Buona Giving Away a Year of Beef to Celebrate First Chicago Location
Whether you like your beef dry or dunked, sweet or hot, your mouth will water at the mention of Buona Beef’s expansion into the City of Chicago. On March 22, the 35-year-old, $80 million Italian beef powerhouse will open its first restaurant inside the city limits, on the corner of 107th and Western in Beverly.
Since 1981, family-owned and operated Buona Beef has served the suburbs with 17 locations, from Hoffman Estates to Orland Park and St. Charles to Harwood Heights. Joe Buonavolanto, Sr., opened his first restaurant in Berwyn in 1981, but the Chicagoland chain’s roots go deeper than that.
Under the guidance of his uncle, Carl Bonavolanto, Jr., who co-founded the legendary Mr. Beef in 1963, Joe perfected the family recipe before branching out. He took out a second mortgage to help fund the business and dug the foundation in Berwyn himself.
Through its growth, Buona Beef continues to make its all-natural Italian beef the same way the Buonavolantos’ ancestors did in Naples, Italy. In addition to beef, the menu includes burgers and dogs, pizza, salads and more. Buona Beef believes its focus on quality, sustainable ingredients and customer service set it apart from its competitors.
The brand-new Beverly restaurant includes dining for 110 guests, 28 off-street parking spaces and a drive-thru. As part of what Buona calls its “family responsibility,” the restaurant boasts several environmentally friendly features, including high-efficiency cooking equipment and furniture made from renewable materials. An adjacent building is expected to be leased to a complimentary business, such as an ice cream or coffee shop.
Despite tempting offers from private investors, co-owner and CEO Joe Buonavolanto, Jr., his four brothers and their father have decided to keep Buona Beef in the family. With nine third-generation Buonavolantos currently in the business, they don’t feel pressured to sell.
The Beverly opening kicks off a five-year expansion plan to open four to five new stores each year, with more city locations as early as 2017. The business has also expanded to grocery, selling tubs of frozen beef and gravy at Costco, and is in negotiations with Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular Field to sell beef sandwiches at the ballparks. Buona Beef also has a thriving catering business, making daily deliveries into Chicago for office parties and other events.
In anticipation of the grand opening, the Beverly location is running a social media contest and giving away Free Beef for a Year. To enter, visit the new location at 10633 S. Western Ave., take a selfie and share it via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, tagging @buonabeef and using the hashtag #buonabeef. Submissions must be received by Monday, March 21, when Buona Beef will select 100 of its favorite pictures. Winners must visit the Beverly location on March 22 to redeem their prize.
Be a part of Chicago’s longstanding Italian Beef history by heading to Buona Beef in Beverly and digging into a juicy sandwich on March 22. Stop by a few days early, snap a selfie and share it, and the Buonavolanto family may even pay your tab!