Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler.
Pappy’s means business. You don’t put a Chicago-style eatery in the middle of St. Paul’s East Side without a serious intention to deliver legit food, and that includes the justly famous Italian Beef. After a quick but impassioned discussion with the cashier, we got our 6-inch sandwich dipped in jus, with hot peppers plus mozzarella and American cheeses.
The dipped hot Italian Beef at Pappy’s is more than a sandwich—it’s a monster. And not a fun Elmo or Oscar the Grouch-style “monster”—it is legitimately a lot to process. You don’t unwrap it from its wax paper so much as you shake it loose so that it can present itself: countless ounces of moist, fatty, rippling beef; slick bread; peppers; cheese; and vegetables.
This $7.50 sandwich is a serious pile of food—this dish could be split between three people with beef to spare. It’s also a lot of flavor—from the richness of the beef and jus to the chewy salty binder of the cheese to the bright, fiery heat of the peppers to the vegetal kick of the celery and carrots in the giardiniera. For a lunch that seems an awful lot like a blunt object, the Hot Italian Beef slices like a scalpel, the seductive tender texture acting as a highway to convey satisfying flavor complexity. If you’re going to roll the dice on just one 2,000-calorie megabomb of a sandwich this calendar year, let it be this one.
The Dish: Dipped Hot Italian Beef ($7.50)
The Place: Pappy’s (we went to the 1783 Maryland Ave. E., St. Paul location)
The Reason: It’s a whole lot of unctuous comfort and complexity in one big bun