A Burger A Week – Tony’s Chicago Beef
Can their burger measure up to their Chicago Dog?
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It’s OK to admit it. We all have our culinary comfort zones. It’s not a fault (at least, in my humble opinion). It’s just the way we’re wired. Our experience has formed our love of some foods over others.
I’ve got a really large soft spot for “Chicago Cuisine.” Yes, I was born and raised there. So there goes my experience forming my love of that particular type of food. It’s not a difficult concept to grasp.
Let’s run through a short list (humor me for a moment). Chicago beef sandwiches, Maxwell Street Polish sausage, pizza (deep dish or thin crust, it really doesn’t matter**), and of course, the Chicago Dog (it has to have the electric green relish for it to be “official”).
** It is not my intent to start a raging pizza debate here. But there are a whole lot of us that consider thin crust, tavern, (or party) cut pizza to be REAL Chicago pizza. Here are some sources for your consideration…
Tavern Style Isn’t Just Chicago’s Signature Pizza, but Its Signature Food
Move Over, Deep Dish. Thin Crust Is the Real Pizza Of Chicago
Chicago’s Real Signature Pizza Is Crispy, Crunchy, and Nothing Like Deep Dish
🍕 Thank you for indulging that short pizza detour…
When I think of Chicago food and Sarasota, my “go-to” place to scratch that itch is Tony’s Chicago Beef Company (there are folks who like Joey D’s. I like them too!).
In my hundreds of trips to Tony’s, I have never had their burger. They sell lots of them. I see them cooking away on the small grill in their tiny shotgun kitchen.
But I’ve never been able to pass up the opportunity for a dog or a beef. That is until right now! 🍔
Tony’s looks like any typical beef stand in Chicago. Smallish, nothing fancy, down-to-earth customers, and great, simple food. In short, Tony’s is the real deal (they even got a mention in the NYT)
It’s a family affair here. Tony and his son (and occasionally his mom) run the entire operation. And it runs like they’ve been doing this for a while (and they have. Tony’s Gulf Gate location opened back in 2009! We wrote a piece about it back in 2010! 😯).
All of Tony’s burgers are “Char-Grilled.” They’ve got a few to choose from. We usually go with the signature burger version when we do these tastings. So today, we’re trying the Char-Grilled Cheeseburger!
Let’s talk about our Tony’s Chicago Beef Company burger experience…
RESTAURANT: TONY’S CHICAGO BEEF (6965 Superior Ave. (941) 922-7979)
DATE OF VISIT: FEBRUARY 28, 2023
STOP #: 23 OF 52
BURGER TASTED: CHAR-GRILLED CHEESEBURGER
📒 OUR TASTING NOTES
🍔 This burger is served as listed on the menu: mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mustard, and ketchup. Served on a toasted bun. ($6.49)
• First off, this burger is “manageable.” We’ve run across some monster burgers in our travels. This one you can eat with confidence! 😃
• I loved the cornmeal sprinkled bun. So far, this is the first bun like this. It had a lot of extra texture, which made for great overall eating.
• Shredded lettuce! (We’ve covered this before).
• I absolutely loved the pickles on this burger! They weren’t homemade or anything trendy like that. But they were really “pickley.” A nice burst of flavor in every bite.
• The burger patty itself is pretty solid. It’s a ⅓ lb. and had that char-grilled flavor as advertised. It certainly would have been a disappointment if it hadn’t.
• The Fries! These fries are right at the top of my list. They are fresh, hand-cut, natural fries. They are also double-cooked (first par-boiled and then fried). They’re super crispy and bursting with potato flavor! 🍟
Let’s check out how all of this looked when I ordered it…
BURGER TAKEAWAYS: At $6.49, this burger is a bargain! • Love the “Chicago” atmosphere • It’s hard to take a pass on the beef sandwich but DO IT. You’ll leave happy • The side order of fries is just the perfect size! • You can get a can of root beer here! (Also, regular beer) • Usually lots of parking in Gulf Gate 🚗
👀 SNEAK PEEK: This spot got its start ALL THE WAY back in 1999 (that was a different millennium!) They’re known for their delicious Cuban cuisine and live music. We’ll find out how their burger measures up! 🍔
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🗓️ SARASOTA FOOD EVENTS 🗓️
Here are some upcoming local food events that we think you might find interesting. All you need to do is make that reservation. We’ve provided you with a link to more info. (If you have an event, send us the details! (EMAIL IT)
WEEKLY POP-UP KITCHEN EVENTS – 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop
FIRST FRIDAY EACH MONTH – Cheese & Wine – Mademoiselle Paris (Downtown)
MAR 8 – Canard Vineyards Wine Dinner – Sage Restaurant
MAR 11 – Saturday Open House Wine Tasting – Michaels’s Wine Cellar
MAR 16 – Tullamore Dew Whiskey Tasting – Michael’s Wine Cellar
MAR 17 – St. Patrick’s Day Block Party – Shamrock Pub
MAR 21 – DAOU Wine Dinner – Michael’s Wine Cellar
MAR 28 – Masterworks Dinner – Sarasota Orchestra
MAR 31 – SPARCC Runway Fashion Show – INFORMATION
APR 1 – Wine Brunch & Charity Auction – Florida Winefest & Auction
APR 9 – Easter Brunch – Duval’s, Fresh, Local, Seafood
APR 9 – Easter Brunch – Element – Reservations
APR 12 – Social Club Wine Tasting – Michael’s Wine Cellar
APR 15 – Food Trucks, Tunes, & Brews 5 – INFORMATION
APR 20 TO 24 – Forks & Corks Food & Wine Festival – INFORMATION
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EVERY WEDNESDAY – The Phillippi Farmhouse Market (Oct-Apr) – DETAILS
THIRD THURSDAY NIGHT – RADD Night Market – DETAILS
EVERY SATURDAY – Sarasota Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
EVERY SATURDAY – Downtown Bradenton Public Market – DETAILS
EVERY SATURDAY – Venice Farmer’s Market – DETAILS
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Chris Blair says
In the article about Tony’s in Gulf Gate for Burger a Week, the author mentioned Chicago style pizza. Are there any pizzerias in Sarasota that offer a legit and tasty version of the Chicago style thin crust with the traditional tavern cut? I haven’t lived here long, but I’ve been keeping my eye out. My wife and I are from Evansville, IN, where tavern-cut thin crust (we call it “cracker crust”) dominates. The style came to Evansville by way of a Lebanese man from Chicago back in the 1950s who washed dishes at an incredible Lebanese restaurant called House of Como which still exists. He would use the lavash dough and make pizza for the staff. With permission, he opened up a pizzeria called Roc-a-Bar just down the road, which also still exists.