Johnnie’s is not just another beef joint. This place is included at or near the top of anyone’s “Best of the Best” list for beef sandwiches in Chicagoland. Johnnie’s is easy to find. When you get close you can smell the aroma of roasting sausages that surrounds the building in a self-generated fog that focuses the mind on the treasures inside. There will probably be a line out the door, but do not despair. The line will move fast because the time between placing your order and you walking out the door with your meal is less than one minute. Make sure you know what you want when it’s your turn, place your order and step to the left!
The subject here is Italian beef. This is a food delicacy unique to the Chicago area: beef shaved extra thin in a garlicky, peppery gravy. The tender meat is loaded into a sturdy Italian loaf and garnished with sweet bell peppers and/or hot giardiniera. Ask for the sandwich dipped in the gravy for a genuine Chicago experience. Order a combo and get a roasted Italian sausage running the length of the bread, tucked under the beef. This version packs a one-two punch that has no equal.
Top off the meal with an Italian ice - ice shaved very fine with a sweet and tart lemon flavor that is a perfect complement to the meal. The ice is hand packed to order from a bucket sitting in the freezer.
There is ample parking available in the lot behind the restaurant. The half dozen tables outside turn over quickly but you will see many patrons eating in, or on, their cars.