Cheap Eats: Kenney D’s Chicago Style Sandwichesby Tom Stauffer on May. 06, 2009, under Local, Taste
What: Kenney D’s Chicago Style Sandwiches
Address and phone: 8060 E. 22nd St., 722-8900
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays
What was ordered: Original Italian Beef ($6.25), Italian Sub ($5.90), one small lemonade ($1.75), and one medium soft drink ($1.90) for a total of $17.97, including tax, well within our Cheap Eats goal of a meal for two for less than $20.
Comments: They don’t call it the City of Broad Shoulders for nothing.
Make too much of a habit of this Chicago-style sandwich shop and everything on you will be broad, especially your mid-section.
That’s because Kenney D’s not only serves gargantuan sandwiches, but also darn good ones, particularly the Original Italian Beef.
Picture those round-top lunch boxes that blue-collar workers have, the kind that allowed Johnny Cash to take home his Cadillac one piece at a time. The Original Italian Beef here might not stand quite that tall, but it’s in the ballpark.
Served authentically soggy, this thing was heavy enough to use for curls and get a decent burn. We ordered it with hot and sweet peppers and received a generous supply of veggies that didn’t come from a jar, including an entire bell pepper cut in half.
Thing was, the 8-inch sandwich roll and pound or so of beef made the bell pepper halves look like pepperoncinis. The thin-sliced roast beef was well enhanced with the combination of sweet and hot peppers, carrots and celery, and necessarily held in a fresh yet adequately dense, old-school sub roll. A roll of any lesser constitution would have been rendered the texture of wet toilet paper given the staggering portions of juicy meat and veggies.
They sell a $5 Junior version of the Italian Beef, and I have a strong feeling that Junior applies to its size the way Little applies to Little John in Robin Hood. Unless you’re just coming off the maple syrup, lemon juice and cayenne pepper diet, Junior will be all you need and then some to hit the spot.
The Italian Sub was slightly more polite, but impressively outfitted with good-quality ham, mortadella and Genoa salami. Finished with leaf lettuce, pepperoncinis, slices of provolone and tomato, and just the right amount of oil and vinegar, it had a good balance of acidity to match the meat. In a nice, little touch, they toasted the insides of the same, excellently chewy sub roll they used for the Italian Beef.
I’d never had a Thelma’s Frozen Lemonade, and found it to be along the lines of a Dairy Queen Mr. Misty, a lopsided affair that had sweet prevailing over tart the way the Bears prevailed over the Patsies in Super Bowl XX in January 1986.
That sandwiches this respectably good are served in portions this big at prices this reasonable is impressive. You’ll get less than a third of the meat and the flavor for the price at the chain sub shops.
Kenney D’s also serves dogs, burgers and specialty sandwiches, including the Kenney D’s Ribeye, BBQ Ham and KTO Turkey Melt.
They don’t bowl you over at the counter with kindness here, which is just as it should be in characteristic Chicago style. They’ve got work to do. So do you. If you expect to finish your sandwich and not be late back to work, you don’t have time for pleasantries.
Bring your own roll of paper towels if you’re opting for the Italian Beef, or plan on sequestering a stack of napkins the height of a Jenga tower. Which is also just as it should be.
Service: Order at the counter and the food is brought to your table.
Children’s menu: no
Web site: no
Most recent health inspection: An “excellent” rating Oct. 30, 2008. No critical violations were reported.