Aug 1, 2022 - Things to Do

Our beefs with "The Bear"

Photo of a man posing in a white shirt
Jeremy Allen White visited Chicago last week to talk about "The Bear." Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Last week I met up again with "The Bear" star Jeremy Allen White, just hours after he casually dropped into Mr. Beef and "freaked out" the customers.

Why it matters: In arguably the summer's hottest show, White plays a chef who takes over Mr. Beef (with a different name), and it's driving new hordes of excited fans to the Italian beef stand.

Full disclosure: I'd probably spill my giardiniera too if White walked into Mr. Beef while I was downing a sandwich.

What they're saying: White explained that he hung out with Chris Zucchero, who owns Mr. Beef, had a cameo in "The Bear" and was childhood friends with showrunner Christopher Storer.

  • "I asked how it's going, and he was like, 'It's been crazy.'"
  • "We filmed there and so it was really exciting to go back and meet all these people who are into the show," says White, who was in town for a quick round of media interviews.

Our beefs: We love the show but also shared some complaints with him about un-Chicago details like…

  • A health department that uses a letter-grade system instead of our city's pass-fail system.
  • An Italian beef joint that bakes its own bread and is not open for lunch. Really?
  • "Yeah, sure, I'll take that," White responded in a totally disarming way.

Yes but: He did have a good explanation for why his character, Carmy, has almost no Chicago accent. Only his on-screen cousin Richie does.

  • "Carmy has been running away from Chicago for years, so Chris [Storer] didn't want him to really have an accent," he says. "But when Richie and Carmy are talking to each other, especially when they're shouting, it will slip out."

"The Bear" just got picked up for a second season, to be released in 2023. So keep an eye out for filming this fall.

Q&A: What's next?

M.E.: "Can you share any peeks at next season?"

J.A.W.: "No, I mean, we got picked up two weeks ago. I think they got in the writers room like two days ago. So I really don't know. But I can assume that we will construct 'The Bear,' which will be kind of like Carmy's dream restaurant."

  • "But let's say Carmy builds the restaurant he's always wanted and he gets the notoriety that he's really been after. Is that really going to fix him or make him feel any better? Is he miserable because of circumstances or is he just truly miserable? Like is this like hole in him bigger than he thought? I think that would be something interesting to explore."

M.E.: "You talk about eating at sister restaurants [tasting menu-driven] Smyth and [hearty French] Loyalist while you are in Chicago. Which of the restaurants do you think your place in 'The Bear' will end up being like?"

J.A.W.: "I think it's a good question. I mean, I think maybe something like, like Smyth. But maybe also like Loyalist. They are obviously very different, but comparable, right? I mean, I don't know. What do you think?"

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