Las Vegas has long provided refuge to us Chicago expats fleeing frigid Midwestern winters, and of course we’ve brought our food with us. Al’s Beef is only the latest arrival. Here are some other notable eats:
Amore Taste of Chicago serves all things Chicago, but the deep dish pizzas are what I turn to, behemoths worth the wait (and weight), laden with tomato sauce, cheese and your choice of toppings. You’ll need a nap afterward. 3945 S. Durango Drive, 562-9000.
Hot Dog Heaven is located on the outskirts of Henderson, a destination drive for many of us. Maybe it’s the authenticity of the Chicago surliness—think Weiner’s Circle in the desert—but it’s got my vote for the Valley’s best Chicago dog. 87 E. Lake Mead Parkway, 567-5050.
Windy City Beefs N Dogs does outstanding beef sandwiches with a killer giardiniera and killer Chicago dogs. Best of all, these folks serve the forgotten Chicago fast food—the pizza puff! So much better than a Hot Pocket. 7500 W. Lake Mead Blvd. #10, 410-5016; 9711 S. Eastern Ave., 388-4300.
Garrett Popcorn is in the Miracle Mile Shops, so most locals may not even realize it’s here. But it is, and the Chicago mix—a blend of caramel and cheddar popcorn—is worth braving the Strip for. Planet Hollywood.
Sonio’s Cafe is worth the visit for the vibe alone, reminding me of every divey corner eatery I grew up around. Enjoy the food, and be sure to say hi to Uncle Teddy for me. 3900 W. Charleston Blvd., 307-2177.