BEVERLY — Customers hungry for Buona Beef in Beverly are a step closer to satisfying their craving.
Crews began tearing down the first of three vacant buildings at 10633 S. Western Ave. late Monday afternoon. It's the latest development in the 44-month process of bringing Buona Beef to the Far Southwest Side, according to 19th Ward Ald. Matt O'Shea.
"I wanted someplace that was family-owned" for that parcel, O'Shea said.
This will be the first Chicago location for Berwyn-based Buona Companies. The Buonavolanto family's chain has 14 "fast-casual" restaurants throughout the suburbs.
Howard Ludwig explains why it's taken so long to build the restaurant:
The family patriarchs founded Buona Beef in 1981. While best known for its Italian beef sandwich, the chain also offers handmade pizzas, salads, paninis and provides event catering.
O'Shea hopes the long-awaited development breaks ground in March. If so, Buona Beef's 3,940-square-foot restaurant with drive-through service would likely open about six months later.
Plans for the property on the northeast corner of 107th Street and Western Avenue were presented to the city's Community Development Commission on June 10.
The documents pinned the total project cost at $2,846,974. The restaurant's description is consistent with its suburban counterparts, including a brick building with decorative stone features and insulated glass windows with dark brown aluminum frames.
The restaurant is also being built with several "green" features, including high-efficiency cooking equipment, furniture made from renewable materials and Cambria countertops, which are certified as a low-emissions product.
"The developer is requesting TIF assistance in the amount not to exceed $450,000 in order to facilitate the development," the report states.
The site is about 32,036 square feet. Once completed, the restaurant will have parking for 28 vehicles and the capacity to serve 110 people, according to the documents filed with the city.
Buona Beef will employ five workers full time at the restaurant and have 20 part-time jobs available.
The developer has asked for approval of an additional "2,100-square-foot building to be leased to another commercial retail/restaurant business" on the site.
However, O'Shea said construction of this second, smaller structure would come after the restaurant was up and running — if it came at all.
The secondary site will initially be paved and landscaped for additional parking. However, Buona Beef would reserve the right to build there later.
A former muffler shop facing Western Avenue will be the last to come down as part of the demolition, as an asbestos abatement needs to be conducted prior to teardown, O'Shea said.
The alderman was excited to see this much-anticipated development move forward.
"We could use a good beef sandwich on Western Avenue," he said.
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