Russell's Barbecue in Elmwood Park has served barbecue to loyal Chicagoans since 1930. It has loads of history behind it. In fact, Jeff Mauro's love affair with barbecue pork began here years ago. Douse everything on your plate — from ribs to beef to fries — in Russell's barbecue sauce.
Jeff Mauro went to Peoria Packing Butcher for the freshest possible pork tenderloin for his schnitzel sandwich. Peoria Packing Limited launched in 1990 to provide Chicago grocery stores with local meat, and in 1993 the retail shop opened to sell high-quality meat to the public at wholesale prices.
At this sandwich shop that Jeff Mauro calls a "no-frills diner," they've been serving meals such as the corned beef sandwich the same way for 80 years. If it's a Tuesday or Saturday, don't leave without ordering the signature short rib smothered in gravy and served on a bun.
Feeling lucky? At Lucky’s Sandwich Company, you’ll always strike it rich with the “tallest sandwiches in town,” says Jeff Mauro. More than 20 supersized sandwich options are available. Jeff’s choice? The Pollo Loco that’s legendary for stacking fresh-cut french fries atop Cajun-spiced chicken.
In the back of a Mexican grocery in Chicago, this taqueria is dishing out scrumptious tacos al pastor. Sandwich King Jeff Mauro visited Tierra Caliente for tacos made with meat cooked on a vertical spit. Takeout is popular here, as room is limited.
It wouldn't be Ricobene's without ordering its signature breaded steak sandwich. Jeff Mauro stopped by to try this hefty sandwich that's breaded skirt steak stuffed in a French roll, then topped with peppers, cheese and a homemade red sauce.
When Jeff Mauro needed fresh cod for his fish sliders on Sandwich King, he knew the best place to visit would be the Isaacson and Stein Fish Company in Chicago. For more than 80 years, this market has supplied locals with all sorts of fish and seafood, including red snapper, sea bass and clams.
Jeff Mauro swung by Poor Phil's for a meal worthy of a Sandwich King. In addition to snow crab claws and lobster tails, try the Catty'Boy po' boy sandwich made with a blackened catfish that has the perfect level of spice.
This Puerto Rican restaurant is the birthplace of the "jibarito," a combination of savory steak or pork, melted cheese, crisp romaine lettuce, tomatoes, mayo and garlic all sandwiched between two flattened, deep-fried plantains (or as Jeff Mauro called it, "the world’s most interesting bun").
This is where Jeff Mauro found the perfect provolone and aged cheddar for his grilled cheese sandwich. With more than 350 cheeses and a variety of beers and meats housed in a castle-like building (turrets included), Mars Cheese Castle deserves to be called the "Kingdom of Cheese."
For more than 30 years, Jeff Mauro's favorite place to get an Italian beef sandwich has been Johnnie's Beef in Elmwood Park near Chicago. The thin-sliced roast beef is dripping in au jus and topped with sweet peppers, creating a hot and juicy sandwich that has been a local favorite for decades.
This burger spot may be a throwback in terms of decor, but it has some fancy touches. Here, you can down hand-cut seasoned fries, Chicago dogs and two types of freshly ground burgers. Hand-dipped milkshakes are amazing, too, especially in the summer, when fresh fruits are incorporated.
Le Reve's menu evokes a French bistro with plates such as crepes and the Filet de Boeuf sandwich (beef tenderloin with Cambozola cheese). But it was the restaurant's patisserie that led to a visit from Jeff Mauro. How could the Sandwich King pass up giant macarons spanning 8 inches across?
Grahamwich in downtown Chicago cranks out some cutting-edge sandwiches. Though its menu is filled with the classics, you're not going to get them the old deli way here. Instead, Graham, who Jeff Mauro dubbed the "Sandwich Wizard," serves kicked-up renditions of Reubens, grilled cheese and more.
For a true taste of comfort, Jeff Mauro turns to Silver Cloud's sloppy joe on a brioche bun. The secrets to its success: a 24-hour cooking time and pineapple juice. If you're in the mood for something else, try the chicken pot pie or grilled cheese.