Matthew "Vinnie" Mulholland was such a die-hard football fan that he would regularly travel to Chicago to catch Bears games after the football Cardinals left St. Louis for Arizona. Little did he know, these trips would inspire him to bring a little bit of Chicago cuisine back home.
Mulholland fell in love with Italian beef sandwiches on his regular jaunts to the Windy City, sampling as many versions as he could in a weekend. He was dismayed that he couldn't find this classic dish in St. Louis, so he began experimenting in his home kitchen. Eventually, he perfected his recipe and opened up his own shop in south city, Vinnie's Italian Beef & Gyros (3208 Ivanhoe Avenue; 314-644-7007).
Mulholland has nailed this hearty Chicago treat. The Italian beef sandwich at Vinnie's is a monstrously large pile of seasoned, slow-roasted beef stuffed into an au jus soaked loaf of crusty bread. A few slices of melted provolone cheese are barely visible under the generous topping of spicy housemade giardiniera. Vinnie's keeps a roll of paper towels on the tables; they are necessary for this knife-and-fork behemoth.
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