CHICAGO — The fourth Saturday of every May is often a celebration of summer’s start, and always a celebration of Italian beef.

According to a 2017 article, the Chicago area’s own Italian beef sandwich restaurant chain, Buona, is also the founder of the annual National Italian Beef Day. Six years later, the beef-centric celebration has grown beyond Buona.

If you’re looking for one of the best beefs party with this Saturday, May 27, check-out the top 5 Italian beef sandwiches in the Chicago area according to a WGN readers’ poll.


The originator of the “holiday” is celebrating by giving away a free beef, with up to one topping, to every user of their “MyBuona” app, including existing users. They are also offering a plant-based beefless sandwich as an alternative option to it’s classic construct.

Check out Buona’s top 5 feature here.

Al’s #1 Italian Beef

The family behind Al’s #1 Italian Beef lays claim to the sandwich’s creation and they are celebrating the day through a partnership with Chicago Food Stop. Located at 875 N. Michigan Ave., they plan to give away more than 500 beef sandwiches between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Check out Al’s top 5 feature here.

Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage

If you’re looking to celebrate National Italian Beef Day a bit early, then Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage has you covered. They are running a “get your beef before heading out of town” special at their 17 Chicago area locations.

On Thursday, May 25 and Friday, May 26, the local chain is offering a $5.50 6 in. beef sandwich (normally $6.99+) plus no extra cost for peppers.

Check out Pop’s top 5 feature here.

Scatchell’s Beef & Pizza

Of the five Italian beef purveyors on this list, Scatchell’s Beef & Pizza is the only one with a single location and the owner’s are proud of their small size and old school nature. To them, every day is Italian Beef Day and they’ve promised to offer the “same quality and service with a smile” on Saturday as they do every other day.

Check out Scatchell’s top 5 feature here.


What began as a small, family-owned beef stand in 1961 hasn’t changed much in the last 60-plus years. Johnnie’s is proud of its beef-centric, no-frills persona and its devoted sandwich fans say the same.

Between an email sent without response, and an internet scour, it appears this beef sandwich staple will not be running any specials related to National Italian Beef Day. Rest assured, that won’t prevent Johnnie’s-lovers from celebrating the best way they know how.

Check out Johnnie’s top 5 feature here.