Apr 132008

In the food world Chicago is mostly known for this

But my favorite part of living (and eating) there was this monstrosity:

Italian Beef

Italian Beef

A big shout-out here to a reader and ex-Chicagoan who turned me on to Pizza Man and its truly delicious Italian Beef!

Just up the road a touch from Lenexa’s hilariously named Stonewall Inn, lies an unpretentious lunch spot that serves up some of the best humble lunch classics in true Chicago fashion and its beef is good enough to sate those unmistakable meat cravings associated with this glorious nugget of beefosity.

For the uninitiated, an italian beef is a sandwich consisting of shaved roast beef that has been cooked with italian spices. It is invariably accompanied by a thin, beefy jus infused with oregano, and topped with sauteed peppers and/or onions and/or giardiniera. Giardiniera itself is worthy of its own post, no-its own blog, but suffice it to say that it consists of pickled peppers and other vegetables. It can be hot or mild and often contains oddballs like cauliflower, carrots, green olives, capers…really anything.

photo Bella Baita B&B View on Flickr.

An italian beef can be served dry or wet (topped with a ladleful of jus) or dipped (dipped in the jus). Pizza Man serves the gravy on the side which works just fine for me. I know, wet bread? Sounds gross, but lemme tell ya people, it isn’t. It’s really really good. A lot of that has to do with the dense, spongy roll that is the carrier of all this deliciousness. It just works.

Pizza Man is a cool little place too. You order at the counter and Mr. Crusty at the counter (who really really really likes KU basketball) brings it out to you. The place was only a little busy but my beef did take a while to come out. And I got mine before the dude who was in front of me in line. Whatever, they got italian beef, man, they could tell me to fuck off and I’d still go back.

Anyway, there are a few arcade games in the joint too which you just don’t see enough of anymore. Oh, did I mention they sell beer? yeah I’m thinking about knocking back a few, eating italian beefs and playing galaga all weekend.

So Pizza Man gets a big thumbs up from me. And the menu is very sizable–lots of pizza as you can imagine, and chicago style hot dogs to boot. They also have meatball sandwiches and some other heart clogging cravables.

Meatball Sandwich

If you are hankering for more check out this web page of italian beef photos!

Or the Wikipedia Entry


Pizza Man on Urbanspoon


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  15 Responses to “The Pizza Man: 10212 Pflumm (Lenexa)”

  1. I can walk to that place from my house, but have only mocked it until now for being almost right next to another pizza place.

    I got my first taste of Italian beef in Chicago a year ago and will likely be scurrying off to Pizza Man this weekend for a dipped.

  2. Hey, I just saw that movie with that creepy Donkey Kong guy!

    That is some weird food.

  3. I ran (not walked) to this place. I wasn’t brave enough to get the Italian Beef, but I did get quite possibly the BEST meatball sandwich I’ve ever had. I’ll definitly be back. Yum.

  4. Holy cow, italian beef and now awesome meatball sandwiches? i haven’t had the pizza but Pizza Man definitely has to change its name:

    Beef Man
    Hot sloppy sandwich man
    Grease Man

    Ok these are starting to sound dirty.

  5. If you find a place that sells Chicago dogs in KC, please post it the same day you make it there! There have been 2 places that I know of that served them in the area recently, one is out of business, and one has become the overflow room for Mi Ranchito in downtown OP. (which is very good by the way). I am craving a Vienna beef dog with all the fixings and I can’t find a place in KC that serves them anymore.

  6. Olentangy, Pizza Man has ’em. If you’re farther east, my super secret information source tells me that New York deli on Troost also sells the vienna dogs. If this gentleman is lurking perhaps he can inform us of any others. He seems to know all the chicago-style joints around the metro.

  7. Man, thank you very much for turning me onto this place. I’d driven past it numerous times and always been curious, but figured I’d be disappointed. Well disappointed I was not! I had one Chicago dog but that didn’t cut it – I had to go back for round 2.

    Thanks again!

  8. Thanks for a great post about Chicago-in-KC. And kudos for my new favorite Chicago website with those pics of Italian Beef! I just spent 15 minutes looking at pics of Chicago dogs, burgers, and chili as well! And now I’m gonna go get some lunch. :)

  9. Hi I'm the super secret informer, I just now read the comments.

    Chicago Italian beefs are also sold at Rosatis Pizza (a good thin crust Chicago Pizza chain) on College & R69 and on 103rd and Wornall. The Rosatis on 103rd also has Vienna hotdogs. Check it out, you may like it. Still my fav is Pizza Man.

    New York Deli on Troost has Vienna hotdogs and they have Chicago size Corn beef & Pastrami sandwiches which are awesome! He gets his corn beef & pastrami from Chicago, its Vienna brand (of course). He also makes his own hotdog buns with the poppy seeds like they have in Chi-town.

    Other places in the KC area, Danny's dog, Maxwell Street, and another place in the Argentine area has closed down. Enjoy Lenny!

  10. Thanks Leonard! Been meaning to hit up Rosati’s for a while. And I’ll check out those other places too.

  11. As of 4/5/09 The Pizza Man has Vitner’s Chips to go along with those Vienna Dogs and Italian Beef!

  12. DLC,
    I tried the Italian Beef and it WAS SO FREAKIN GOOD. I will be back. The meatball was pretty good as well.

    But the pepper stuff(?) was so DAMN HOT! I'm avoiding that stuff from now on.

  13. Oh man, I knew Pizza Man had good pizza and dogs (we get them catered at work every now and then) but I had no idea they had Italian Beef!

    I gotta hit that place up here before too long.

    BTW, found your blog today and you've given me enough new places to eat at to close out the year… lol

  14. Slightly surprised that this place has such unanimously great reviews! I've been here once and had a Chicago Dog, and it was spot on. The standard. Exactly what you expect. Sounds like the pizza and Italian Beef are legit, too. Bravo.

    But oh man – what a dump. If it was within walking distance of where I lived I might be more forgiving, but I would think twice before even using enough gas to start up my car to head to this spot for fear the health department would have already shut it down.

    These foods are essential classics, but don't we deserve more?

    Such is the difference in perspectives between KC Lunch Spots and KCNapkins, I suppose. Call me pretentious, but the place gave me the heebie-jeebies.

    PS – I've tried every Chicago Dog I can find in KC now and will soon be posting a comparison on my site.

  15. […] are a few places around town to get a good hotdog: Dog Nuvo, Pizza Man, Clay’s Curbside Grill and some other joints that dish out a serviceable sausage of one kind […]