- 14001 Cicero Avenue
- Crestwood, IL 60445
- (708) 388-4626
- No Known Website
- No Online Menu
Months before I started dating J, I was sent up to Chicago to shoot a high school basketball game at St. Xavier University on the south side. I didn’t know then that I’d be spending so much time on the south side of Chicago and when I got off the Interstate on Cicero Avenue, my first order of business was finding some place to get an Italian beef.
The first place I came across was Nicky’s Carry-Out in Crestwood, so I stopped and got a beef. I didn’t know it at the time, but there was a Portillo’s right down the street. If I had known that, I probably would have waited, but I’m sort of glad I didn’t.
I haven’t been back to Nicky’s since then even though we do drive by it quite a bit on our way to J’s parents’ house. On my last trip home by myself, I had to make a stop at J’s parents on the way back to Lansing to pick up some things we forgot on our last trip home.
I left my parents in kind of a rush because I slept much later than I had intended. After a quick stop at my brother’s, I headed towards Chicago….hungry. I could have stopped at Portillo’s, but since I was by myself, I decided to stop at Nicky’s to see if it was what I remembered now that I’ve been formally introduced to Chicago cuisine.
Nicky’s Carry-Out is on the corner of Cicero Avenue and the Midlothian turnpike in Crestwood. There are a few Nicky’s Carry-Out’s in Chicago, but this one is unrelated to the more famous one on 58th & Kedzie. It’s not a big store and getting in can be a little confusing. You can either turn right off Cicero into the parking lot, but that turn is easy to miss. It’s right at the corner. If you go another five feet, you’re in the intersection. You can turn on Midlothian Parkway and enter the parking lot from the rear of the building.
Inside the store isn’t much either, but it is a typical Chicago style carry out which is something I really long for when I’m not in Illinois. There’s a counter in the front with two “windows.” You make your way all the way to the right to place your order then pick it up on the left side.
Being in Chicago, I ordered exactly what I was craving. An Italian beef and fries. It cost me a little over six bucks and by the time I dug the change out of my pocket, my order was being packaged up in a white paper bag. The lady who handed it to me warned me that the fries were hot, but I felt like I was picking them right out of the deep fryer with my hands. The bag was on fire.
I can’t eat Italian beef while driving, so I took at a seat at one of the handful of red plastic booths along the window. I knew the fries were hot, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the Italian beef was piping hot as well.
I tore through the layers of wax paper to find the beefy goodness. It was a little too warm to eat right away so I started picking at the meat. The meat is what makes an Italian beef. The thinly sliced top round is delicious and like nothing you can get anywhere else in the country.
After a few minutes of a cool down, I dug in with the Italian beef hunch. The bread was soaking wet and the whole thing was falling apart. It was perfect. Another big part of the sandwich is the hoagie roll it’s served on. This one soaked up the au jus perfectly and when you flip the sandwich over and eat it upside down, you’re treated to the best thing about eating in Chicago.
I polished off the sandwich in a few minutes then grabbed the bag of fries to go. I figured I could eat them in the car. I waited until I got down to my favorite Circle K so I could get a Pepsi.
When I did get into the fries, I was really surprised and ecstatic to find skin on, fresh cut fries. They were crispy and delicious. I didn’t realize it at first, but the bag of fries was pretty big. I ended up eating half and saving the rest for later in the trip. I think I opened the bag up again around New Buffalo, MI and they were still pretty warm.
Nicky’s is what I was looking for and it was what I remembered. I’ve had a few Italian beef’s in the Chicago area that were just ok. This one was much better than just ok. It was good. Next time, I’ll remember to get mozzarella on it ,but other than that, my craving was satisfied for a few more weeks.