by Kat Robinson
Yes, I found another place that serves them up. However, I found something else there that comes from Chicago — that’s even better.
The place? Just Deb’s, a Chicago foods restaurant in a red building on the main drag through Mountain Home. What caught my eye when we went by was that bright yellow Vienna Beef sign. There we go again.
My photographer struck up a conversation with a couple of older ladies at a table. He was scouting the walls to see if there were Blackhawks and White Sox memorabilia amidst the Cubbies and the Bears and the Bulls. Turns out both ladies are native Chicagoans who have migrated this way. They actually started searching the walls too to find the different team hats and merchandise.
That drippy bit was from the dunking. Just Deb’s does it right — dunking the whole sandwich in the jus after it’s made.
So, here’s the thing. It didn’t quite taste like what I’d had at Carm’s up in Chicago. And I thought it was just me. To me… it tasted better. It was a bit saltier, and the beef had more substance to it. The jus soaked in the bread was just utterly delicious. I loved it.
But I thought my spent-time-in-the-Windy-City photographer would get all snobbish about it. He tried it, thought about it, had another bite. Thought about it some more. And then pronounced it the best Italian Beef sandwich he’s had.
Oh, there’s a rhyme and a reason to it. We stopped back by Just Deb’s the next day to have a few questions answered. Turns out Deb doesn’t use the Vienna beef to make the Italian Beef sandwiches. She makes her own, and she makes her own jus. She found that down here people like their beef a little less sweet and a lot more savory, so she adjusted for that. Her beef is boiled and shredded, not sliced and boiled. Get that? I do. Works for me.
You’ll find Just Deb’s at 1610 Highway 62B East in Mountain Home. It’s open for lunch and dinner every day except Saturday. (870) 425-1700 and there’s a Facebook page, too.