Get a Mouthful of Hank's Juicy Beef
Located at 84 Chambers Street, you'll find a small, Chicago-style restaurant that goes by the name of "Hank's Juicy Beef." Order at the counter, but don't make the mistake of thinking this is a "fast food" joint. Everything is made fresh, so grab a seat and wait 5-10 minutes for your order to be brought over to you by one of Hank's friendly staff. Maybe sip some of "Hank's Juicy Brew" while you wait. This delicious pale ale is made in the Bronx Brewery and chances are, if you have a taste, you'll be ordering a full cup. But I digress...
First let's just state the obvious: the place is called "Hank's Juicy Beef" and I am way too immature to say that without giggling. It doesn't help that the cashiers behind the counter wear shirts that sport such statements as "Can't beat our meat" on the back (available for purchase at hanksjuicybeef.com). Hank knew what he was doing when he opened this spot. Ohhhh, he knew.
I had the privilege of sitting down with Hank the other day and getting the scoop on this new spot. Not quite a year a old, Hank's Juicy Beef is Hank's first-ever restaurant. I had originally assumed the name of the restaurant was purely a marketing ploy but, after vocalizing this theory, I was quickly set straight. Apparently, in Chicago, ordering your beef "juicy" means having it dunked in au jus sauce before it's served and, as previously stated, Hank's restaurant boasts homemade, Chicago-style dishes.
So I asked Hank, "What exactly is "Chicago-style?"
His response? "It's like French Dip... but with flavor! We don't just dip our beef in au jus, we marinate it in au jus and top it off with a house made, pickled veggie medley."
All of Hank's hotdogs, sausages and bread come straight from Chicago, so it's about as authentic as it gets. His beef is currently being shipped from family owned farms in Pennsylvania and, he assures me, the cows are all grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free, so you're only getting the best when you order at Hank's Juicy Beef.
There's something for everyone here. No need to leave out an invite for that vegetarian friend of yours, because the menu here also boasts Hank's Great-Aunt Rose's Eggplant Parmesan recipe. Although the original recipe called for fried eggplant, Hank tweaked it and uses baked eggplant instead. But how good can an eggplant dish be at a place that caters to those who love beef? I decided to try it out and see for myself.
Let's put it this way: When my eggplant parm was put down in front of me, I thought, "There's no way I'm going to be able to finish all this." Then I took a bite and thought, "There's no way I'm going to be able to stop eating!" Also layered with Hank's homemade, pickled veggie medley, Aunt Rose's Eggplant Parm sandwich is quite possibly the most delicious parm sandwich I have ever had, even surpassing chicken parmesan. It has a pleasant, sweet "ting" that tickles the taste buds and makes it impossible to put down your fork. It was also a big, messy, disaster, and I mean that in the most enthusiastic way possible. Impossible to eat without a fork, I felt no embarrassment at all as I savagely scarfed it down in the least ladylike manner possible. Three cheers to Hank's Aunt Rose.
If, somehow, you still manage to have room for dessert, you won't be disappointed. Order some homemade Italian ice (and I do mean homemade - freshly squeezed lemons and all)! The perfect combination of bitter and sweet, you'll almost believe you're sitting on your grandma's porch, sipping fresh lemonade. I was fortunate enough to be given a sample of the pineapple-lemon Italian ice that Hank is currently working on for his new menu. So tropical and refreshing, it's just what you'll be craving once the summer heat hits the city.
Oh wait... let me not forget to mention Hanks's summertime Frozé! Italian ice made with Rosé, instead of water? I'm thinking...YES.
As if there isn't enough on the menu already to make your mouth water, look out for Hank's new 1/2 lb and 1/4 pound beef sandwiches and...*drumroll please*...poutine! Set to hit the menu by May first.
Open Monday through Friday from 11:30 - 9pm and Saturday from 12pm - 4pm, Hank's Juicy Beef will leave your mouth wanting more.
Visited Hank's Juicy Beef at www.hanksjuicybeef.com, and follow on Instagram @hanksjuicybeef .
As always, I'm your,
It Girl Friday