- 7159 E. Broadway, Tucson, AZ, 85710
- Overall User Rating:
- (0 ratings)
- Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
What we ordered: One taste of Chicago sandwich ($7.99) one Italian beef and pizza sandwich ($7.99) and a Chicago tamale ($1.89), for a total of $17.87, way under our Cheap Eats goal of $20 for two people.
Comments: Have you ever thought about washing down your hot dog with a tall glass of coconut milk? At Chicago Fast Food on the East Side, you can experiment with an exciting array of cultural standouts: Italian beef and milkfish soup, a pizza sandwich with a side of mung beans, a hamburger and bitter melon …
When the family that owns Pinoy (a colloquial term for Filipino) Fast Food opened Chicago Fast Food next door, they established one of the most alluring culinary unions in local history. But despite its combined originality, the food is good enough to stand alone: If you’re just craving some meat, forget the pinakbet and go with a foot-long hot dog or a two-pound “monster of the midway” hamburger.
Atmosphere: The Chicago side of the operation—connected to Pinoy by an open doorway—is haphazardly but charmingly decorated, with cheaply framed Chicago memorabilia, tropical plants and a makeshift menu printed on paper. On the other side is the Filipino market with a little buffet line and several shelves of rice noodles, jarred coconut milk and Asian sweets.
Food: Even on the Chicago side, the menu is anything but unimaginative. In addition to the regular Italian beef and Chicago dogs, choose from colossal hybrids like the downtown Italian combo sandwich with Italian beef and sausage, or the meatlover’s fusion with Italian beef, meatballs and marinara sauce.
Our taste of Chicago was the ultimate Windy City concoction—although I’ve never seen it fully realized until now—an entire Chicago hot dog (with a pickle, tomatoes, giardiniera mix, sport peppers and all) wedged on top of an Italian beef sandwich. It was overwhelming, to say the least. But ridiculously delicious. The best part was that the flawless bread loaf, with the golden ratio of fluffiness to hardiness, managed to hold most everything in. I couldn’t really bite it all at once, though, so each taste was a little bit different: some tangy peppers and a little bun, a hot dog and a chunk of roast beef, tomato and a pickle …
My lunch partner was disappointed in his sandwich, but mostly because he chose it at the forfeit of meatier items. While the menu described the invention as an Italian beef with marinara sauce and mozzarella on top, it was really more like a pizza with a little roast beef hidden underneath. It was good, but not as good as an Italian beef or a real Chicago deep dish.
We also tried a little Chicago beef tamale, which had had been steamed inside a plastic wrapper. The beef inside was ground up pretty well and had a hint of curry sauce, giving it a tangy island flavor.
Service: Order at the counter
Bottom line: Now that I’ve seen what they can do, I’ll definitely be returning for one of their combo items with fries and a drink. It might take a while to work up to the mung beans, but you can deep fry a hamburger or throw a jar of pickles into a burrito any day of the week. I’ll keep coming back!