Like many viewers this summer, we were entranced by FX’s new series The Bear, which released the eight episodes of season one at the end of June (you can watch them on Hulu now). The series artfully blends comedy and drama in the story of Carmy Berzatto, an award-winning chef who returns to Chicago to run his late brother’s Chicago beef shop. It’s smartly composed, wonderfully cast, and is heartbreaking and chaotic and beautiful all at the same time.
In addition to a lasting love of the show (and thankfully it’s been renewed for a second season already!), we were left with a craving for a good Chicago Italian beef sandwich. We’re not in Chicago, and while you’ll find the occasional Chicago dog or deep-dish pizza (thankfully Yellow Brick Pizza has taken up the Tristano’s torch), it’s harder to find true Chicago Italian beef sandwiches.
Loops bills itself as a “Chicago-style eatery,” and sits on the corner of King and Northwest in Fifth by Northwest. They also have a couple food trucks that are active in the community.
Loops was one of the five Columbus restaurants featured in various episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives, with their Italian beef sandwich being the highlight of the clip.
Since we were craving the sandwich after watching The Bear, we ordered that first-off. The classic Chicago Italian beef sandwich features sliced roast beef cooked in au jus, served on a French roll with giardiniera. Loops’ version is available dipped (soaked in au jus), dry, or with the jus on the side.
We ordered the sandwich with a side of their fries and a monster gyro, made with beef.
The sandwich reminded me of the French dip sandwiches my grandmother used to make. We would devour those, savoring the messiness of the sandwich bread soaked in jus.
It’s not often you find gyros made with beef, and we liked the option. It’s overflowing with shredded lettuce, onions, diced tomatoes.
So if you want to taste what they’re cooking in The Bear, head over to Loops. We had never been before, but we’ve glad to have finally hit up the spot, and will certainly be back for more. On Fridays they serve an Italian beef with a house-made sausage as well.
Want to keep reading about the topic? Head over to my buddy Aaron’s site Netflix & Grill, where he talks about The Bear, making Italian beef sandwiches at home (plus other signature Chicago tastes), music, and more.