"Jose (Romo) showed up on the doorstep, and he'd worked in a huge kitchen back in Chicago, but he wanted a little quieter lifestyle," Brazil said. "He's been with us ever since."
The restaurant, named after Brazil's two daughters Sophia and Isabella, has long been known for its upscale dining and Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, but a trip to the National Restaurant Association Convention in Chicago is responsible for the Italian Beef Combo.
"We stopped in a little place near the convention, the name escapes me, and they had the sandwich on the menu," Brazil said. "I told my wife we should add this to the menu."
The combo takes two of the best Italian sandwiches and makes them into one.
In the early 1990s, Phil Custino brought to Oklahoma the Chicago-style Italian roast-beef sandwich, which is classic slow-roasted beef on a baguette with sweet or hot peppers, served with au jus either on the side or with the entire sandwich dipped into the au jus for a drippy, soggy wad of rich deliciousness.
Unfortunately, Custino put behind his two stores to become a baked ziti mogul for Hormel.
Sophabella's takes that style of sandwich and adds an Italian sausage link split and grilled. You can have it like that or add grilled sweet peppers, spicy giardiniera (a spicy mix of pickled vegetables) and cheese.
Sophabella's is open daily, serving brunch Saturdays and Sundays. A late-night menu is offered Fridays.
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