The 100% True Story Behind #BeefOff: A Quest for the Best Italian Beef in Chicago

September 10, 2015

BeefOff…beef……beef……beef…beef…beef.. beef BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEF BEEFBEEFBEEF!!!!

Now that the obligatory beef-slow clap is out the way, welcome. Welcome to the official blog post about our quest to find the best Italian Beef in our River North neighborhood. Or as we like to call it:

The SquarePlanet 2015 #BeefOff

Our latest adventure in make-believe culinary authority and excused gluttony began several months ago when SquarePlanet President + Chief Word Guy Brian Burkhart walked in to our office and proclaimed, “Guys, it’s time.”

To which we replied, “Brian, for the last time, you’re not qualified to coach in the NFL.”

To which Brian replied, “You’re all fired.”

Brian went on to explain how he’d been wrestling with an inner demon, that ghosts of his not too distant past were reaching out to him, calling him back. One morning when passing by Al’s Beef just across from our office doors, Brian swears he heard quiet whispers, as if from Al Ferrari himself, quietly murmuring:

“Brian, it’s been too long. Remember all the great times we had? Remember the Au Jus pool parties?”

“Pretty sure you were hallucinating,” we collectively agreed.

“No, it really happened. But that’s not all,” he went on.

Brian recalled a few weeks back, while walking a client past Portillo’s to retrieve a salad, that a sign on a window that read “Stop sucking at lunch, Brian. Come have a Italian beef with peppers instead.” He also explained mysterious letters he’s been receiving from an ‘M. Beef’ begging Brian to return after a long absence:

 “We’re stricken with beef-grief,” the letters would say. “Please help us overcome the seven stages of Beef Grief.”

Brian couldn’t resist temptation any longer. He knew he needed to welcome a dipped Italian beef sandwich with hot peppers back into his life – the only problem, he didn’t know where to turn. Al’s, Portillo’s, and Mr. Beef were all so close, and they had all shared such wonderful memories, but who was most worthy of his next bite?

There was only one answer, and it struck him that afternoon as he entered SquarePlanet HQ:

It’s time for a Beef-Off.

And so it was born. On Monday September 14, 2015, the SquarePlanet team along with the support of some friends, will be setting out on a quest to decide, once and for all, who’s beef is really king of zip code 60654.

Consumption and analysis will be done in pairs, to ensure accuracy—dipped sandwiches are up against dipped sandwiches; hot peppers vs hot peppers, etc. Awards will be given, bellies filled and hopefully some new relationships formed, of both the human and meat variety.

Can we tie our beef-endeavors into our beliefs as an organization? Can we draw out lessons about creating amazing presentations from a day of shoving 1.5 monster Italian beef sandwiches down our gullets?


But we really just want it to be about beef. At least for now. Bottom line is it’s happening, we’re excited it’s happening, and we’ll be tweeting, recording videos and posting our way through our day of indulgence. So stay tuned—There’s much beef to be had.


Beefer Sutherland

Follow #BeefOff on Twitter to be part of the action, starting at 11:30am CST on Monday, September 14, 2015.


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