Celebrate National Italian Beef Day at Buona

Today, May 27th, is one of the best food holidays of the year. It's the day that we celebrate a very Chicago food - Italian Beef. And there's no better way to commemorate the day than enjoying Italian beef from Buona, a family business that is celebrating 40 years of bringing their family recipes to Chicagoland.

How do you do your beef?
(L to R) Classic beef with sweet peppers, beef with red sauce, beef with hot giardiniera
and beefless Italian beef with mild giardiniera

To celebrate National Italian Beef Day, Buona is offering a free 7-inch Italian beef sandwich with peppers when you download and order from the Buona app - and the promotion continues through Monday.

Italian beef and giardiniera pizza

I love that Buona has so many ways to enjoy Italian Beef, too. I beefy sandwich on that soft Italian bread always makes me swoon, but you can also enjoy beef on a pizza or in a bowl. The Italian beef and giardiniera pizza is really delicious and if you've never tried one, you must. And because I've been leaning toward consuming less carbs, I love the option to also get a bowl that is filled with beef, sweet peppers and mozzarella cheese.

There's also a new option for the vegetarian, vegans or those who dabble in plant-based eating. It's the new Beefless Italian Beef. I don't know how they did it, but they made it completely taste and resemble an actual beef sandwich. It's got the same seasonings and is thinly sliced with a slightly different texture, but had someone handed it to me without telling me, I never would have suspected I wasn't eating meat.

The new plant-based beefless Italian beef with mild giardiniera

As a mom of five boys myself, I love the story of how this family got started in the businesses and how all five sons have been involved. 

Not familiar with Buona Beef? I was able to do a little Q & A with Joe Buonavolanto III, Director of People and third generation family member in the business to fill you in.

Can us a little about the history of Buona Beef?

We were founded in 1981 by my grandfather and grandmother, Joe & Peggy Buonavolanto, my dad and 4 uncles in Berwyn, IL. My grandparents took out a $10,000 loan on their house and opened up the restaurant with a mission to create a family legacy. It was a family business from day one, all of my uncles were involved and worked at the Berwyn location.

Today, we are thrilled to have grown from our Original Italian Beef roots to now offer a variety of menu items such as our plant‐based beef option, all‐natural chicken sandwiches, salads, pizzas and more. We also just announced the opening of our 25th location in Countryside, IL.

What makes your beef so special?

a. Our Original Italian Beef sandwich has been made the same way for over 40 years. It’s a recipe that has been passed down for generations. Our beef is slow roasted in its own natural juices, then thinly sliced. The gravy is made from the natural drippings of the beef and is all natural, contains no artificial flavors and is packed with flavor.

What's your favorite way to enjoy an Italian beef?

With family of course, but also baptised and topped with our homemade hot giardiniera

What does the term "baptised" mean?

It means we load up your sandwich with our thinly sliced beef, dip each end in our all natural gravy then give it one last dunk, fully submerging the sandwich in all its natural juices. 

Can you tell us about the new plant‐based beefless sandwich?

We launched our new Plant‐based Beefless Beef this May as a way to cater to the vegan and vegetarian communities. We love our Original Beef and we wanted to be able to share its flavor with everyone no matter you lifestyle. We developed it in partnership with Upton’s Natural’s, a seitan maker located in Chicago, IL. All of the ingredients are 100% vegan, all‐natural and are made separately from the rest of our menu items.

Why is giardiniera such an important component to a beef sandwich?

Giardiniera’s history in the US dates back just about as fair as the Italian Beef Sandwich and has been a staple in Italian cooking since the beginning of time. The pickled pepper topping adds the perfect blend of crunch, kick and vineager flavor to our savory Italian Beef.

How has Buona Beef grown since its beginning?

We started with just one location in Berwyn, IL 40 years ago. In about 1996, we started to expand, adding three to four locations each year. We also began to expand our menu items, offering families more variety while also offering more health‐conscious options like our salads and protein bowls and today, we are proud to say that we are getting ready to launch our 25th location in Countryside, IL.

What are some of your popular menu items beyond Italian beef?

Our pizzas, salads, grilled chicken sandwich and fresh pastas are all very popular among our customers, but our began beef has certainly been a favorite among customers lately. All our menu items are inspired by a family recipe and focus on all natural ingredients. When we decided to expand our menu from beef, we wanted to ensure that the other items we offered were just as delicious and gave a variety the whole family.