It's about time the outside world finally realized what makes Chicago great and steals the secret ingredient - the beef sandwich.
Al's Beef, a Chicago institution for 75 years, is heading west - to San Jose, specifically. The San Jose Mercury News reports that a horde of Midwesterners has been clamoring for hot beef sandwiches for a while and Al's is finally succumbing to pressure:
The first California location will open in meat-loving San Jose on Monday, April 15, with plans for a major Southern California expansion next.
The secret recipe for what's often called one of the nation's top sandwiches was concocted in 1938 by Al Ferreri and his sister and brother-in-law, Frances and Chris Pacelli Sr. The shops stayed in the family until 1999, when longtime customer Dave Howey (not to worry; he's half-Italian) bought Al's to preserve this regional specialty.
"When you eat it here, it's going to be just like eating in Chicago," owner Dave Howey says. "The bread is crucial, or the sandwich will dissolve."
The rest of Al's roasted and encased meat specialties will be making the trip as well. So much for that California healthy cuisine thing. But Chicago gets Lagunitas Beer, so it's at least a fair trade. Though, really, you can't have one without the other.