Hangin’ Out At…Italian Beefstro
If you’ve never had an Italian Beef sandwich, you’re missing out. Originating in Chicago (at least according to all the Travel Channel specials I’ve seen), Italian Beef is like a lazy-man’s French Dip sandwich, since they vendor does all the work for you by dunking it in the juices even before you get it. As the Italian Beefstro website puts it, “French Dip is good. Italian beef is magic.”
This is the mini Italian Beef, basically half a sandwich priced at $2.99, with cheese. I opted to have it dipped (dunked in the delicious cooking juices), but not served with sweet peppers or jardiniere, which is traditional. Why did I only order a mini?
For $2, you can add fries to your sandwich. But for a few bucks extra, you can get chili cheese fries instead. Who am I to argue with that?
Not feeling particularly beef sandwich-y today? There’s always hot dogs (from Chicago-style–which includes mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, pickles, celery salt and jardiniere–to the Chili Cheese Dog shown above to Slaw Dogs and Charbroiled Dogs).
There’s even specialty salads like the Poppy Seed Fruit Salad and the Grilled Romaine (Hear that, vegetarians? They’re looking out for you!).
The inside of the restaurant is quaint and comfortable, with booths and bar seats available. What’re those things in the back? Personal flat-screen TVs? Why, yes, yes, they are. I figure those are either there for the patrons who are on their lunch break and want to pass the time or for those who want to watch the game and ignore their spouses…
No flat screen TVs outside, but it’s beautifully landscaped, with a fountain, plants, shaded seating areas and napkins/condiments at each table so you don’t have to run inside every time you need something.
The takeaway: If you like Italian Beef sandwiches, or if the idea intrigues you, this is the place to go. The food is good, the service is welcoming, the decor is cozy, and the prices are good (Hubby and I had the hot dog, the mini, the fries, two drinks, and a brownie, all for around $15).
Location: 705 West Colonial Dr., Orlando, FL 32804 (2 lights west of I-4 on SR 50)
Hours: weekdays 11a-6p, Saturdays 11a-4p, closed on Sundays (open ’til 7 on the nights the Magic play at home, although that may change now that the new arena isn’t as close)
Menu: Here’s the menu, but the prices are out of date and I think they’ve since added a few more items. Tsk, tsk, Italian Beefstro.