By Joe Ray
In the parking lot of one of the Windy City’s better-known Italian beef sandwich stands, while waiting for my Uncle Joe to arrive for lunch, Uncle Charlie added the terms “juice loan” and “bag drop” to my vocabulary, as if Mafia-style extortion and illicit payoffs are part and parcel of a Chicago beef tour.
Inside the kitchen of one of these restaurants, someone politely told me, “You won’t be taking a picture of him,” and I stuck my camera right back into its bag, no questions asked.
As ubiquitous and popular a Chicago institution as pizza and Vienna hot dogs, Italian beef needs a guide. I’ve got family.
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