This dive bar’s Italian beef is straight outta Chi Town

Jim's Alley Bar Italian beef/Photography by Caleb Condit and Rebecca Norden

When Eric Flanagan, owner of the new Jim’s Alley Bar in the Crossroads (500 E. 18th St., #103, KCMO), lived in Chicago, he ate too many Italian beef sandwiches.

“I spent my twenties there and fell in love with the city and the sandwich,” he says. “I had it three times a week, which was overkill.”

Indeed, cardiologists would stand aghast at that consumption. But if there are any doctors or vegans inside the wood-paneled walls of Flanagan’s throwback dive, they keep to themselves. 

Flanagan was partial to Portillo’s, a Chicago institution now expanding to Sun Belt cities like Phoenix and Orlando. You can see the similarity in Jim’s sandos, especially the soaked bread “wet” with sweet peppers and cheese.

Jim’s gets Turano rolls par-baked in Berwyn, Illinois, just like Portillo’s. The beef comes from forty-pound flat-iron steaks slow-roasted in their juices and then cooled before slicing. Hot peppers and provolone are highly recommended. There’s also a mashup featuring Chicago beef and KC’s own Scimeca Italian sausage, called a “combo,” which is also popular in Chicago.

Social Media

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to our newsletters

Kansas City magazine keeps readers updated on the latest news in twice-weekly newsletter. 

On Tuesdays, Dish brings you food news and our critic picks. 

On Thursdays, The Loop offers exclusive news reports and our curated events picks.