When Carl Sandburg wrote his poem “Chicago,” he forever stamped the phrase “butcher to the world” on the Windy City. Sandburg depicted Chicago as “a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities.” One can practically smell the sizzling Angus steak between the lines.
Filet Medallions with Asparagas Courtesy of Chicago Steak Company
With the founding of the Union Stock Yards in 1865, and throughout the decades to today, Chicago has built a reputation as the nation’s Woodstock of steak. The city benefited from a good location “and a lot of luck,” says historian Joshua Specht in his book, “Red Meat Republic: A Hoof-to-Table History of How Beef Changed America.”
Although Specht details the ways in which globalization has spread the distinction of being the butcher to the world farther afield, Chicago is still the place where steak lovers can immerse themselves in beef known over the world as the most tender, marbled accompaniment to a massive, butter-smothered baked potato one can find.
Illuminated sign on the Chicago Theater, Chicago, Illinois, USA getty
As pandemic regulations have moved us all outdoors (even in winter), some of Chicago’s great steak emporiums are offering dining options in luxurious heated tents (with chandeliers) and in closely monitored and sanitized Covid-19 regulation accommodations. The oldest existing steak restaurant in Chicago, Gene and Georgetti was founded in 1941 by Gene Michelotti and his partner Alfredo Federighi, who was nicknamed “Georgetti” after a famous Italian cyclist. Located in the heart of River North, dining on a massive cut of meat at Gene & Georgetti is a Chicago rite of passage.
The oldest existing steak rest