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This week, I decided to hit one of my old favorite spots in Downtown Las Vegas.

Tourists will not know of this one and even many locals haven’t been to this hidden little gem, even though it has been here since 1975.

Chicago Joe’s is located at 820 S. 4th Street. It is actually an old house that was converted into a restaurant. Back in its early days, Chicago Joe’s was a favorite among the mob and ironically is located by several office buildings that are home to many Las Vegas lawyers and bail bondsmen. Its central downtown location still attracts a steady stream of neighboring lawyers coming in for lunch.

As I have said many times with my articles recently since the coronavirus pandemic, I really like to go to all of my old favorite spots in Las Vegas to help support the smaller places that have served the valley for so long. There aren’t many businesses especially restaurants that have been around as long as Chicago Joe’s.

I’m Italian, so I’m always looking for good old-school Italian places to eat at and Chicago Joe’s is one of them. Before we had the luxury of apps for all of the local sportsbooks, I would stop in for lunch when I made my way downtown to place bets at one of the books.

These days, I don’t make it downtown as much.  But little has changed about the place. From the minute you walk in, it’s like you are at your mom’s or grandmother’s house, ready for a home-cooked meal. You smell the aroma of sauce and garlic immediately and can’t wait to order.

They have some really good lunch specials and that’s why they are always busy. You can get a pasta of your choice with marina or meat sauce, salad and a drink for $10. If you want to add meatballs or sausage, you can for just $3 more.

Here’s the pro move — ask for one sausage and one meatball instead of having to choose. The meatballs are some of the best in the city.

There is an appetizer dish I love because you don’t see it very often and it was a dish my Mother in Law made every year for Easter, and that’s the stuffed artichoke which is so good. Again, this is an old-school Italian dish that just brings back so many memories for me.

If you have room for dessert, which I hardly ever do, they have several good options to satisfy your sweet tooth. Two of my favorites are the Cannolis and the Limoncello Cake. The waiters are super-friendly and attentive to all your needs.

If you want good food and want to experience one of Las Vegas’ historic places, check out Chicago Joe’s. It’s definitely worth the trip to Downtown Las Vegas. I give it a rating of 3.75 Forks.

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