Taylor Street - Italian Beef & Other Chicago Foods - CLOSED

2013 list of restaurants that have captured our love and admiration
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Pete
Posts: 38
Joined: 7 years ago

6 years ago

There are a lot of great places left that I would love to nominate- Crudo, Andreoli, ShinBay (hint, hint)... I'm a little surprised I'm actually nominating this place. I admit it is a little strange to pick a restaurant that cooks niche-market Chicago comfort/street food as a representative of Phoenix's culinary greatness (though we do have way more than our fair share of Chicago-style delis). The thing is, Taylor Street is really good.

By far the best thing on the menu is the Italian beef sandwich. Italian beef is utterly mediocre unless it's made correctly, but this place does it right. As far as I've tasted, it's head-and-shoulders above every other version in the Valley. The owner, Joel, roasts the beef fresh, and it goes really well wet (dipped in beef gravy), with spicy, vinegary giardiniera. The fries are crinkle-cut, and come frozen, and they're the first good version of fries that I've had that have either of those qualities.

Besides the food, I really like the vibe this place gives off. The building is literally a former Quiznos, but you can tell that Joel really takes pride in turning out a good product and in the condition of his restaurant. It's a good example of a small, independent business that produces a consistently great product.

Caveats:
- Joel usually mans the kitchen and the counter himself, and he makes most of the food to order. This can occasionally lead to a short/medium wait, especially if it's busy. We've called ahead for take-out; that seems to solve the problem, though the fries aren't quite as good after they've cooled.
- If you eat this kind of thing too often, you will probably die at a young age, but with one fewer regret.

There is one major problem with nominating this place- community support. I am well aware that we haven't had much discussion about it. I'm pretty sure that this lack of support will prevent Taylor Street from becoming FNA for this year. It would be fairly irritating if a place this good closed (RIP Zaidi's), so I'm going to use my nomination to try to drum up some support. Even if it doesn't make it this year, if interest picks up I think there's a good shot at getting this place Food Nerd Approved in 2013.

Taylor Street Discussion Thread:
Taylor Street [Italian Beef, etc.]

Taylor Street
914 N Scottsdale Rd
Tempe, AZ 85281
480-967-8257
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Pete wrote:There is one major problem with nominating this place- community support. I am well aware that we haven't had much discussion about it. I'm pretty sure that this lack of support will prevent Taylor Street from becoming FNA for this year.
We'll see. There's a decent thread going, there's definitely a core of enthusiastic supporters, and my hunch is it'll hinge on how well those folks make themselves heard in the coming week.
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Italian Beef
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And there's a good reason for it.

I love this nomination and I love this place. I'm repeating myself, but if you dropped Taylor Street in the middle of a Chicago neighborhood, the line would be twenty deep during the lunch rush. It's not just a good beef stand, it's a great beef stand, and great beef stands are hard to find, even in Chicago. They're ubiquitous there, of course, but Italian beef is a really difficult thing to do well, even harder when you don't have a ton of turnover, and I'm consistently impressed that Joel does such a fabulous job. And I love that he's dedicated to doing it right, even without the kind of support that it deserves, and even though it sometimes takes a few more minutes to prepare. The imminent arrival of Portillo's is getting a lot of people all atwitter, and that noise will get even louder when it finally lands. But as far as I'm concerned, we already have a great beef stand -- better than Portillo's -- one that would make any Chicagoan proud, and Taylor Street is a place I sure hope we recognize, whether this year or in the future.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

There's also a little discussion and photos of corn roll tamales and the infamous Mother-In-Law from Taylor Street in this thread:

Regional guilty pleasures
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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chrislee
Posts: 169
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Location: Scottsdale, AZ
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6 years ago

We are huge fans of Taylor Street!

I don't know if there is a better value in town. Every time we eat there, I'm amazed at the prices and the quality of the accompanying food. I think the Italian Beef is $5 and Chicago dogs are $2.50? And for the best beef that I've had in town?

I am not an expert on Italian Beef but I've tried many of them around town (Lukes, Al's (now gone), Chicago Hamburger Co., etc.) and not had one to match this. I always go dipped with hot & sweet peppers. The giardiniera is great, nice & oily with a good kick. I've also had it minus the peppers a couple times when it was just me and the kids and I was sharing. The gravy works too.

Kids usually do Chicago dogs which are nice too. Never had anything here that we didn't enjoy. Do need to branch out and try more of the menu but I'd back this nomination on the beef alone!
Erin
Posts: 31
Joined: 7 years ago

6 years ago

This is just such an incredible place. You can tell how much Joel really believes in the food he is producing. It doesn't have to be complicated to be AMAZING. I wish I can say I've tried more than the beef and italian sausage but those two are just too tempting.... This place consistently puts out fantastic food and deserves our support!
PHXeater
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6 years ago

God this place is great. During my year or so living in Chicago I was getting an Italian Beef once a week and this definitely is right up there with the best. This place so deserves the attention but it drives me crazy he doesn't have help for a few hours on weekday lunches. He could easily find an asu kid very cheap to come for a few hours since it's so close to campus. Plus I bet the place would be packed every day if it was just a little faster.

Anyways, fully support this for FNA. Perhaps we could start a petition to convince him to get some part time help though!
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The Cosmic Jester
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6 years ago

I adore the place. that Italian beef is so good it almost makes me want to move to Chicago. And the combo sandwich... hoo boy, what an amazing piece of work. And they're one of the few places that somehow makes frozen fries worth eating.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Taylor Street has been named to the 2013 Food Nerd Approved list.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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