He took a 2nd mortgage out on his house to finance it, and did some of the initial construction with his own hands.
Today, the third generation is overseeing a company with nearly 20 Buona Beef restaurants, several full-service restaurants, two catering facilities, and a custom food manufacturer, Authentic Brands, which makes a line of products that includes Italian beef and sausages for their own restaurants and private label, meatballs, sauces and other products.
Italian beef is a Chicago thing, lots of stories on the origin, but the main one seems to be families made the dish for weddings and reunions, it was a way of extending a little food for a large crowd. A beef roast is marinated, slow cooked, and then simmered in its own sauce, thinly sliced and put on an Italian roll. Hot or sweet peppers are added as a personal preference.
Old hands know to order their Italian beef dry, wet or dipped, which are references to how wet you want the bun to end up from the beef’s gravy. You can order your beef as one of three different sizes (5,7, or 10 inch) – call for a “combo” and they’ll nestle a hot Italian sausage right there on a bed of beef. Getting fancy? Have some mozz melted on top. In a no bread mood? Order it by the bowl, instead of as a sandwich. It’s allowed!
So wandering into one of their Buona’s newer locations, in Algonquin, IL, I ambled up to the counter and ordered my beef wet, with a side of house-made parmesan chips. The beef was ultra flavorful and tender, the chips ultra flavorful and crispy. Dinner hour on a weeknight and the joint was jammed as was the drive-through.
I have no idea how many places there are in Chicago that serve Italian beef – a thousand or more? Each claiming theirs is the best recipe. Count Buona’s claim as deserved. I’ll be back.
Buona is set up to do party, office, or family catering and you can even place your catering orders online. Find the nearest location of a restaurant, groceries where the products is available or order online at the restaurant’s website.
Buona Beef Restaurants Review