Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

SatMay 24

National Italian Beef Day – May 24, 2025

National Italian Beef Day is celebrated on the fourth Saturday of May every year. This year the day will be celebrated on May 24. It’s a national holiday to commemorate Chicago’s original Italian Beef. On this day, beef lovers from all over the world gather in local cafes, where beef is served, or go to Chicago to enjoy an Italian beef sandwich.

Edna Ferber said, “Roast beef, medium, is not only a food. It is a philosophy.” So, join our celebration to open the door to the wonderful world of philosophy and taste the best Italian Beef.

History of National Italian Beef Day

The Italian beef sandwich originated in Chicago in the 1930s, and it has become a ‘bread and butter’ for the city and statewide. It is a classic option for the ‘blue collars’ lunch — it often appears at catered parties and events. The classical Italian beef consists of thinly shaved roast beef, sweet peppers, giardiniera (sottaceti), and au jus served on a long bread roll. There are different variations, such as the removal of sweet peppers and the addition of melted cheddar. Regardless of what you put on it, you can typically order it dry or wet/dipped, depending on how juicy you want that. Some even think it is not original unless it is dripping with beef juice.

The origins are believed to be in Chicago’s Italian immigrant population that worked in the barnyards in the early 1900s. When workers would bring home tough meat from the factories that couldn’t be sold, they roasted it in spices, sliced it thinly, and served it on rolls to improve the taste. They engendered serving it at the local weddings and dinners to feed everyone, and the sandwich increased in popularity. It is difficult to pinpoint one specific point in time or person who presented the Italian beef, but most Chicago beefers would say that Pasquale Scala and a crew of his friends started it all.

Italian Beef Day started informally in 2014. After that, in 2017, Buona — a restaurant of Original Italian Beef — announced the first annual National Italian Beef Day. They decided to create a national holiday in memory of Chicago’s authentic Italian beef. The day generally falls on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

National Italian Beef Day timeline

Italian Beef

“Al Ferreri” invents the sandwich.

Widespread Popularity

The Italian beef sandwich is growing in popularity across the U.S.

Buona Beef

The restaurant is founded by Joe and Peggy Buonawolanto.

Italian Beef Week

Portillo’s establishes the national holiday as a tribute to this sandwich and its history.

National Italian Beef Day FAQs

Is Italian beef a Chicago thing?

Everyone respects the same city favorites but regularly argues about which one is technically the best. The Italian beef sandwich originated in Chicago in the 1930s, and it has since become a city and statewide food staple.

What is a wet Italian Beef?

The beef is pulled from the juice and immediately put into a roll, leaving the beef “wet”

What is the difference between Italian Beef and Philly cheesesteak?

The Windy City’s known for its Italian Beef, roasted at places like A.l’s (where they keep it in the oven for four hours) before being topped by sweet/hot peppers and dipped in the beef’s juice. In Philly, they chow down with cheesesteaks, grilled atop onions, and then topped with cheese.

National Italian Beef Day Activities

  1. Visit the windy city

    Since that Italian beef originated in Chicago, you should visit this city. Only in this way will you be able to delve into the history and feel the atmosphere in which this legendary sandwich was created.

  2. Get a 7-inch Italian beef

    Buona has many ways to celebrate Italian Beef Day. Every year they offer a free 7-inch signature Italian beef sandwich with peppers.

  3. Make your beef sandwich

    If you do not live in Chicago or do not have the opportunity to visit a restaurant, or you just love to cook yourself, then this is the perfect option for you. You can find a lot of recipes on the Internet, and choose which one you like best.

5 Facts About Chicago That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. There’s a stunning attraction for tourists

    Visitors can see four states from the Willis Tower — Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

  2. It has a river that flows backward

    The Chicago River is the only river in the world that not only runs through various canals and systems but also flows backward.

  3. The first open-heart surgery was there

    Daniel Hale Williams performed the nation’s first open-heart surgery in Chicago at Provident Hospital in 1893.

  4. There is the largest outdoor food festival

    Visitors can take part not only in food but also in musical performances of local artists and celebrities.

  5. It’s the home of the Twinkie

    The original Twinkie by Jimmy Dewar was filled with banana cream but later was replaced with vanilla cream.

Why We Love National Italian Beef Day

  1. It has an enthralling history

    Italian beef dates back to the early 1900s. National Italian Beef Day celebrates the popularity that these sandwiches have enjoyed through the decades.

  2. We love beef

    Everyone loves beef. Italian beef is special and will not leave anyone indifferent. You can order it with hot giardiniera or sweet peppers and just the right amount of gravy. This is the perfect day to celebrate our love for beef.

  3. A day to try different beef sandwiches

    Chicago serves over 20 types of Italian beef! Take your taste buds on a ride by trying different fillings of the sandwiches today.

National Italian Beef Day dates

2022May 28Saturday
2023May 27Saturday
2024May 25Saturday
2025May 24Saturday
2026May 23Saturday

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.