Cheap eats in Beverly
The extensive menu of solidly executed barbecue standards here features names—Beat Cop Basket, Top Brass St. Louis Ribs—that allude to owner Kurrin Beamon’s day job as a Chicago police officer. Try the tender rib tips as well as the brisket, which is shredded rather than sliced (all the better to hold the smoky-sweet house sauce in which it’s tossed) and served up on a fresh brioche bun. Too often mac and cheese is brought down by blandness, but the version here is super flavorful, with a sharp cheddar tang and just a hint of heat that comes courtesy of finely minced chilies.
Behind its unassuming exterior, this family-friendly spot is a triple threat: It’s a small-batch coffee roaster, a neighborhood go-to for sweet baked treats like scones, doughnuts and muffins, and a bustling breakfast destination. Set yourself up for the day with hearty breakfast dishes like the smoked salmon benedict, banana batter pancakes, or chorizo and poblano skillet. On your way out, grab a bag of freshly roasted Costa Rican Tarrazu or Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans, along with a cookie or two for later.
Fans of red-sauce Italian will adore this deli, housed in a spacious storefront along a stretch of 103rd Street with a charming, Main Street USA vibe. Try one of the seriously filling hot sandwiches, like the Freddy (a thin Italian sausage patty doused in house marinara and topped with sweet peppers and melted mozz) or the Mickey (breaded steak and eggplant topped with more of the red stuff). Because everything’s fired to order here, sandwiches can take a while. Pass the time by browsing the selection of Italian imports and fresh pastas, or shoot the breeze with the friendly counter staff.
Beverly’s first microbrewery is a pleasant, airy space, with rustic beams soaring high overhead and a handsome bar that was built by neighborhood carpenters. With its selection of burgers and sandwiches, pizzas, loaded salads and beer-friendly snacks like spent-grain pretzels, the unfussy food menu casts a net wide enough to satisfy most any diner. Especially popular are the cherry-smoked barbecue offerings, like pulled pork and hot links—the Fat Chef sandwich features both, along with a scoop of creamy slaw. A six-pour flight is a good way to get a taste of the four flagship brews along with seasonals and collaborations, like Ambiguously Grain Duo, a tasty dark Alt created with Revolution.
This 65-year-old Western Avenue landmark delighted locals by reopening in 2014 (under new ownership) following a two-year hiatus. Today, as ever, it’s the neighborhood place for Chicago-style dogs, cheese fries, milkshakes and other such indulgences. For mid-century modern enthusiasts, the building itself is worth the price of admission; with its pops of orange and turquoise, quirky roofline and groovy cascading globe lights, it could be a relic of a HoJo motor lodge.
If, like many of us, your exposure to the sweet potato has been limited to the occasional side of fries, you may be surprised to learn how many forms this humble tuber can inhabit. Enter Chicago’s only sweet potato-centric cafe, a friendly, family-run spot where every menu item packs a dose of orange spuds. There are savory offerings, like a soul-warming sweet potato stew and a steak and pepper sandwich served up on soft sweet potato bread. We make a beeline for the baked goods, though; think treats like creamy sweet potato pie topped with whipped honey cream cheese and a dense, spicy pudding made with leftover sweet potato bread.
Chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House, pistachio, orange sherbet: It’s a flavor combo deeply etched in the consciousness not only of Beverly natives, but also of Chicagoans from further afield, for whom this exuberantly pink ice cream shop has long been something of a pilgrimage site. To wait in line here on a Sunday evening in summer (it looks epic but it moves quickly), to take one’s cone, with its sweet, colorful strata, out to the picnic tables and eat it quickly before it melts, is to feel part of a great Chicago tradition.
Beverly’s best pizza is in fact found just beyond the community’s border, in neighboring Evergreen Park. The tavern-style pies at this casual spot call to mind those of that critical darling to the southeast, Vito & Nick’s, except that everything’s a touch heartier here: The cracker crust is a bit more substantial, the juicy, caramelized Italian sausage is piled on with a heavier hand. If you can pass up the pizza, the red-sauced beef sandwich is sloppy but excellent.
Juicing fanatics accustomed to North Side price points will be blown away by the juice bar at this well-stocked whole foods shop, where a freshly pressed 12-ounce veggie mix (comprising beet, celery, spinach, parsley and carrot) sets you back a mere $1.75. The all-greens mix (spinach, parsley, celery, kale and cucumber) doctored up with apple and ginger is at once vegetal and bracing—a good morning-after corrective, we suspect, to South Side Irish Parade–fueled overindulgence.
Scores of paeans both professional and amateur have been penned to this Beverly gem, now in its seventh decade. And just a glance at the immutable menu and the vinyl- and paneling-dominated interior shows that its long-standing hold on diners’ hearts has nothing to do with style and everything to do with comfort and simplicity. You won’t find pretzel buns or truffle oil or bacon marmalade here, just beefy, freshly ground burgers topped, if you like, with American cheese and sweet griddled onions and served up on a sesame bun alongside a pile of hand-cut fries. Simple and just about perfect.