet peppers and onions. I’ve only had the hot version (and Chicagoans like their giardinera pretty hot). This is an awesome sandwich.
JC says most Chicago ex-pats who come in order a dog and an Italian, but I found the combination a bit too much food. The Italian Beef is a very substantial sandwich.
There are a couple of tables and stools but most of the business seems to be take-out. This is close to a 60 mile round trip from where I live so I've only been a couple of times and I always eat in; I don’t think the Italian would travel very far without getting pretty soggy.
JC is a friendly guy. The place is decorated with Cubs and Bears paraphernalia and is closed Sundays so, as JC says, he can stay home and watch the Bears lose.
Here’s a link to the menu with prices and hours on a La Porte hometown website: http://www.laportetexas.net/jcschicago.jpg