JOLIET, IL — The last time I visited The Big Chill on Joliet's west side was in mid-April when I wrote an uplifting human interest story. That morning, The Big Chill made 120 pizzas to deliver to the Stateville Correctional Center as a token of gratitude from one of the Stateville guards who had recovered from the coronavirus.
Indeed, The Big Chill is definitely known for its pizzas, but The Big Chill has much more than pizza on its menu. On Wednesday morning, in search of my first Italian beef sandwich in many weeks, I pulled into 623 Wilcox St. and ventured inside.
The Big Chill, for the time being, cannot serve indoor dining guests, but fortunately, there's a few small patio tables and chairs set up outside. Wednesday was a perfect day to sit outside, enjoy the beautiful weather and devour a truly outstanding Italian beef sandwich and for a reasonable price.
The Big Chill offers several specials available Monday through Wednesday.
I purchased the Italian beef with a small fry for $7.
With the month of September now more than halfway over, Joliet area baseball fans are blessed to have both the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox as viable shots to play in the World Series. Along the same lines, if Joliet ever hosted a World Series of local food, I think you would have to put The Big Chill's Italian beef sandwich in the discussion for best Italian beef sandwich.
The Big Chill's Italian beef comes on a toasted bun and it's loaded with garlic butter.
Boy, is this a good sandwich. At $7 for lunch, you can't go wrong with this sandwich.
About an hour later, I was on the phone with Joliet Fire Chief Greg Blaskey. I told him about The Big Chill, and he agreed that its Italian beef sandwich is a hit with many people around Joliet.
Blaskey also said that Joliet Fire Station No. 5, on the other side of Plainfield Road, is a huge fan favorite of The Big Chill's food.
One more thing: The Big Chill's Monday through Wednesday specials also feature a hot dog and small fry for $3; two pizza puffs with small fry for $6.50; poor boy with small fry for $7; a 12-inch two-topping Calzone for $9.99; a 12-inch Italian beef roll for $9.99, a 16-inch two-topping pizza with breadsticks for $20;a half tray of spaghetti or mostaccioli with four meatballs and breadsticks for $25; and a 14-inch two-topping pizza for $10.
All of those Monday through Wednesday specials sound terrific, but if it were up to me, there's one I can recommend with confidence: go with the Italian beef and small fries.
The Big Chill phone is 815-722-0355. It's at the corner of Plainfield Road and Wilcox Street and it's open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It's closed Sunday. The Big Chill also offers drive thru and delivery service.
The Big Chill has changed a lot since I last visited in April. This time, I was able to pay with a credit card. Since opening back in 1993, The Big Chill historically only accepted cash from customers.