Nola Chic in Chicago: Lunch at Ricobene’s

On the set of Empire today I met two wonderful ladies, both beautiful inside and out with wonderful spirits and personalities. I actually hung out with one of them after we left the set. Before I go on let me add that she is one of the coolest chics I have met, plus she reminded me of Shana, age, style, and vibe. Super fun, a good balance of class and hood with fabulous fashion sense. She’s actually a fashion designer, holds a bachelor in Fashion and she has some bomb sketches. She has a great story and I hope to tell y’all more about her on my website.

Within moments of our convo we were talking about food and right at that moment, she invited me to lunch after set. She kept bragging on this place, Ricobene’s and this sandwich they are known for, a so-called Famous breaded steak sandwich… Not a Pinoy so who cares I thought. But Ricobene’s is known for having the Best Breaded Steak Sandwich in the world. Yes, they said in the world, but that may be because they are the only ones serving it… It’s a family-owned and has been in business for over 70 years. It’s a Chicago Legendary restaurant.

I wondered why would someone want a breaded steak sandwich, basically chicken fried steak on bread with marinara sauce instead of sausage gravy. It sounded like too much bread going on, but I jumped in the passenger seat and off we went to the South Side of Chicago. As she gave me the tea on the different ”Sides of Chicago, Chicago Locals, Chicago Safety and Dating Tips (those two go together for real)” my stomach was hoping she wasn’t just hyping up this doggone restaurant. But I was hungry and willing to try anything at the moment as y’all know my struggle here to satisfy my New Orleans palate has been awful.

When we pulled up the parking lot under the bridge was just about full, upon walking in we were greeted by various races and ages of people patronizing the establishment. Now you know wherever the police and construction workers eat the food is good and they were in the house. Everyone seemed to enjoy their huge helpings of food and companions. What impressed me was that everyone spoke to us, but maybe it was for tbs bubbly personality of my new friend that bounced off everyone. Prior to going to the Empire set today, people have been going out of their way to be rude. I’m accustomed to eye contact, smiling and saying hello to any and everyone who crosses my path, but today was a better day.

So, she ordered the regular size 6-inch Famous Breaded Steak Sandwich with red gravy, hot peppers, and cheese. There’s a King Size offering as well. I did the same with the exception of hot peppers, I got mild peppers and a side of pasta. I wasn’t for biting into a sandwich full of hot peppers, I wanted to taste the flavor of the actual sandwich.

Our food was ready in minutes and as we pulled back the wrapper the aroma and sight were so pleasing that I didn’t spend time trying to get the perfect picture. As good as it smelled I waited for her, plus the sandwich was a huge perfect mess. I was sure if how to eat it, so I let her go first, plus I wanted to see her reaction. As she bit into the sandwich she closed her eyes as if drifting off into a food paradise. You know it’s good mozzarella cheese when it stretches as you pulled away and it did just that. If there was a class for picking up Chicago soggy sandwiches I think she can teach it, because I had a knife and fork. I did try but it fell apart. The marinara had a perfect tangy sweetness going on and it soaked up bread just as if one would sop it up anyway.

Yes, my new friend is definitely a Foodie and was on a food high from the first bite. She shared her how to eat a Ricobene’s Famous Breaded Steak Sandwich with me.

”So obviously you need two hands. You have to pick up the back first and then you pick the front and you have to lean into the bite or else the sauce will get all over you. It helps to have plenty of napkins available.

Initially, I thought I’d take a few bites and just write it off as another Chicago wet bread sandwich that gets discarded after a few bites. But I kept taking bite after bite of the sandwich and it felt so good that I didn’t want to stop! The mild peppers were a good addition and added to the other flavors going on. The breaded steak was shockingly tender, it wasn’t tough at all. And sauce on bread made it a little soggy, but it worked out. The whole sandwich is layers of lots of steaks and it’s so good. I have to say that the hype is real.

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