Driving to the office the other day, i saw a new place called Jack's Chicken Shack. With a name like that, you know what to expect. So, today at lunch, Ii figured I’d give it a shot. True to its name, they serve wings and tenders. They both looked great and are massive portions. But, i saw something hiding on the corner of the menu. They do an Italian Beef Sandwich. If there is one thing I have learned, its when a restaurant does one dish that's completely different than the rest of the menu, it's bound to be good. Guess i'll have to come back to try that chicken.
The store itself is a nice little take out establishment. No dine in tables so it's carry out only. While that may turn off a few, it's the perfect set up for the location. During the day, it caters to the downtown businesses and the University. In the evening, there are numerous bars within walking distance that allow outside food.
One thing i noticed is how clean the place way. Nothing was out of place and not a speck of dirt anywhere. That is always a good sign. You know the guy has some tie to Chicago since the walls are adorned with Blackhawk and Cubs memorabilia. I did see a Cowboys plaque on the wall so this guys is alright in my book. If you are a transplant looking for a little chi-town flavor, check this spot out.
Ok, let's get to this beautiful sandwich. It's a big sandwich. It's a messy sandwich. Grab a stack of napkins and enjoy the ride!
To be fair, my only experience with an Italian Beef is watching the travel channel. I always thought they looked great, but the closest I can usually find is a French Dip. A fine sandwich in its own rite, nut a completely different animal. For those unfamiliar, an Italian Beef is a roast beef sandwich, sometime with cheese, topped by giardiniera, which is a spicy relish of pickled veggies.
Any good sandwich needs a solid foundation. The rolls used for this are perfect. The crust just firm enough to hold it all together, yet gives effortlessly when you bite into it. The inside is just the right density to soak up all the good meat juices and flavorful oil from the giardineria.
The roast beef is just right. Sliced nice and thin and full of flavor. I don't know if its made in house, but i suspect it is. It has plenty of beefy flavor you come to expect from a good roast beef.
The giardineria steals the show. It has just the right amount of heat to tingle the lips and the acidity cuts the richness of the beef and oil perfectly. The crunch of the pickled veggies is perfect contrast to the bread and the beef. It also has some melted cheese hiding in there and is a nice addition.
For $9.99, you get the massive Italian Beef and a side of fries and baked beans. The fries were good, not great. But hey, it's not called Jacks Fry Shack. They stayed crispy on the drive back to the office and were well seasoned. I have to confess, i doused them in a liberal helping af wing sauce so they didn't stay crispy for long. Truth be told, I set the baked beans aside and forgot about them. Didn't matter I was stuffed. Its 10 PM and im still not hungry.
I highly suggest you give this place a shot. It's a well run, local business with excellent service and a great product. This is a perfect recipe for success. I can't wait to try that chicken.