I lived in Chicago for three years. And even though it was on a military base north of the actual city — Great Lakes Naval Training Station to be exact — I do proclaim myself to be semi-Chicagoan. I’ve experienced the snow storms, summer humidity and tornado warnings, learned about wind chill factor and went on school field trips to the the Sears Tower (now known as the Wallis Tower). I was even there when “Da Bears” won the Super Bowl and everyone I went to school with knew the words to the Super Bowl Shuffle.
So when I saw Lefty’s Pizzeria jam-packed with Chicago memorabilia, I felt like I was transported back to Chicago. There are items for the Bears, the Cubs, the Blackhawks, the Bulls, the White Sox, etc. And every time I visit, the television always seems to be tuned to a Chicago team sport. It will make any homesick Chicago native feel at ease.
But the food! Lefty’s menu has Chicago classics like hot dogs, polish dogs and pizza, of course, available as a deep dish or thin crust. Admittedly I’m not a connoisseur when determining whether a deep-dish pizza is authentic but Dennis at Radiused Corner gives it rave reviews. As for their Chicago hot dogs — it’s the equivalent of a hot dog salad on a bun!
A fully-loaded Chicago dog includes tomato slices, diced onions, a pickle spear, mustard, sport peppers, green relish and celery salt (the secret ingredient to a true Chicago dog). If the bright green relish doesn’t bother you, the toppings add a full flavor to the dog. It’s actually the only time I like relish and raw onions on anything. The seeded bun is soft and pliable — a nice touch since a cold bun always ruins my sandwich-eating experience. The Chicago hot dog comes with french fries. It’s a hearty meal, but if you’re looking for something with a lot of heft, the C.B.G.B. sandwich is the way to go.
The C.B.G.B. stands for cheesy beef on garlic bread. It may not look like much but this sandwich weighs nearly a pound. Thin slices of beef top a sandwich roll but between the roll and the beef is melted provolone cheese and garlic/parsley seasoning. The whole shebang is dipped in au jus. What you don’t see are the sweet peppers that usually top it. It’s almost too much for one person to eat, but between the house-roasted meat that tears away easy and the cheese infused with garlic — one bite and you’re addicted .
Next on my list is to try their deep-dish pizza, which is especially difficult with my on-going addiction to their sandwiches. Now if I can only part with my Walter Payton autograph the owners of Lefty’s have been coveting…!
Lefty’s is housed in Mission Hills (at the former Phil’s BBQ location) and in North Park. Both Lefty’s are closed on Mondays.
Well, now you’ve made me hungry. The bright green relish is one of my favorite parts of a Chicago dog! I’m not sure how they get it so neon, but it’s seems like one of those things that just “is”.
Ohh awesome! I’m glad to see a cool Chicago place like this. Did they keep true to the golden Chicago style hot dog rule of “you never put ketchup on a hot dog?”
When ordering ketchup was not an option but it is on the table. And I abide by Chicago law and use ketchup when I eat at the restaurant. 🙂
Maybe it’s the Chicago River that makes the relish bright green. Actually I don’t know if I want to think about it too much…
That C.B.G.B. sounds divine!
Hi Darlene – Cool, I’ve got to check this place out…I really liked the radioactive green relish on Chicago Style Dogs, altho’ I don’t dig the mustard or pickle spear. I should have bought a jar of that relish when I was there last fall…
I tried my best to describe it and thankfully it worked! 🙂
Radioactive gives you superpowers! I didn’t realize you could only get it in Chicago.
How fun for you! I am so glad you that you are trying the foods that are unique to Chicago. That is the best! I wonder how you will feel about the deep dish pizza. It always looks so tasty, but I can’t help but love my new york think crust pizza! Thanks for checking out my random recipe. It seems weird to can hamburger and I have been against the idea for some time. I recently caved because I realized it saves money if I can buy a bunch on sale, cook it up, and store it. It also is saves freezer space, and is usable if heaven forbid the electricity goes out. I live in Arizona so the natural disasters are slim except for the permanent heat :), but I would like to have a bit of food saved up in case we did lose power or something or even if my husband loses his job and groceries add up. A lot of folks are losing jobs these days and if I had food saved up we could survive better. What do you think? I felt especially motivated after Hurricane Katrina.
You’re going to have to try the stuffed pizza – My personal favorite is The Great Sausage Pie…add mushroom…with a LAYER of sausage not just a measly few hunks here and there – The pizza literally weighs 10-15 lbs too – I love turning people on to Lefty’s and the first thing I do is have them hold the box – Lefty’s is the best I’ve found outside of Chicago that claims to be “Chicago Style” – If that isn’t your bag all the pizza there is very worthy and the only pizza that we eat in San Diego – I haven’t been to the Golden Hill spot but stay loyal to the original on 30th…I’m just weird like that
Fun blog by the way!
Thanks for the hint, Nick. I like the idea of a layer of sausage. Is there an extra cost for it? I am a HUGE fan of pizza but afraid that I wouldn’t know an authentic Chicago deep dish from any others.
Thanks for visiting!
The Great Sausage Pie falls under “Specialty Pie”…so I guess that would be yes on extra cost – We’ve tried just sausage on the other styles of pizzas and it didn’t taste the same to us…not bad…just not the same – If you have had stuffed in Chicago…my favorite has always been Gino’s East but only the original spot and Nancy’s was really good too…then don’t be afraid because this is as authentic as it gets – Good eating!