Portland >Food & Dining > Michael's Italian Beef
1111 SE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR | Directions 9721445.522476 -122.654394
Neighborhoods: Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program, Buckman
Chicago style deserves a real place in Portland. This ain't – I grew up in Chicago. I had some terrible sandwiches there over the years, but nothing so horrible as my Michal's experience. I ordered an Italian beef sandwich hoping for a juicy dripping flavorful sandwich like the good ones I remember, or at least an attempt to fake something similar to places in Chi.
What I got was dry crumbly bread with steakums. When I asked for some au jus, I got the classic 'deer in the headlights' response.
Being the only 'Chicago style' sandwich in town, doesn't make it good. And I think that's too bad.
Great food, Great prices – I have been going to Michael's for over 10 years now. I can’t attest that I actually know authentic Chicago cuisine, as I am not from Chicago. But, I know a good sandwich when I eat one and Michael's is a damn good sandwich.
They make their own sausage. They make their own Italian beef. They make their own pepper garnish mixes. There is a lot of hard work and care in the products from Michael's, and it shows.
To get the full experience, order a “Combo, Hot/Sautéed”. No disappointments, but not for the weak stomach. This is a powerful sandwich.
Michael can be bellicose, but in recent years he has allowed more autonomy to his staff, so he generally stays low key nowadays. Don’t come in the door with an attitude and you won’t have problems with Michael.
Michael’s also has perhaps the best French fries in town. The fries are nothing special, but I swear they just taste better at Michael’s.
Please pay in cash if you can. Michael takes plastic but he really would like it if you gave him money in exchange for food. He really is bargain priced on his sandwiches, and the difference that the debit/credit card companies charge him actually eats into his profit significantly enough that it’s a big deal with him.
You have 10 bucks cash lying around somewhere, right? If so, you have a ½ sandwich (they are large sandwiches, ½ does for most folks) Fries and a drink, plus a buck to throw in the tip jar for the staff, and still have change in your pocket.
Fantastic sandwiches A++++ – I have to say I am a little surprised at the negative remarks. I have been going to Michael's for over twenty years and have never had anything but a positive experiences. I have brought many friends and family here and they also LOVE the place. The best italian beef in the city. Even my three year old loves it! It is a slice of chicago. For those with bad experiences with the owner and staff I would say take it with a grain of salt. If you go in expecting a bad experience then most likely you will have one. Everyone has a different point of view. Maybe you should expand yours.
Owner nuts; food OK – I grew up in Chicago, and I've had some great Italian beefs there; Michael's is mediocre. Mind you, when you live far from Chitown, Michael's is heaven-sent, but he wouldn't do well in Chicago. I will say that his fries are superb, however. His so-called Chicago hot dogs aren't fully authentic, but they're about as good as they get in Oregon. Now, Michael, on the other hand, is a raving lunatic, even by Chicago standards. He reminds me of an old lady I once saw in Chicago walking down the street yelling at no one in particular at the top of her lungs. In Chicago, people like that don't own restaurants; they're on welfare or live off of dumpster fare. He'll manage to survive as long as he doesn't leave Portland. Maybe he realizes that and the truth has driven the poor guy mad.
So if you should decide to try it, keep a weather eye on Michael and enjoy your fries. But don't stay too long.
PRETY GOOD – First time today.Had a beef sandwich with peppers and grilled onions.Good roll but small.The meat was good but not spicy enough fo my taste.Perfect fries and a lot of them.Was hoping for a beer but was told that beer is served after 2 on week days and on Saturday? How weird is that? Will go back to try the sausage next time with a cold one.
If you are in the mood for juicy and flavorful, you have to try this place. – I am not from Chicago. But if I were, and this is the native food, I'd be happy. The hot roast beef isn't for those who like rare, but it doesn't matter because the meat is tender and juicy and the au jus accompanying both the beef and sausage is amazing, as it sops the bread and drips down on your paper wrapping, in which you can use to dip your AMAZING French Fries. My son thought the fries were even better than those at In 'N Out., and that's saying a lot. I order a half beef with sauteed onions, and a half sausage with sauteed onions. Both are too good to combine and lose the nuances of each separately. I've been there at both lunch and dinner. The place was packed at lunch, and we were the only onces there on a Saturday night for dinner.
I rather enjoyed the comments about the owner on this site. If he was there on this night, he must have been on Vicodin, because everyone there was quite kind.
Fantastic. Not quite Mr. Beef, but good. – This place is wonderful. Good food. Fair prices. Sports on the TV, but not the main event. And, yes, the food is just like you get in Chicago, only better than most places in Chicago. Yes, the owner's banter is far right wing, but that's a part of the entertainment and charm. Enjoy it for what it is. Life is too short to be so easily offended. And it's too short to miss out on the good food at Michael's.
Beware of the offensive counter troll – It was the first visit for both my friend & I who were delighted at the food smells when we entered but that was the only delight we experienced. The miserable, mentally disturbed troll who is supposedly the owner and sits at the front counter said something related to a close encounter about what my friend and I could do to one another. This happened only after we paid. I was stunned and ignored him not believing what I had heard until later when I asked my friend what he heard. Clearly this fellow shouldn't be meeting the public. The food was a disappointment with the bread in particular a glob of sticky goo after the first bite. Stay away - a negative presence dwells there that will anger and offend you and steal your good mood away. There are countless fine places with great people in this part of town where you can enjoy something fine to eat so why even consider this offensive place.
The Right Taste of a Chicago style deli – We were driving up Sandy Blvd just short of the Burnside intersection and noticed Michael's. Probably made an illegal turn into their parking lot, and attracted by the great smell of deliciously cooking food, we headed to the front door. They had a help wanted sign in the window which isn't always a good harbinger. Fortunately we had a pleasant greeting, and after asking what we should try, the Chicago style Combo sandwich with both peppers and onions was recommended.
I can only say that it was one of the best sandwiches that we have had in Portland. The "notorious" owner was seated nearby, doing his paperwork quietly, and when an employee arrived, he greeted her with courtesy and respect- must have had an off day. Anyway, with the classical music, the informal atmosphere, and the very tasty food- we will be back.
For the "victims" of the owner I can only say for some reason it didn't happen to us. You probably weren't "the targets" anyway. He looked to be a normal human being. LOL
wrong taste – This skeezy joint is last on the list if you want plain old goodnes.The sick feeling after eating had me yearning for a tastey Big Mac, and I have not ate at Mcdonald for 10 years. i walk in and this Old man charges me a dollar on my card for getting a sandwich. Odd service and odd looks coming from all directions. The steak was narley and the jarred green peppers had changed colors like a leaf in spring. Bread was good if i ate it by itself
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