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Texans Stampede For Al's Italian Beef, Sell Out Dallas Shop

By Margaret Paulson in Food on Mar 13, 2015 9:50PM

Al's #1 Italian Beef. (_e.t/Creative Commons)

In a weird bit of food news, we’ve recently learned that Texans are losing it over Al’s No. 1 Italian Beef. In early February, Orland Park native Essa Zedan opened the first Al’s franchise in Texas near Dallas. For a whole week the restaurant ran out of food before the evening hit. In fact, Al’s went through an entire semi truck worth of food in its first day…and still ran out 30 minutes before closing. The Sunday after opening, the joint had to close for an entire day.

Predictably, people couldn’t handle this. Even Eater Dallas seems to have lost its cool on the opening of Al’s, waxing poetic with descriptions of “soft, pillowy bread” and comparing soaking a beef sandwich in gravy to giving it “a bath.”

As good food-obsessed Chicagoans, we can’t even imagine how Al’s could drive anyone into a tizzy. Unless said tizzy was induced by a dearth of options, which is likely the case in Dallas. Hear us out. Unless you’re going to the original location on Taylor Street— where the beef is still dry roasted in-house at 375 degrees and its juices, fat, garlic and spices are used to make the gravy— that we understand. But if you go to any of the franchise locations, all of which get their products from a huge USDA approved, kitchen-factory located in who-knows-where, you’re likely not getting the same quality of product.

If you can’t get to the Original Al’s No. 1 Beef (a Chicago institution since 1938), hit up Johnnie’s Beef in Elmwood Park, Mr. Beef Chicago on Orleans, Bari on Grand Ave., Joe Boston’s Italian Beef in Humboldt Park or even a Portillo’s. There are many fine options in the city to choose from. Thankfully, unlike Dallas, we don't have to settle for nothing less than the best.