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SKOKIE, Ill. — When WGN News Now asked where is the Chicago area’s best Italian beef sandwich, we received nearly 200 recommendations. After narrowing down the list of potentials, and putting those to a vote, you decided Buona has one of the best beefs in the area.

The Buona story begins in 1981 when the parents of five boys took out a $10,000 second mortgage, took over a small existing beef stand in Berwyn, and put the Buonavolanto brothers into business together. Yes the name of the restaurant is the first five letters of the family name, but it’s also Italian for “good”.

Joe Buonavolanto, Jr. told WGN that his parents worked with their uncle, who was the founder of Mr. Beef on Orleans, to develop the family recipe.

Today the restaurant has 26 locations across Chicagoland with 3 more in development. Buonavolanto also says their frozen products can be found in more than 1,500 grocery stores across the state.

When asked what the secret to his family’s sandwich success is, Buonavolanto says without hesitation it’s all in the gravy. Though if WGN readers are to be believed, it’s more than just the juice.

The best beef I’ve ever had. If you want quality beef with the best giardiniera out there. You can tell each beef is made with passion. Think I’ll go get one now that I’m thinking about it.

Steven S.

The beef is so delicious and rich in flavor every single time! The bread and beef juice make it the perfect texture. You keep wanting more after every bite. Nothing else compares!

Carly P.

Because, trust me.

Feliciano R.

Hours may vary by location, check your local store to confirm. The restaurant in Skokie visited by WGN is open Sunday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Want to continue your Chicago area food adventures? Check out our other two polls: Chicago’s top 5 hot dogs and top 5 tacos from our previous reports.