Our staff shares best eats — tips, not food
By Donna Vickroy firstname.lastname@example.org October 5, 2011 3:06PM
Corned beef sandwich at Bergstein's Deli in Chicago Heights. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Bartolini’s, 14420 S. Pulaski Road, Midlothian; (708) 396-2333; bartolinis.com
Beggar’s Pizza, several locations, including 15600 Cicero Ave, Oak Forest; (708) 535-9500; beggarspizza.com
Bergstein’s NY Deli, 200 Dixie Highway, Chicago Heights; (708) 754-6400; bergsteinsdeli.com
Calumet Fisheries, 3259 E. 95th St., Chicago; (773) 933-9855; www.calumetfisheries.com
Dairy Queen, several locations, including 15946 Harlem Ave., Tinley Park; (708) 444-4091; dairyqueen.com
Hog Wild, 4933 Pulaski Road, Midlothian; (708) 371-9005; originalhogwild.com
Jive Turkey Restaurant, 1746 W. 127th St., Calumet Park; (708) 396-0131.
La Loma, 2501 Chicago Road, Chicago Heights
Lemon Tree, 1035 State St., Lemont; (630) 257-7177
Los Portales, 2 E. Main St., Chicago Heights; (708) 754-7004
Lucky’s Burrito, 6619 W. 95th, Oak Lawn;
Mickey’s, 17432 Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park;
Mindy’s, 9610 191st St., Mokena; (708) 479-4700
Original Pancake House, 10437 South Western Ave., Chicago; (773) 445-6100;
Original Rainbow Cone, 9233 S. Western Ave., Chicago; (773) 238-7075
Palermo’s, 4849 W. 95th St., Oak Lawn; (708) 425-6262
The Patio, 7830 W. 159th St., Orland Park; (708) 429-7575, and 9100 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview; (708) 598-2099
Pop’s, 7153 W. 127th St., Palos Heights; (708) 361-0350; popsbeef.com
Portillo's, several locations, including 13130 Cicero Ave, Crestwood; (708) 385-6400; portillos.com
Potsy’s Pizza, 16661 S. 80th Ave., Tinley Park; (708) 532-0007
Ricobene’s, 9135 159th St., Orland Hills; (708) 460-9966; ricobenespizza.com
Rubino’s Italian Deli, 16635 Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park, (708) 614-0755; rubinositalianimports.com
Sunrise Health Foods Inc., 3203 Vollmer Road, Flossmoor; (708) 365-5400
Tony’s Italian Beef, 9664 W. 131st St., Palos Park; (708) 671-1710
Wonderburger, 11045 S. Kedzie Ave., Chicago; (773) 238-7200
Yes Asia Café, 17432 S. Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park; (708) 429-1888
Zarlengo’s, 257 W. Joe Orr Road, Chicago Heights, (708) 754-9080; zarlengositalianice.com
Updated: May 9, 2012 9:52AM
Sometimes it really is all about the food.
After all, journalists cannot live by truth alone. They’ve got to eat.
And many of them eat very well. Not because they earn big bucks, mind you. They eat well because they use their keen instincts to ferret out truly good food at truly decent prices.
And today, they’re going to share — their tips, not their lunch.
Want to know where to find the best Italian beef sandwich in the Southland? Ask a guy who’s eaten them all over the readership area. Ask sports columnist Pat Disabato.
“I love me some Italian beef from Tony’s on 131st Street, just west of LaGrange Road. Any time I cover a sporting event at Sandburg (High School), I make it a point to stop at Tony’s,” he says. “Just tried the ‘Corleone,’ which is Italian beef grilled, with cheese, onions and hot peppers. The bread is crusty. It’s magnificent.”
Columnist Phil Kadner says he loves the chicken breast sandwich on pita at The Patio, with locations in Orland Park and Bridgeview. He also says Bergstein’s Deli in Chicago Heights serves Manny’s corned beef, the best in the Midwest.
If you get the corned beef, he advises, “Do not order it on white bread, or with mayo, cheese, lettuce or any other slop on it. A corned beef sandwich should be eaten on kosher rye bread. You may have mustard.”
And one last thing, be sure to get a potato knish with that sandwich.
For cheap delicious Mexican food, particularly chicken tacos, reporter Casey Toner says you can’t beat Los Portales, in Chicago Heights.
“If you’re wondering where to find it off Chicago Road, just look for the giant plaster cow on the outside of the building. It used to sit on top of the building but now it’s in the parking lot,” he says.
Last time Toner was there, he ran into Chicago Heights Mayor David Gonzalez and then mayoral assistant Frank Perez, who is now the park district superintendent.
“Not a bad place for local hobnobbing,” he adds.
Here are some of our staff’s top picks for the best chow in the Southland:
Phil Kadner, columnist:
Chicken breast sandwich on pita at The Patio. “It also has topnotch fries.”
Gyros at Mickey’s in Tinley.
Italian beef sandwich and giant meatball sandwich at Rubino’s Italian deli.
Brett Roseman, photographer:
Meatball sandwich and breaded steak sandwich at Bartolini’s in Midlothian. “Everything is great there.”
Corned beef sandwich at Bergstein’s NY Delicatessen in Chicago Heights.
Italian ice, gelato and ice cream at Zarlengo’s Italian Ice & Gelato.
Pat Disabato, sports reporter:
Pizza at Beggars. “Nothing like grabbing a slice from one of the Beggars locations; comes in a neat little pie-shaped box and, of course, it’s delicious.”
Fries and grilled chicken sandwich at Pop’s. “The Palos Heights location is the epicenter of most of the schools I cover. But you can’t go wrong with their burgers, beef and Italian sausage.”
Italian beef at Tony’s.
Phil Arvia, sports editor:
Pork chop sandwich at Hog Wild.
Fries at Ricobenes.
Italian sub at Rubinos.
Larry Ruehl, photo editor:
Sunday breakfast at The Original Pancake House at 105th Street and Western Avenue.
Fish at Calumet Fisheries. “Smoked fish as well as fried shrimp and oysters. If you eat the food there you have to sit on the curb.”
Mexican food at Lucky’s Burrito. “Plan on a nap afterwards.”
Fran Fishman, copy desk:
Tamale boat with cheese and onions at Pop’s.
Wet Italian beef sandwich with sweet peppers at Portillo's.
Tropical Blizzard at Dairy Queen. “I could live out the rest of my days on these three items alone.”
Casey Toner, reporter:
Hamburger at Wonderburger. “With such a great burger joint in Mount Greenwood, it’s a shame people get their hamburgers from the Burger King across the street.”
Mexican food at Los Portales.
Mike Deacon, news editor:
Chicken gyros at Mindy’s, “If you’re going to eat them ‘on the fly,’ napkins are a must.”
Jason Freeman, columnist:
Dough/cheese nuggets at Potsy’s Pizza.
Steak sandwich with raw onions at Mickey’s in Tinley Park.
Eggrolls from Yes Asia Café.
Matt Marton, photographer:
Turkey burger at Jive Turkey Restaurant.
Mexican food from La Loma.
Steve Metsch, reporter:
Gyros at Mickey’s in Tinley.
Pretty much anything on the menu at Bartolini’s in Midlothian. “I’m partial to the meatball sandwich, the smaller version, not the 10-pounder. The meatballs there are delicious. Good luck having room for dinner later that day. (Full disclosure: I was in the first meatball eating contest held there and, burp, wrote a story about it. Didn’t win, but those meatballs ... Mama Mia!)”
Rainbow Cone at Rainbow Cone. “Whenever I’m in Beverly and it’s a hot day, I’ve gotta stop for a Rainbow Cone.”
Susan DeMar Lafferty, reporter:
Soups, sandwiches and salads at Bergstein’s NY Deli in Chicago Heights. “The fish salad is wonderful (something you don’t find just anywhere ... and I hear the Reubens are great, too.)”
Garlic fries at the Lemon Tree in Lemont. “They’re soaked in butter (got to eat them hot).”
Soup at Sunrise Health Food Store in Flossmoor.
Donna Vickroy, columnist:
Pasta fagiole soup at Palermo’s in Oak Lawn
Chicken on pita at Mickey’s in Tinley Park
Barbecue chicken tacos from The Patio in Orland Park.