Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pop's Italian Beef

Pop's Italian Beef
10337 S. Kedzie Ave.
(773) 239-1243

Another fries spot. I'll be honest. Upon reading Time Out's review, I wasn't crazy about trekking 35 minutes (from Hyde Park!) down to Mount Greenwood simply to eat fries that supposedly tasted like a glorified version of McDonald's. But I did want to try out my new I-Go membership, and besides, I hadn't eaten a meal with Nat for a while. Of course, the feature presentation at Pop's is not the fries at all, but rather the Italian Beef, and a quick perusing of Skilletdoux's photo-reviews and some other stuff on the 'net got me a little more inspired.

When we finally made it down there, I was starving. I decided on the heavily advertised "superbeef" (a 9-incher), fries, and medium soda, while Nat took the plunge and ordered the daily special, the combo (Italian Beef and sausage) with fries and a soda. The fries, indeed did resemble those of the golden arches. They were thin, salty, and plentiful. A large bag plus one of the big sandwiches could legitimately satisfy two people.

In all its glory

Nat's Combo

My beef

Even better with fries

The aftermath

I'll admit that when it comes to good Italian Beef, my only real frame of reference is Al's (yes, on Taylor St.), which is pretty much an entirely different experience from Pop's. Al's grinds up their beef really finely and there is more of an emphasis on spices whereas Pop's puts more of a priority on their peppers and cuts their meat such that the texture is that of thin slices. Both the combo and the IB were huge, but not at all sick-making or hearburn-inducing. Same goes for the fries. The entire meal felt surprisingly healthy. Plus, the value is remarkable, especially when compared to Al's where I'm pretty sure the baseline beef is 7 bucks--my entire meal came to under $9 (and Nat's was even less given that it was the combo).

All in all I would say that this was our most successful trip in quite some time. I don't really have much more to say about the fries, and am having trouble determining what "5th best fries in Chicago" really signifies. I suppose one would never really go somewhere *just* for fries, so in my opinion, a large part of the "fries" category should be based on the totality of the experience. And Pop's was quite a pleasant one. The preparation area was clean, and the high school girls working behind the counter were very sweet. Their tables were well kept, and Mt. Greenwood overall seemed like a very pleasant and quiet neighborhood. Because of the distance, I'm not sure when we'll get a chance to make a return trip, but I sure hope I accidentally get lost on the Southwest side some time.

Oh, also, we saw an employee from the Popeye's next door grab dinner from Pop's and then return to work. Obviously.


Pablo said...

This is just about the coolest blog I've ever seen (OK, I'm prone to bouts of hyperbole).


Edgewater Glutton said...

This blog is fucking awesome. I'll add you to our links at

hyperRevue said...

You guys are okay.

bestonline323 said...

i cant imagine a better reason to have a blog!! Nat's Combo looks awesome!

Ill have to go check this place out sometime!

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stevesmith said...

Amazing pictures posted here. Thanks for sharing..

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Inhumanoid said...

It looks pretty tasty, I have to go there and buy one. Well I am broke so I have to sacrifice my
Generic Viagra to buy this instead.

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