Italian Beef Week

Italian Beef Week is a holiday observed annually, beginning on the Monday that falls around the 20th of May and continuing for a full seven days. It celebrates the Italian beef sandwich—a sandwich made from thin slices of seasoned roast beef simmered in au jus and placed on a French roll.

Sometimes the sandwich is served with cheese and/or other accompaniments such as onions, giardiniera, pepperoncini, Italian sweet peppers, and/or bell peppers. Regardless of how this sandwich is made, one thing is certain: it’s sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone eating it.

And that’s why this sandwich has become an American classic, and it’s also why this holiday is held in such high esteem across the U.S.

The History of Italian Beef Week

The Italian beef sandwich originated in Chicago sometime between the 1920s and 1930s. They are commonly sold at roadside stands and in Italian-American restaurants throughout Chicago.

These sandwiches are believed to have originated with Italian immigrants who worked in Chicago’s Union Stock Yards. Of course, this sandwich no longer belongs exclusively to this city, as it has now migrated across the U.S. Italian beef sandwiches can now be found coast to coast, although they’re more likely to be found on the East Coast and the Midwest than anywhere else.

Unfortunately, it took over seven decades for people to decide to give this iconic sandwich its own holiday week. This happened informally in 2014, but three years later, it became an official holiday when a Chicago restaurant created the first Italian Beef Week.

Observing Italian Beef Week

Obviously, the best and only way to observe this holiday is to find the best Italian beef sandwich available. Perhaps this means going to Al’s #1 Italian Beef or Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausages in Chicago, or maybe it means going to Gioia’s Deli or Amighetti’s in St. Louis.

Of course, perhaps a person wants to enjoy this sandwich on the East Coast. In that case, they’re probably going to want to visit Faicco’s Italian Specialties in New York or Peppi’s in Pittsburgh. For people not living in any of these cities, a search for #ItalianBeefWeek will likely yield the name of an Italian beef restaurant close to them.

Of course, some people might want to make their own Italian beef. If that’s the case, then all a person has to do is search for Italian beef recipes on the internet. We have our own recipe for making a simple Italian beef that we find quite enjoyable.

This recipe includes placing a chuck roast in a slow cooker with a packet of au jus gravy, a packet of ranch dressing, four tablespoons of butter, and four pepperoncini. Cook for eight hours on low, and when it’s done, break the beef up into manageable chunks, place it on French bread, and cover it in provolone cheese. Delicious!

When is it?
This year (2024)
May 20 Monday
Next year (2025)
May 19 Monday
Last year (2023)
May 22 Monday
Food & Drinks