Buona bringing Chicago’s original Italian beef sandwich to Florida

Two sandwiches side by side. One is filled with meatballs and covered in red sauce.
The iconic Buona Italian Beef Sandwich (left), and their meatball parm (right) | Photos via Buona

A taste of Chicago is ready to come to Florida. Buona, maker of Chicago’s Original Italian Beef, has announced its continued national expansion with plans to target additional U.S. high-growth markets. The regional Chicago icon will target Florida, as well as Texas and Arizona for new franchise locations in the coming year, as well as added expansion in key Midwestern cities. In addition to booming growth, the targeted new markets are heavily populated with former Chicago-area natives who have longed for the iconic Buona brand and its classic Windy City flavors in their communities.

While specific locations haven’t been named, Orlando, the Tampa Bay Area, and South Florida have all been identified as main area’s of interest for the brand.


Currently, the brand has over 26 locations throughout the Chicago region, as well as products in dozens of major grocers across the Midwest, Arizona and Florida. It is the largest family-owned Italian beef restaurant group and Italian Beef producer in the country.

Experience Chicago Italian Beef Sandwiches in Florida

Buona’s franchise program was launched in 2022 and includes In-Line, Drive-Through, and kiosk opportunities, with Buona’s proven business approach, industry-leading technology, shoulder-to-shoulder training, e-learning and other support to help its franchise partners grow and succeed. The program features the classic, expansive Buona menu, built on Italian beef, with sandwiches, salads and protein bowls, as well as Rainbow Cone ice cream, another Chicago icon. It is open to experienced entrepreneurs and investors interested in multi-unit opportunities. Initial investment figures range from $1.6M to $2.62M with a modest $35K franchise fee.

“Buona’s continued rapid growth is a testament to our leadership, proven business approach and of course, our signature Italian beef and other Chicago style street food,” said Joe Buonavolanto III, VP of Franchise Operations and Sales at Buona. “We hope to announce more franchise signings at the end of quarter one.”


Demand and interest for classic Italian beef sandwiches has particularly grown this past year, stemming from the popular Hulu television series, The Bear, which centers on a fictional sandwich shop in Chicago. Google searches for the sandwich have increased as fans of the series seek where they can find and try the tasty Chicago classic.

Other national staples such as Portillo’s, Jack in the Box, Shaq’s Big Chicken, and Raising Cane’s have all also identified Tampa as a top market for expansion.

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