Al's Beef celebrates 80 years by slinging 80-cent sandwiches Thursday

Break out your stretchy pants: Al's Italian Beef is celebrating its 80th anniversary by giving away 80-cent sandwiches.

The City of Chicago has declared Oct. 18 "Al's Beef Day" in honor of the anniversary.

Al's Italian Beef

The beef began back in 1938 in Chicago's Little Italy neighborhood. Al Ferrari, his sister Frances and brother-in-law Chris Pacelli, Sr., developed the first Italian beef recipe in Al's home kitchen during the Great Depression. Meat was hard to come by during the Depression, so Al and Chris would slice the meat very thin and place it on loaves of bread in order to make the most of what they had.

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Italian beef fans lined up at Al's Beef for 80-cent sandwiches Thursday.

The family eventually opened its original storefront at 1079 W. Taylor St. and expanded the menu to include Italian and Polish sausages, hot dogs and fries.

The original recipe is still used in Al's Italian Beef locations across the Chicago area, and fans can get a taste at any of those locations for just 80 cents on Oct. 18 between 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Peppers and cheese will cost a little extra, and a combo will run you about $3.

Al's Italian Beef

If you want the sandwich deal, you may have to wait in line. At the Al's Beef in Little Italy, the line for 80-cent beefs stretched down the block.
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