Profile of a local business in Beverly or Morgan Park

Fitness 2018: Body, Mind and Spirit

By Kristin Boza

The start of a new year is a new chance to get or stay healthy, but we’re often doomed by the cold, gloomy weather that encourages hibernation. Luckily, BAPA business members offer numerous opportunities to keep you motivated to follow through on your New Year’s resolutions all year long.


Tai Chi, Kung Fu and self-defense classes are available at the Academy of Chinese Martial Arts, 9109 S. Western. Engage in Chinese martial arts to improve your health, fitness and wellness all in one place. Academy of Chinese Martial Arts is the only academy in the U.S. authorized to teach the rare liu-he-ba-fa internal style. 773-723-2795.

Do you hate group classes? Try small group or one-on-one personal training with Marianne Zarzecki at Beverly Fitness. Training focuses on total wellbeing of the body and mind. Zarzecki is certified in personal training, yoga and counseling. 773-573-2619.

Are you an adult who wants to learn the art of dance? Check out the adult ballroom dance class at Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western. Group and private lessons available in rumba, jitterbug, swing, mambo, waltz, and many more. Dance Gallery also offers dance for children as young as two. 773-445-8910.

Changing your eating habits is tough, and Registered and Licensed Dietician Kelly Devine Rickert at Devine Nutrition can help. From one-on-one nutrition to group nutrition classes to meal planning to sports nutrition, they have you covered.

Sculpt and Shred Fitness, 1791 W. 95th St. helps patrons rebuild, restore, and revitalize their mind, body and spirit through proper nutrition and exercise. Workouts are custom-designed to shred calories and sculpt your body in accordance with your fitness goals. 773-629-6152. Use your BAPA Card for a discount.

This is the reason to pray for snow: See and Ski Beverly in the Dan Ryan Woods, sponsored by Beverly Improvement Association every Sun. at 1 p.m. when there’s enough snow to cross-country ski. Meet at Beverly Bike and Ski, 9121 S. Western to rent skis, boots, poles or snowshoes ($15/day or $25/weekend) and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate.

Looking for organic food or fresh juice? Check out the selection of all types of healthy food options at Southtown Health Foods, 2100 W. 95th St. Use your BAPA Card for even more savings on vegan, vegetarian, and Paleo food options. 773-233-1856.

Some runners cool down with a cold beer. If that sounds appealing, check in to the Thirsty Thursday Running Club with Running Excels, 10328 S. Western and Open Outcry Brewing Company, 10924 S. Western. If you’re looking to upgrade your gear in 2018, head to Running Excels and use your BAPA Card for discounts. 773-629-8587.

Treadfit, 10458 S. Western, is an intense, innovative fitness program with customized workouts from certified trainers. Each class aims to improve your overall fitness level using interval training on the treadmill and full-body strength training. 773-584-8435. Use your BAPA Card.


Attachment-focused therapy is offered at Begin Within Therapy, 3301 W. 111th St. Therapists approach counseling with the knowledge that within every person lies a story. Through a safe, comfortable space, they also offer trauma treatment. 773-796-3712.

Experience “heart-centered” therapy at Beverly Therapists, 10725 S. Western, 2nd Floor. Therapists create a comforting, warm space offering a mind-body-emotional-spiritual holistic approach to counseling, including monthly wellness events. Beverly Therapists is supportive of the LGBTQ community, and offers a monthly LGBTQ group for teens. 773-719-1751.

Little Company of Mary Health Education Center, 2800 W. 95th St., offers health screenings for coronary risk, asthma, and more, as well as women’s wellness screenings for hypnosis, nutritional counseling, and other risk assessments. Additionally, a variety of wellness education programs and special events are available. 708-423-5774.

MetroSouth Medical Center, 12935 S. Gregory St., Blue Island, offers numerous classes on diabetes education, breastfeeding, childbirth, and more. 708-824-4462.

Are you over 55 years old and looking to learn something new? Check out the Renaissance Academy at Saint Xavier University, 3700 W. 103rd St. The Academy fosters intellectual growth by offering courses in literature, history, genealogy, philosophy, and other fields of interest. Members can facilitate courses. 773-298-3149.


Meditation is one essential part of overall wellbeing. Beverly Yoga Center, 1917 W. 103rd St., 2nd floor, offers tailored classes to help educate, support, and relieve many symptoms associated with their clients’ issues. Classes address anxiety, stress, insomnia, menopause, lower back issues, healthy aging, hormonal balance, and more for those looking for ways to complement Western medicine. Use your BAPA Card.

Get on the track to better wellness this year at Light House Beverly, 11240 S. Western. This yoga, therapeutic massage and wellness center offers hatha, restorative, yin and therapeutic yoga as well as myofascial release, self-care and Goddess Yoga. Release your stress and recharge.

Find a one-stop shop for beauty needs head at Relaxation Station Salon and Spa, 10655 S. Hale Ave. They offer pedicures/manicures, massage, facials, hair styling and hair coloring. The new salon recently added even more opportunities to recharge and restyle. Use your BAPA Card.

Home Cooking with Southtown Health Foods

By Kristin Boza

Chances are, eating better food is on the to-do list for 2018. Southtown Health Foods, 2100 95th St. has numerous organic food and special diet options to help you stick with your resolution, for good.

Instead of struggling with your blender for a green power drink each day, head to Southtown’s juice bar. “Our fresh juice is full of enzymes and vitamins, providing a great source of energy, which is especially great for those who want to give up coffee,” said Katie Speh, general manager. The most popular juice blend is a mix of spinach, celery, cucumber, kale and parsley with a kick of lemon, ginger and apple to sweeten it up. “People can use the juice as their healthy drink of the day, or they can use it as a juice cleanse or afternoon pick-me-up.”

“The juice is fresh for four-to-eight hours, but it’s best to drink it right away. Another option is to freeze it if you are unable to drink it right away,” Speh said.

Southtown Health Foods specializes in organic produce, and vegan and vegetarian food options. In fact, they were the very first store in all of Chicago to carry organic produce 35 years ago. They also carry a variety of allergy-free foods, including gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free items. Vegans and vegetarians who are short on time can grab a prepared meal that can be warmed up at home. Two local companies, Soul Vegan and Soul Vegetarian, are some of the locally sourced vegan and vegetarian suppliers.

Over 100 fresh, loose herbs and spices are available at Southtown. “Our customers can come in and choose different herbs to make their own tea, or to use in recipes,” Speh said. “We also offer food options for every lifestyle diet out there, from Paleo to ketogenic diets, and even help for those with diabetes who need some direction. Our staff can help guide you to a better food choice.”


Slow Cooker Short Ribs

Prep: 30 min. Cook: 6-1/4 hours. 6 servings

3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

4 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup beef broth

4 fresh thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

2 large onions, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cups dry red wine or beef broth

4 teaspoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons cold water

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. In batches, brown ribs on all sides; transfer to a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker. Add carrots, broth, thyme and bay leaf to ribs.
  2. Add onions to the same skillet; cook and stir over medium heat 8-9 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and tomato paste; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Stir in wine. Bring to a boil; cook 8-10 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add to slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.
  3. Remove ribs and vegetables; keep warm. Transfer cooking juices to a small saucepan; skim fat. Discard thyme and bay leaf. Bring juices to a boil. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Return to a boil; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened. If desired, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Serve with ribs and vegetables.

Capsule Chicago: Fashion Forward Clothing and Accessories

By Kristin Boza

Capsule Chicago, a women’s clothing and accessories boutique, opened earlier this fall at 9915 S. Walden Pkwy. The boutique is the culmination of years of planning by local resident Maura Conine.

The store offers something for everyone, a major goal of Conine’s. “There’s something for every new college graduate, but also something for her mom and sister,” she said. “We infuse contemporary brands with progressive brands that are more fashion-forward. I try to carry really well-made garments that are classics, but with a twist. There are some really classic pieces with a simple color palette, with some punches of color and trends mixed in.”

Conine worked for Nordstrom for years and cultivated a list of favorite brands, many of which she now carries at Capsule. Most of the brands are American made or artisan made, and include clothing, jewelry and handbags.

“Customers are really excited to have another option in the neighborhood and they’re very grateful that I’ve taken a chance in Beverly in being a progressive store,” Conine said. “I think we’re seeing a lot of changes happening in Beverly; many young families are moving in and while this is a great place to raise a family, many people miss certain aspects of living elsewhere in the city, like walkable restaurants, bars and boutiques. We don’t have a main street downtown area, so we’re creating a little destination here on 99th and Walden.”

It’s important to Conine to carry a wide range of sizes and price points in her merchandise. She spent time at boutiques in San Francisco and Los Angeles to find interesting brands, as well as scouring Etsy for unique, hand-crafted items. “I want to buy the clothes that I think will sell, but I also want to introduce customers to something they might not expect to love.”

Conine said she dreamed about opening a boutique for years. “I have tear-outs from magazines — before Pinterest — and I’ve used some of those ideas! It’s definitely been a dream and the fact that it’s happening is incredible. I’m so happy and lucky and just really excited,” she said.

As any new business owner will attest, Conine is finding her way. The biggest learning curve was making sure the store has enough stock on hand. “We ran out of clothes faster than I thought! I’m learning what brands I can count on to get something to me next week, since I usually have to buy six months in advance,” she said. “I definitely don’t want an empty store; you want everyone’s first time to be incredible.”

The gratifying moments are still catching Conine off-guard. For example, she recently attended a fundraiser for St. Barnabas and despite not knowing a few women at her table, she realized they had all been in her store. “Every single one of them had on a piece of clothing or accessory from the store. It was a really cool moment and definitely one that made me stop in my tracks,” she said.

Capsule will play host to trunk shows from the designers carried in the store; SoCo Jewelry will be there on Nov. 16 to showcase their handmade jewelry from Kenya. Conine also hopes to host a “girlfriend party” where five to eight friends can set up a time for a private shopping event. “The idea is to bring your own wine or cupcakes and have a fun girlfriend party to get out of the house and shop with your friends,” she said. “I plan to do it twice a month and give personal styling sessions to each woman.”

To stay up-to-date on Capsule’s events, check out their Facebook page at

Nurturing Your Body and Spirit

Good health requires a combination of preventative and restorative care. Located at 11240 S. Western, ExcellCare Physical Therapy and Erin Kelly Massage Therapy work in tandem to offer holistic approaches to reducing pain and restoring physical health.

ExcellCare Physical Therapy was established in 1999 with a mission change the way physical therapy is provided in the USA. The facility uses a hands-on approach that focuses pain reduction. “[It is] an absolutely necessary first step in creating a positive patient response,” explained Sanjoy Roy, Director of Physical Therapy. Treatment focuses on a series of purposeful techniques using manual therapy, decompression of the spine, and other forms of holistic ways to treat and cure patients. ExcellCare also integrates acupuncture and next-generation laser therapy to treat pain.

“At ExcellCare, we strongly value the patient experience and believe that the plan of care begins from the moment a patient walks through our doors,” Roy said. Driven by the mission to provide a simple and individualized system of physical therapy care that produces positive results, the staff treats many conditions, including back pain, neck pain, stenosis, arthritis, hip pain and knee pain.

In May, Erin Kelly moved her practice to ExcellCare’s facility. “Erin Kelly’s Massage Therapy practice has been a refreshing addition to the ExcellCare Physical Therapy family.” Roy said. “Our patients have been referred to Erin often for her massage therapy expertise in addition to the physical therapy treatment ExcellCare provides. ExcellCare believes in a strong and meaningful relationship with Erin Kelly to provide optimum patient care.”

Now in her tenth year of practice, Kelly trained at the Chicago School of Massage Therapy, and is a certified and licensed massage therapist specializing in myofascial trigger point therapy to effectively reduce and relieve pain. Caused by injury, repetitive motion and other common factors, myofascial pain is chronic muscle pain that can present along with fatigue, stress, weakness, loss of motion and depression. “It’s not just a sore muscle,” Kelly said.

Kelly combines her education and experience with her natural and intuitive presence and ability to ‘listen’ through therapeutic touch to provide natural healing, helping her clients feel their best. Each patient undergoes a thorough evaluation used to create a personalized treatment plan. Patients are also provided with suggestions for self-care, resources and tips to prevent pain and injury.

Exemplifying her belief and health and spirit are connected, Kelly’s light open space is conducive to healing, and the high grade therapeutic essential oils she uses boost the efficacy of treatment and enhance relaxation. Kelly appreciates working collaboratively with physical therapists to provide an extra layer of pain relief and health benefits to clients.

Kelly, a Beverly/Morgan Park resident, has built her practice here. “I’m grateful to be in a community that’s so supportive,” she said.

ExcellCare Physical Therapy accepts most insurances, and can be reached at 773-779-1111 for appointments. Learn more about the scope of their services at www. Kelly does not do medical billing but accepts referrals. Find more information or make appointments at 773-569-1015 or

Women-Owned Businesses Thrive in Beverly/Morgan Park

By Kristin Boza

It’s no secret that some extraordinary businesses call Beverly/Morgan Park home. Many of these businesses, from hair salons to clothing stores to restaurants to fitness studios and more, are owned by women. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong within this group of women who all found a way to fulfill a need within the community.

RMH Interiors + Design, 1800 W. 103rd St., is a unique lifestyle brand creating beautiful interiors for functional living. “Our approach is to use and reinvent existing pieces, working them into a fresh vision that captures a client’s lifestyle,” owner Robin Harmon said. “We also have a 3,800 square foot showroom featuring new and vintage furniture, clothing, global art and one-of-a-kind accessories for home and body.”

Harmon says that the biggest challenge she faces is doing everything herself. “Moving furniture and inventory boxes and working long hours has become a norm for me,” she said. “But the process of owning my own business has taught me patience, persistence and perseverance. Nothing is given to you in life; if you want it, you need to get it!”

Harmon says her business has survived over five years without any financial start-up gifts or loans. “As a small, minority-owned, female-gendered business, I began with my own money that I saved for four years; that in itself is a unique contribution to my ethnic culture and dialogue,” she said. “I have become an example that many minorities and women appreciate; people often visit my showroom to show their kids what is possible if you work hard enough.”

She advises female entrepreneurs to “be realistic as to what [owning a business] will take. Hire a mentor who has already done what you want to do,” she said.

Belle Up, 1915 W. 103rd St., positions itself as a one-stop shop specializing in women’s contemporary apparel and maternity wear. Owner Jamenda McCoy established the boutique in 2009 and now has locations throughout the city. McCoy advises other women business owners to always listen to their customers and adapt as necessary.

“We’ve always tried to be very sensitive to other women business owners,” McCoy said. “I was one of the founding members of the Southside Women’s Business Alliance, and we carry products by women and from other women-owned businesses in the neighborhood. Women helping women has been important in our business community. Women in our neighborhood come together to partner and find new and different ways to help develop our business corridors. Bringing a diversity of perspectives to the table is always rewarding.”

McCoy advises others to take the leap to own a business; despite doing research and calculating the risk, you may never know how it will go unless you take the plunge. “Beverly is a special community, but you have to know it. You have to invest in it and that takes a lot of work.” McCoy is always available to her customers, which is sometimes a misunderstood fact of owning a small business. “I get calls or texts in the middle of the night sometimes, but living in the community and being accessible to your customers is the life of a small business owner. As a small business, you have to be willing to commit to your customers.”

Capsule, 9915 S. Walden Pkwy., is opening on Fri., Sept. 8. Owner Maura Conine offers women’s apparel, accessories, jewelry and select gift items all around the theme of a “capsule wardrobe” — meaning an edited collection of clothes and accessories that are versatile and don’t go out of style. “Our focus at Capsule is to carry wearable pieces that offer a diverse collection of items that are thoughtful and well-made,” she said.

Conine is new to owning a business, and foresees her main challenge to be work/life balance, as she and her husband juggle caring for their two young boys. “As much as it will be challenging, I am proud to have my children see my drive and determination to fulfill my dreams of opening my own store in the neighborhood we call home,” she said. “I’m most excited to share my point of view with the community. Our goal is to get to know our customer’s needs and lifestyle in order to guide them to build more edited and effortless wardrobes. I dream of Capsule being a space that celebrates the strength and creativity of women.”

As her dreams become a reality, Conine advises other potential business owners to take their dream and make a plan. “Writing my business plan allowed me to see past the frills and fun of opening a boutique and understand the facts and figures of starting my own business,” she said. “Once that is finished and you’re still passionate about your idea or business … jump!”

In just 50 minutes, clients at Treadfit, 10458 S. Western Ave., experience calorie-melting cardio interval training and strength training. Owner Jenny Harkins says her biggest challenge as a female business owner is balancing the responsibilities of her business and her family.

“My focus on Treadfit begins when I wake up and often extends until late at night,” she said. “The hard work is rewarded when I see the amazing changes my clients go through, becoming more confident, stronger and leaner.”

With a location in the heart of Western Avenue, Harkins feels that Treadfit plays a role in highlighting what other businesses have to offer in Beverly/Morgan Park. “Many of my clients come from the surrounding cities to take classes at Treadfit. Hopefully, they will stay to shop, eat and enjoy all of our wonderful community events as well!”

Bev Lynch, owner of Running Excels, 10326 S. Western Ave., agrees with Harkins on the positive benefits her business has for other local shops. “I consider Running Excels a destination place. We draw customers from other communities, which gives Beverly some exposure,” she said.

Running Excels is the perfect place to find athletic shoes and accessories to fit the needs of any athlete — from amateur to professional. Like many other women business owners, Running Excels owner Bev Lynch understands the pressure of balancing a business and a family. “The flexibility in my schedule as a business owner allows me to leave when I need to attend to my family’s needs or events,” she said. “As females, we have learned to be organized and multi-task, handling our homes and businesses alike.”

Cakewalk Chicago, 1741 W. 99th St., specializes in baking and pastry supplies, including cookie cutters, candy molds and icings. Owner Lori Parrett sees the unique role Cakewalk Chicago has in our community and she is proud of her business’ reach. “Many of our customers are bakers who sell their products right here in Beverly/Morgan Park. Cakewalk Chicago supports the economy of these bakers, who then spend money in the community too.”

Parrett says that a significant challenge is competing with big box stores. “But it’s our personal touch that provides so much to our neighborhood,” she said. “We greet our customers by name; we celebrate birthdays, christenings, weddings and more with families while helping them make beautiful edible memories.”

She sometimes wonders if the long hours and stress are worth it. “But then a customer shares a story or a photo of a cake you helped them to make and you remember why you love what you do,” Parrett said. Overall, Parrett says the rewards are awesome and she advises other potential female business owners to “believe in yourself, do what you love, and support each other. We are stronger together.”

Sip & Shop Showcases Women-Owned Businesses

From retail to writing, interior design to salon services, women entrepreneurs and their businesses will be showcased at the Sip & Shop Girls Night Out, Thurs., Sept. 14 in the train station business districts on 103rd and 99th Streets.

The event begins with shopping, food and beverage tastings, demonstrations and more from 6 to 9 p.m. Check in at Calabria, 1905 W. 103rd St., to get a free souvenir wine tote, then start visiting participating businesses: Belle Up, Beverly Barre, Beverly Yoga Center, B Sides Coffee, Cakewalk Chicago/Markland Hubbard, Capsule, Chicago Writers Studio, Heritage Gallery & Gifts, New Beginning Alterations, Pizzeria Deepo, RMH Design, Root, Running Excels, Sweet Freaks and Tranquility.

A BYOB after party will be held from 9 to 11 p.m. at Tranquility, 9908 S. Walden Pkwy.

Admission is $10 in advance or $15 at the door and includes a souvenir wine tote. Buy advance tickets at participating businesses, get your tickets online! 

Sip & Shop is sponsored by Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA), Southside Women’s Business Alliance and Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association.

Beverly Bike and Ski Sponsors Cyclocross Event

By Kristin Boza

Over 700 cyclists will descend upon the Dan Ryan Woods for friendly competition in the 9th annual Chicago Cross Cup Cyclocross bike race event on Sun., Oct. 8. Sponsored by Beverly Bike and Ski, 9121 S. Western Ave., the event is also a draw for spectators as it showcases the beauty of the Dan Ryan Woods to those from the community and from around the country.

Paul Weise, owner of Beverly Bike and Ski, sponsors the event and the Beverly Bike Racing team, which coordinates and participates in Cyclocross and other road races throughout the year.

Weise and his wife, Kathleen, have owned the popular bike business since 1996 — the store originally opened in 1921.  Weise recounts many tales of the history of the shop. “One of the most common stories I hear from customers is how people in the 1920s and ’30s would spend their Sundays grabbing a Rainbow Cone and stopping into the shop to look at the Schwinns,” he said. “When I first bought the shop, I realized the basement had a whole section filled with unicycle parts, including stacks of tires and seat pads. I asked the old owner what that was about and he said the shop used to be the official repair center for Ringling Bros. circus.”

Beverly Bike and Ski sells quality bikes for all ages that are fitted to the riders. The expert staff of mechanics keeps all makes of bikes in top condition, providing tune-ups and repairs. The store also services cross country and downhill skis. Before buying the store, Weise was head mechanic of the bike and ski departments for Erehwon Mountain Outfitters. Beverly Bike and Ski store manager Mike Wurster has 20+ years in the biking industry.

Weise likes to see his Beverly/Morgan Park neighbors staying active, biking in spring, summer and fall, and skiing in the winter. The store rents and sells cross country skis and snowshoes, and support the Beverly Improvement Association’s winter ski outings in the Dan Ryan Woods. Weise’s community spirit does not stop there! The shop sponsors the American Cancer Society Walk and Roll, and is the major sponsor of BAPA’s Beverly Hills Cycling Classic.

Perfect Fall Spectator Sport

Cyclocross has a long history, dating back to the 1910s and ’20s. Tony Rienks, Beverly Bike Racing team member and coordinator of the local races for the annual Cyclocross event, which features a variety of racing challenges as riders compete on trails, up and down hills, and across an obstacle course-worthy variety of terrains.

Rienks is looking to make this year’s event bigger and better. “In the past, the people who came to our Cyclocross event were a part of the cycling community. Now, we’re trying to open it up to everyone in Beverly as a spectator sport,” Rienks said. “Our race is one out of a 12-race series, and we’re the one that has the hills. The best part is the spot in the race at 87th and Western, when you can see the downtown skyline from the top of the hill. It’s a beautiful feature for our riders.”

The races officially run between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., and spectators can enjoy watching during any period of time. But Rienks thinks the best time to come out is between 2:30 and 4 during the slower-paced adult race. “When the beginners are out there, you will really see how well-supported these racers are. It’s truly a sport for everybody who might want to try something competitive.”

One unique Chicago tradition during Cyclocross is what is known as Hand Ups. Spectators can “hand up” an item — from a dollar bill to a jelly donut — for the riders to grab as they pass by.

“Some of the most common hand ups are bacon and Twizzlers. Why do we do it? Who knows why, it’s just because! It’s about the spectators recognizing the rider making an effort and trying to give them something silly; the crowd starts cheering once the rider takes the item,” Rienks said.

Find details and a race schedule for the local Cyclocross events at Shop at Beverly Bike and Ski 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon., Tues. and Thurs.; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat.; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sun. Closed Wed.

Home Cooking: Franconello’s

By Kristin Boza

Franconello’s has been serving fine Italian cuisine in Beverly/Morgan Park since 1993, opened by Frank Ruffolo and Nello Sabatini. After a devastating fire four years ago, the owners decided to take their time to repair the damage to come back stronger than ever and once again serve the community.

“We have a different type of clientele than other restaurants throughout the city,” said Frank A. Ruffolo, son of owner Frank Ruffolo. “This is a very family-oriented neighborhood; we’ve been welcomed into the community and accepted for 25 years.”

Well-known for the homemade gnocchi, a handmade Itailan potato dumpling, and their fresh marinara sauce, Franconello’s also boasts an incredible 2-inch center cut pork chop. Other Italian style staples include chicken parmesan, shrimp diavalo, and, of course, their homemade tiramisu.

“The gnocchi and tiramisu are a dying art since they’re so labor intensive,” Ruffolo said. “It takes a lot of time and practice to make, but you can really tell the difference between these dishes made from hand and those that are pre-prepared.”

Sausage Franconello is another crowd favorite, putting sausage, peppers, potatoes and mushrooms into one dish. “Any time you come in here, you’ll see at least one of these dishes on every table; it’s been on the menu since we opened,” Ruffolo said. “We don’t want to mess with the classics.”

“People always ask us what’s the secret to our food. For a lot of it, there’s no secret recipe. It’s about using quality ingredients to start with,” Ruffolo said. “When you start with a lower quality food, you’ll end up with a bad dish. We always use fresh, seasonal produce for our weekly specials, and our sausage is a house-made blend.”

Ruffolo knows that providing a great dining experience is just as important as the food. “Our chefs have become our family and have been here forever. Our bus boys and waitresses know our clients by name. You feel welcome when you come in and you feel like family,” he said.

Franconello’s Rigatoni Arrabbiata


1/2 cup diced onions

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup chopped prosciutto

1 can of crushed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup chopped basil

1/4 cup chopped basil

Rigatoni Pasta

Parmesan Cheese

Heat oil in sauce pan, add onions garlic and prosciutto until vegetables have turned translucent. Then add crushed tomatoes and pepper flakes.  Let simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Cook rigatoni in salted water until al dente. Add pasta to completed sauce and fresh herbs. Garnish with basil and parmesan cheese.


Business News

Open Outcry Welcomes Customers

Open Outcry Brewing Company, 10934 S. Western, officially opened for business at the end of July, serving a variety of craft beers, a menu of pizzas and more. Joining owner John Brand at the ribbon cutting were BAPA Executive Director Margot Holland, Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association Executive Director Caroline Connors and 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea. Learn more about this family-friendly, locally owned brewery at


Dance Gallery Fall Session Registration Open

Dance into a new school year at Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western. The 14-week fall session begins Mon., Sept. 11 and includes classes for children, teens and adults in the state-of-the-art studio located in the heart of Beverly/Morgan Park.

Running through Sat., Dec. 16, fall session classes are offered in ballet, hip hop, tap, jazz, creative movement, modern, pointe, senior tap, lyrical/contemporary, ballroom classes as well as Forrest Yoga/Flow.

”We invite everyone to step out of their comfort zone, stretching both mind and body as they experience the art of dance,” said owner and artistic director Marylee Sinopoli. “This fall we offer classes for everyone in the family so from your toddler to your grandma can learn something new at our studio.”

Dance Gallery features a beautiful facility complete with two dance studios with full view mirrors and a viewing window for parents. Sinopoli leads a team of professional dance instructors who are dedicated to the mission of fostering an appreciation of the art of movement and dance.

To register and view a complete list of classes, visit For more information, call 773-445-8910.  In person registration will be held Wed., Aug. 30 and Thurs., Aug. 31, 6 to 8 p.m. Payment must be received before the first week of classes.

Steuber Florist and Greenhouses for Mother’s Day Flowers

By Kristin Boza

Steuber Florist and Greenhouses, 2654 W. 111th St., has provided beautiful cut floral arrangements and plants to fill yards and gardens for nearly 75 years. Whether the flowers are shipped in from other parts of the world or grown right in their on-site greenhouses, Steuber can fulfill nearly any wish for its customers.

Scot Steuber, owner of the shop, is particularly excited about a new variety of geranium: the Survivor Salmon Pink Series. “It’s a relatively new plant and definitely new to us here at Steuber’s this year. It’s a pink geranium that is really beautiful,” he said. “We also have a few other new varieties of geranium, including a semi-trailing geranium. They’re all very cool and have some bright, vivid colors. We have been specializing in geraniums for years and we have a great crop growing right now.”

Geraniums are hardy and work well in areas where there’s full sun. “They’re a good, all-around plant and drought-tolerant once they are established in your garden,” Steuber said. “I do think geraniums are a proven performer that has held up through time and they constantly make improvements to the variety.”

Besides the new geranium varieties, Steuber is always focused on the tried and true plants that he and his team grow in the greenhouses. “We have a lot of varieties here that do well for us in our space. Keep in mind that we have a small space, so it’s hard sometimes when customers ask why we can’t grow all these different varieties,” he said. Despite being unable to grow every single variety that he would like to due to space constraints, Steuber is always on the lookout for new and exciting plants and flowers to offer his customers.

Almost everything you find at Steuber’s is grown onsite. “We’ve had some plants going for nearly four months now,” Steuber said. “We get a lot of our plants from plugs that are already rooted. We do grow some things from seeds as well, such as our tomato plants, begonias and petunias.”

Although everyone is eager to start planting to perk up their yard, Steuber recommends planting mid-May through Memorial Day, although dealing with Mother Nature can be unpredictable. “Old timers used to say that the frost-free date was May 15, around Mother’s Day. But the last couple of years we’ve had a cold snap.”

Since Mother’s Day is around the corner, Steuber has been busy preparing his stock of fresh cut flowers for bouquets and arrangements. “We offer a full-range of cut flowers that we bring in from California, Holland, Italy, Colombia and Ecuador [to name a few],” he said. “Roses are always popular for Mother’s Day, but there’s so many other beautiful foliages out there. We also make up some container gardens and some combination pots that you can put right out on your front porch. We have a wide variety that’s similar in price to fresh-cut flowers so you can have something flowering all summer long.”

“We’re really amped up to get the neighborhood out here to see our beautiful products,” Steuber said. “You’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful plants all summer long.”

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