Crowds Line Up for Free Beef Thursday

Customer gave away 50 vouchers to help his favorite lunch spot

By Matt Bartosik
|  Thursday, Mar 5, 2009  |  Updated 7:54 PM CDT
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Saving Mr. Beef

Courtesy: Charlie Wojciechowski

Mark DiPietro is the man giving away the free beefs.

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Saving Mr. Beef

A throng of paying customers continued after the free vouchers were given out, a sign of what all the attention has done for the business.
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The iconic Mr. Beef restaurant (666 N Orleans St) is in some financial trouble, and at least one customer on Thursday did his part in trying to keep the beef business booming.

Mark DiPietro, a senior copywriter for a marketing firm, has been a fan of the small eatery for quite some time, especially since he works just a few doors away. Upon hearing that the restaurant had been threatened with foreclosure, he started a "Keep Mr. Beef Alive" group on the popular social-networking site, Facebook.

In an attempt to beef up his efforts though, he decided to offer something that's worth a lot more than dozens of Facebook "friends": his cash.

A line of customers snaked out the door and around the corner of the eatery to receive one of DiPietro's 50 pre-paid vouchers for an Italian beef sandwich.  The cost came entirely out of his own pocket.

DiPietro said he hoped to increase revenue and support for his beloved beef shop.

Owners Joseph and Chris Zucchero are definitely flattered.

"It's remarkable that we have such a strong following," Chris told the Chicago Tribune, "and that people are willing to do stuff for us."

Chris wants to assure customers though that the business isn't going anywhere.

"We're fine, but we love the support."

Free Beef


Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue and "between blogs" blogger, prefers his beef lightly dipped with sweet peppers.

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