August 12, 2022

You've seen 'The Bear,' now here's where to find a hot Italian beef sandwich in Tampa Bay

Thanks to the new hit FX television show, “The Bear,” there’s been a recent booming demand for hot Italian beef sandwiches.

And while we don’t live in the origin city of the iconic Chicago speciality, Tampa Bay has plenty of great spots to grab the thinly-sliced roast beef sandwich topped with grilled onions and peppers, and sometimes melted cheese, and famously served au jus.


Whether it’s Paul’s, Mike’s, Bruce’s or Ippolito’s, there’s a thick, juicy Italian beefer somewhere near you and it's calling your name.


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Mel’s Hot Dogs
4136 E Busch Blvd., Tampa, 813-985-8000
Since 1973, Mel’s has been serving its locally-loved Chicago beef sandwiches and the people can’t get enough. The $10.50 specialty sandwich consists of thinly sliced roast beef served on a steamed hoagie with sautéed red bell peppers and topped with traditional Chicago spicy au-jus. 
Photo via Mel’s Hot Dogs/Facebook

Mel’s Hot Dogs

4136 E Busch Blvd., Tampa, 813-985-8000
Since 1973, Mel’s has been serving its locally-loved Chicago beef sandwiches and the people can’t get enough. The $10.50 specialty sandwich consists of thinly sliced roast beef served on a steamed hoagie with sautéed red bell peppers and topped with traditional Chicago spicy au-jus.
Photo via Mel’s Hot Dogs/Facebook
Mike’s Pizza and Pub
14477 Walsingham Rd., Largo, 727-724-4100
After spending the day at Indian Rocks Beach, you’ll have worked up quite the appetite. Swing by Mike’s to try its version of a Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich and you shouldn’t be disappointed. Mike’s Italian beef tabs $10, the same as its steak and cheese, chicken Philly, corned beef and reuben sandwiches.
Photo via Mike’s Pizza and Pub/Google

Mike’s Pizza and Pub

14477 Walsingham Rd., Largo, 727-724-4100
After spending the day at Indian Rocks Beach, you’ll have worked up quite the appetite. Swing by Mike’s to try its version of a Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich and you shouldn’t be disappointed. Mike’s Italian beef tabs $10, the same as its steak and cheese, chicken Philly, corned beef and reuben sandwiches.
Photo via Mike’s Pizza and Pub/Google
Portillo’s
Multiple locations
Ever since Portillo’s opened its new St. Pete location earlier this year, its Italian beef sandwiches and Chicago-style hot dogs have been the talk of the town—even though there has been a Portillos on Tampa’s Fowler Avenue for a few years now. Regardless, it's the leading Italian beef sandwich-serving chain in the Bay right now for a reason.
Photo via Portillo’s/website

Portillo’s

Multiple locations
Ever since Portillo’s opened its new St. Pete location earlier this year, its Italian beef sandwiches and Chicago-style hot dogs have been the talk of the town—even though there has been a Portillos on Tampa’s Fowler Avenue for a few years now. Regardless, it's the leading Italian beef sandwich-serving chain in the Bay right now for a reason.
Photo via Portillo’s/website
Second City Eats
5446 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey, 727-807-6542
With its meats directly imported from Chicago, Second City can truly call their Italian beef sandwiches authentic. The pizza restaurant also hosts car shows and plans to open a second location in Hudson later this year. 
Photo via Second City Eats/Facebook

Second City Eats

5446 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey, 727-807-6542
With its meats directly imported from Chicago, Second City can truly call their Italian beef sandwiches authentic. The pizza restaurant also hosts car shows and plans to open a second location in Hudson later this year.
Photo via Second City Eats/Facebook
Bruce’s Chicago Grill & Dog House
7733 Ulmerton Rd., Largo, 727-408-5525
Bruce’s has “The Mother of All Beef Sandwiches,” and you can try the half-pound giant for $12.79. There’s also many ways you can order it, including gravy-dunked, sweet, cheesy and “burn-your-throat” hot. The four ounce sandwich runs $8.79 and six ounce for $10.79. You’ll also get a cup of homemade coleslaw and Italian gravy with your order.
Photo via Google Maps

Bruce’s Chicago Grill & Dog House

7733 Ulmerton Rd., Largo, 727-408-5525
Bruce’s has “The Mother of All Beef Sandwiches,” and you can try the half-pound giant for $12.79. There’s also many ways you can order it, including gravy-dunked, sweet, cheesy and “burn-your-throat” hot. The four ounce sandwich runs $8.79 and six ounce for $10.79. You’ll also get a cup of homemade coleslaw and Italian gravy with your order.
Photo via Google Maps

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At a time when local-based reporting is critical, support from our readers is essential to our future.