Italian Beef Pizza in Chicago

Whether you’re on your first slice or 50th slice, taking a bite of Pequod’s Pizza is an experience unlike any other. Our deep-dish pan-size pizza with our signature caramelized crust is an artist’s palette that perfectly showcases the delicious ingredients you can put on top. You may have a penchant for sausage and pepperoni, or perhaps you’re a plain cheese purist. But have you considered topping your pizza with Italian beef? Take your taste buds on a whirl through the world of Italian beef and discover what makes a Chicago Italian beef and pizza combo a home run.

What Is Italian Beef?

Italian beef is synonymous with the food style of the Windy City, but those who don’t call our corner of the shores of Lake Michigan home may wonder what all the fuss is about.

Italian beef is a thinly sliced roasted top or tip round of beef seasoned with classic Italian herbs such as basil and oregano. Additional seasonings and spices, such as cloves, nutmeg, and black and red pepper, enhance the beef’s flavor.

Fantastic juice or gravy traditionally accompanies the meat, elevating it above standard roast beef fare. As the beef roasts during cooking, the meat sheds its fat content, leaving behind a liquid that has a gravy-like consistency. After roasting the beef, you cut the meat into thin slices before dipping it back into the broth-like juices to soak in the essence of the meat.

You generally find Italian beef served sandwich style, piled high atop a long French roll. But Italian beef doesn’t stake its claim to sandwiches alone. Read on for more about how it migrated beyond the bread.

History of Italian Beef on Pizza

Some food historians believe Italian beef originated with Italian immigrants in Chicago during the early 1900s. They discovered that slow-roasting tough cuts of beef in a flavorful broth until tender made an excellent filling for sandwiches. The Italian beef sandwich grew popular, eventually reaching Chicago restaurant menus during the 1930s.

The presence of the Union Stock Yards during the early part of Chicago’s history contributed to the growth of Italian beef. From the Civil War era through the 1920s, the Windy City was once a significant beef and pork processing center. Laborers who worked in the meat processing facilities would likely have found themselves bringing home lower-quality, tougher cuts of meat for food — the type of meat that practically begs for roasting and an infusion of seasoning and spices to make it appealing.

Although the Italian beef sandwich traces its origins to early 1900s-era Chicago, the history of using Italian beef as a pizza topping isn’t precise. But just as classic sandwiches such as the Reuben and Cubano have inspired pizza topping spinoffs, it’s no surprise that Italian beef found its way to pizza lovers’ hearts as a topping.

Why Is Italian Beef Good on Pizza?

Part of the appeal of uniting the best Chicago Italian beef and pizza lies in the interplay between spice and texture. Imagine layering the most thinly sliced pieces of spice-laden beef soaked in rich meat juices and artfully arranged on a crisp pizza crust. Combining the ingredients — the meat, cheese, and sauce — brings the best of a sandwich and a pizza together.

Like the Philly cheesesteak, there are many interpretations of an Italian beef sandwich, opening up variations for toppings on a pizza. For example, if you order a sweet Italian beef sandwich, you’ll get your meat served with roasted green or red sweet bell peppers. In contrast, ordering a hot Italian beef sandwich will give you a zesty dash of giardiniera, an Italian relish containing spicy pickled vegetables layered in olive oil or vinegar.

Applying this approach to pizzas, you can spice your pizza up or down depending on your preferences for heat or mild flavors based on your preference for Italian beef.

Recommended Toppings Alongside Italian Beef

So, are you ready to amp up your pizza’s flavor profile with a topping of Italian beef? You’re likely wondering what toppings go well with Italian beef. Unleash your taste buds on the following topping pairings with Italian beef:

Antipasto Medley

Translate the flavors of Italian antipasto to pizza. Italian beef pairs well with traditional antipasto staples, including sliced olives, cured meats such as salami and capicola, and cheeses.

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables, such as red and green bell peppers and eggplant, can add a complex smoky flavor that complements the spice and tenderness of Italian beef.

Italian Vegetables

Ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and basil tossed in a light vinaigrette are some of the primary ingredients you’ll find if you eat a Tuscan-inspired panzanella salad. This same combination of vegetables plays well with the spice of Italian beef. A sprinkling of freshly chopped Italian herbs, such as oregano, parsley, and thyme, further the flavor appeal.

Marinated Artichokes

Piquant and tender, marinated artichokes work in concert with cheese and sauce to punch up the flavor of Italian beef.


Sauteed mushrooms have an earthy, savory flavor that pairs well with the richness of Italian beef on a pizza.

Roasted Asparagus

Tender spears of roasted asparagus complement the spiciness of Italian beef. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar over the top further perks up the flavor.

Try an Italian Beef Pizza Expertly Prepared by Pequod’s

If you like a hearty meat pizza topping, you’ll love the flavor and texture of Chicago Italian beef and pizza. When you visit Pequod’s Pizza, you can taste a Chicago-style Italian beef sandwich in pizza form. Reserve your table at Pequod’s Pizza at 2207 N. Clybourn Ave. in Lincoln Park, Chicago, or at our Morton Grove location, 8520 Fernald Ave. Book online or call us at 773-327-1512 (Chicago) or 847-470-9161 (Morton Grove). We offer delivery or pickup within our Chicago and Morton Grove delivery zones. Please call us for more details and get ready to wrap your fingers around a slice today.