For more than 60 years, Joe Boston has been serving Chicago beef, and damned if he's changed thinking about changing a thing. The sparseness of the decorations on the walls are matched only by their age. The sign outside is equally ancient, and stands as an island lost in time. The continental might only be two blocks east, but stepping into the dim interior of this no-frills joint, one finds time lost in a classic (but thankfully not "retro") environment that only seems to enhance the sense that you're eating something lost to the modern world.
The beef itself, of course, is the only reason anyone would wax poetic about this restaurant, and the only reason the place still stands. While there's no cheese to be found on the sandwich, and not much else on the menu, Bostonís succeeds here by simply making a benchmark beef sandwich. The bun is dipped just the right amount, inside only, so that it works its way out and doesn't destroy the structural integrity of the sandwich. The meat itself is evenly tender, without the taste of gristle or fat. Either Joe Boston uses only the highest quality beef, or the spice of his garlic and seasonings masks and delivers a satisfying bite each time.
Best of all, Joe Boston isn't getting caught up in inflation. A regular sandwich will cost you $5, or $6.75 to include a pop and drink. Beyond that, an order of cheese fries for only two dollars, or a tamale for a mere $1.75. With prices like that, it's well worth the bus fare to experience a bite of Chicago history.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Dan Morgridge