BAPA residential member profiles

Art Exhibit Honors Victims of Siberian Deportation

By Carol Flynn

The Beverly Unitarian Church, 10244 S. Longwood Dr. is hosting the art exhibit Siberia Souls by Audrius (Andy) P. Plioplys through Oct. 9. Viewing hours are Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sundays, 12 to 2 p.m. On Oct. 1, as part of the Beverly Art Walk, the exhibit will be open 12 to 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Plioplys, an M.D. with a specialty in neuroscience who lives in North Beverly, is known for the unique way he merges art with science. Evolving his style over 40 years, his work interweaves brain scan and nerve pathway images with pictures and words to explore thinking and consciousness. Siberia Souls has added another dimension to his work, a strong stand on social justice.

In 2012, Plioplys organized the Hope and Spirit project, the purpose of which was to remember the Lithuanian citizens who were forcibly transported to labor camps and other settlements in Siberia in the 1940s by Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union (Russia) from the mid-1920s to 1953. The reasons for the deportation were to provide free labor, and more importantly, to repress any resistance to Soviet occupation. The law enforcement agency associated with the Soviet secret police registered and tracked people they considered “anti-Soviet elements” based solely on such factors as their religious beliefs, political affiliations, and ethnic backgrounds.

Plioplys, through extensive research and investigation, recovered some 400 letters and photographs from these deported to Siberia, that made up about a third of a collection here in Chicago that was feared lost.  These materials form the basis for Siberia Souls.

“Four of my blood relatives died during secret police interrogations, and eight were deported to Siberia,” said Plioplys. “The primary purpose of this project was to inform the general public of these events, and the deaths of 20 million innocent people that resulted from Stalin. If history is forgotten, it will repeat itself. Now Siberia Souls serves as a sounding valve, because history is repeating itself, right here in the U. S.  Forty per cent of the public supports deporting people into unknown, dangerous situations, destroying their lives and possibly leading to their deaths.”

Siberia Souls is a series of color-changing light columns. Each column consists of three layers of polycarbonate, a type of durable thermoplastic. The bottom layers include portraits of those deported to Siberia, and their hand written letters. Plioplys placed the portraits in deeper layers to give them a hazy, ghost-like appearance. The outer layer contains images of brain scans and neuronal networks, which are the connections of nerve cells throughout our bodies that transmit information. Each column is then back-lit by color-changing LED (light-emitting diode) light systems.

“It is these extensive, overlapping neuronal networks that encode our memories, which include memories of those who were dear to us,” said Plioplys, explaining some of the elements of the design. “The three layers of images correspond to our own three levels of awareness: consciousness, sub-consciousness and unconsciousness. And as the transmitted colors change, the images change dramatically.”

The exhibit also includes a sequence of prints on paper. These deal primarily with letters written by the children deported to Siberia, and their photographs.

The Beverly Unitarian Church decided to show the exhibit because it aligns with the basic principles of its Unitarian Universalist covenant, according to Jennifer Cottrill, Chair of the Church’s Worship Committee.

“The principles include the inherent worth and dignity of every human being and the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all,” said Cottrill. “The atrocities that Stalin committed were affronts to the millions of human lives they claimed. We as a congregation view preventing such atrocities from happening again as part of the goal to which we aspire.”
In recognition of his work organizing Hope and Spirit, Plioplys was named Man of the Year by the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago.

“One way to look at immortality is that people remember you,” said Plioplys. “I am proud to be able to bring the stories of these people back from oblivion.”

 

 

We’re BAPA Members. Are You?

By Craig & Rebecca Huffman

“BAPA plays an important role in continuing Beverly/Morgan Park’s legacy as a family-friendly community. BAPA helps keep our neighborhood strong on so many level by working with businesses, community groups and local government. And it’s an excellent resource!  When we first moved to the community and had a lot of work to do on our house, the trades referrals were enormously helpful. Before our children were school age, BAPA’s events provided a way for us to get to know the neighborhood better and meet people. It was great to know there is a group here that’s organized to help create stability and community.”

3rd Annual Beverly Art Walk Showcases Work by 200 Artists

The 3rd annual Beverly Art Walk, a free, family-friendly event that celebrates visual and performance art in Chicago’s Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood, will be held Saturday, Oct. 1, 12 to 7 p.m. at locations throughout the community. Work by 200 artists, including paintings, photography, pottery, sculpture, video, and textile art. Works will be exhibited and for sale in 55 venues that range from small retailers and pop-up galleries to home studios and the Beverly Arts Center. Participants can start the tour at any participating venue and self-guide or experience the event on a free trolley. All participants will receive a guide book and map. New this year are art partnerships with guest curators and artists from surrounding arts communities, including Pullman Arts, the Blue Island Arts Alliance, and Bronzeville’s Gallery Guichard.

Beverly Art Walk activities include artist demonstrations, storytelling, live music, dance, public art and a dedicated children’s venue. Craft beer and food from local chefs and restaurants will be offered in several locations. More than 35 makers and craft vendors will sell a variety of handmade items at the Uprising Craft Market.  Mitchel Egly’s visual mosaic of images and words reflecting Beverly/Morgan Park and its important historic and cultural treasures will be unveiled at 99th and Walden Parkway. The community art project is commissioned by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance with generous sponsorship from Beverly Bank & Trust.

Beverly Art Walk Highlights

Six pop-up galleries will showcase group shows on the Beverly Art Walk, including Gallery Guichard @ Pelar presenting work by 13 highly regarded artists celebrating the African Diaspora; 95th Street Gallery, featuring an interactive project by renowned artist Cecil McDonald, Jr.; the Blue Island Arts Gallery, presenting a multi-disciplinary group show organized by the Blue Island Arts Alliance; Citizens Gallery and Annex, a series of small spaces transformed into extraordinary multi-media environments via artist collaborations; and Pullman Arts Gallery, featuring media ranging from stained glass and ceramics to painting and a children’s book.

Artists Judie Anderson, Ray Broady, Betty Callihan, and Pat Egan, open their home studios sharing insight on the artistic process, their inspirations, and the work they produce.

The Beverly Art Walk Children’s Park, a dedicated children’s area, will feature interactive art activities, face painting, live music, and storytelling, plus projects hosted by the Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative.

Chicago’s vibrant music scene will be showcased on three main stages plus locations throughout the neighborhood, with more than 20 acts, including the Southwest Symphony Orchestra.

Complete schedules and information on the Beverly Art Walk is available at www.beverlyarts.org.

A New Direction Turns Toward 2016 Fundraiser

A New Direction Beverly Morgan Park (AND) will host its 2016 fundraiser on Sat., Oct. 22, 7 to 10 p.m., at Ridge Country Club, 10522 S.  California Ave.  Live entertainment provided by the Megan Curran Combo, open bar and hors d’oeuvres highlight this annual event, along with a grand raffle and silent auctions.

AND is a local agency that provides a co­mmunity-based response to domestic violence in Beverly/Morgan Park and surrounding communities. AND provides counseling, education, support and advocacy to individuals and families affected by domestic violence.

A highlight of the fundraiser will be the presentation of the ANDi award to Women of the Castle.  Women of the Castle is an organization affiliated with Beverly Unitarian Church, 10244 S. Longwood Dr. that supports women through monthly programs and fundraising.  The group was chosen to receive the ANDi award because of their dedication to raising awareness and funds for domestic violence prevention.

The ANDi is an annual partnership award given to an individual or agency that helps AND fulfill its mission to provide counseling, education, support and advocacy to individuals and families affected by domestic violence.

“Since our inception in 2010, The Women of the Castle have been by our side raising awareness and funds to keep every home free of domestic violence,” said Jessica McCarihan, AND Board president. “We are so grateful for the work they do in providing programs to address important topics of interest to women in our community.”

This year’s grand raffle first prize is a Miami get-away vacation, which includes six days/five nights at an Aloft Hotel in South Beach or Downtown Miami and round trip airfare on American Airlines.  Second prize is two Southwest Airlines round trip tickets anywhere Southwest flies in the continental United States.  Third prize is an Apple iPad Mini.

Gesture© auction services will allow guests can enjoy the party while bidding on silent auction items from the convenience of their cell phones.  A few of the silent auction items are two tickets to a private pre-opening party at Graham Elliot’s newly reimagined restaurant; vacation home stays; rounds of golf at local country clubs; original art; health packages including a free gym membership at SXU’s Shannon Center; wine and gourmet items.

The effects of abuse—physical, financial, sexual, emotional—are devastating and AND provides essential and confidential counseling and advocacy services at no charge to clients as they navigate their journey to safety.  AND’s vision is to have every home be safe and free of domestic violence and abuse.

The goal for AND’s 2016 fundraiser is to increase the amount of funds generated through last year’s event in order to continue to grow and provide services to those affected by domestic violence.  Currently, AND is looking for businesses and individuals to sponsor the event or to donate items for the silent auctions.   For more information about these opportunities, contact Jessica Yakutis McCarihan, Jessica@anewdirectionbmp.org.

For more information about A New Direction or to purchase tickets or make a donation, visit www.anewdirectionbmp.org or www.facebook.com/ANewDirectionBMP.

Self-care for Caregivers: A Personal Perspective

By Yulinda Rahman

I am the mother of three, one of whom has sickle cell. I am the part-time caretaker of a parent with dementia. I am intimately familiar with being a caregiver and I have learned that self-care is an essential component of caring for someone else.

I learned that my youngest daughter has sickle cell from her newborn screening. After the initial shock, I did everything I could to become educated on the disease. Sickle cell is a blood disorder that causes red blood cells to change from their normal pliable circular shape to a sickle shape. These cells are sticky and can become stuck in blood vessels, leading to numerous complications, one being severe pain in the area of the sickling.

When my daughter was seven months old, she spiked a fever of 103 degrees. Anything over 101 degrees is an automatic emergency room visit for her. People with sickle cell have a compromised spleen and cannot effectively fight off bacterial infections. If left untreated it an infection can be fatal. Luckily, my daughter’s illness was just a virus, but it took five days in the hospital to make sure. That was the first of a series of extremely stressful emergency room visits and hospital stays for my daughter.

My daughter had her first pain crisis at the age of three. I was going through a divorce, but I had to put all of that aside and put on the cloak of caretaker. I did everything within my power to make sure that my child was okay and well taken care of. There was a month of around-the-clock pain med distribution, every three hours, 24/7. When my daughter was in the hospital, I spent the nights on that uncomfortable chair that folds out into a “bed,” hearing my child cry out in pain every time she changed positions. The pain, which was centered in her lower back, was so extreme, she was unable walk. I took her to the doctor to see if she would need physical therapy in order to walk again. I was strong for her.  And through the intense, non-stop blur, I was somehow meeting the increased needs of my other two children. We got through it.

When things quieted down, I had to shift gears and spend some time with my dad. I had a simple plan: we’d go for a walk.  I told him that we were going to go to the park.  He said okay. He put on his shoes then asked, “Hey, where are we going?” “We’re going to the park, Dad.”  “Okay.”  He got his hat. “Hey, where are we going?”  “We’re going to the park Dad.”  “Okay.” He got his keys.  “Hey, where are we going?” “We’re going to the park Dad.”  “Okay.”

We left the house.  “Hey, where are we going?”  “We’re going to the park Dad.”  “Okay.” We got to the park and walked for five miles, laughing and joking while enjoying some fresh air.  We returned home and I played some old songs and we sang together like we did when I was seven. When it was time to go, I kissed him on his forehead and I got in my car. I sat in the driver’s seat and cried. It’s hard to see a loved one like that, but had to go home and be a parent to my three girls. I sucked it up, I wiped my tears, and I kept it moving.

During this time of caretaking I never stopped to honor myself. I was constantly running on empty, and after months and months and months of neglecting my own needs I hit a wall. I was depleted, there was just nothing left to give, to anyone. I knew I had to do something, so I implemented a few caring-for-the-caretaker ideas. I began taking 30-minute walks on the hospital grounds when my child was comfortable and asleep. I talked to my therapist regularly — having someone to talk to was indispensable. I began dedicating one day a week to myself (as much as possible for a single mom of three children):I didn’t go sit with my dad, I didn’t take too many calls, I didn’t obligate myself to be available to others. I catered to me.

Self-care is an extremely important and often overlooked task for most caregivers. In order to continue to pour care into others we must regularly and consistently replenish our reservoir. We are all worthy of being holistically well.

(Yulinda Rahman, a licensed clinical professional counselor and certified life coach, provides therapy services at Beverly Therapists, including a free monthly support group for parents. Learn more and connect at www.BeverlyTherapists.com.)

MPHS: A Tradition of Excellence

Morgan Park High School (MPHS) continues a tradition of excellence that has prevailed since 1916, when it first opened its doors to its current building. Centennial celebrations are being planned for the school year. Those interested in joining the MPHS Centennial Celebration Planning Team are urged to contact the committee through empehicentennial@gmail.com.

Approximately 1450 students attend MPHS on the 25-acre campus at 1744 W. Pryor. Empehi is led by the administrative team of Dr. Carolyn Epps, principal, and assistant principals Gail Tennial and Rochelle Bryant.

MPHS is a neighborhood school with a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate Program (IB). All 9th and 10th grade students take an IB Middle Years-designed curriculum with IB-trained teachers.

A new offering at MPHS is the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (CP), a framework of international education that incorporates the values of the IB into a unique program addressing the needs of students engaged in career-related education. MPHS is currently offering Game Design as its career-related study.

MPHS students benefit from partnerships with Saint Xavier University and Chicago State University to receive both high school and college credits. In partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago, the school offers dual credit classes in English, pre-calculus and French.

MPHS offers a rigorous curriculum that includes advanced placement (AP) classes in chemistry, English language, Spanish language, psychology, economics and studio arts.

MPHS welcomes students from the five area elementary feeder schools: Barnard, Clissold, Sutherland, Kellogg and Esmond. An increase in the number of Sutherland graduates enrolled at MPHS this fall. For students who attend an MYP feeder school, like Sutherland, it is a benefit to continue their academic journey at a wall-to-wall IB high school. Students are able to complete their studies in a culminating personal project, then matriculate into the IB Diploma Programme, taking university-level coursework and better positioning themselves for the college admissions and scholarship process.

Students who do not live in the attendance area can apply to the MPHS 7th and 8th grade Academic Center and the 9th-12th grade World Language and International Studies as well as the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (MYP).

In its effort to promote global citizenship and service beyond high school, MPHS provides meaningful community service opportunities to students through collaborative partnerships with Calumet Is My Back Yard, DePaul University’s JumpStart program and Mikva Challenge.

Recent sports accolades include the Lady Mustangs track and field team’s IHSA Class 2A second place finish. Additional state title challenges include the boys varsity baseball team IHSA Class 3A fourth place finish; this was the squad’s first appearance in school history. Earlier, the boys varsity basketball team won the IHSA Class 3A third place finish after being state champs for the previous two years.

Morgan Park High School takes pride in its numerous athletic teams, including girls and boys tennis, boys and girls bowling, pom-pon squad and cheerleading, football, golf, water polo, volleyball, softball and many others. The school also offers engaging extracurricular activities, including theater, Academic Decathlon, band, chorus, debate, newspaper, civics club, Student Council, and others.

To find out more about Beverly/Morgan Park’s neighborhood high school, visit
morganparkcps.enschool.org or call 773-535-2550.

Dance Gallery Showcases the Art of Dance

By Kristin Boza

Marylee Sinopoli’s entire life has revolved around dance. Like most girls, she began dance class at the age of three, but unlike most people, she made a career out of her dance passion. Sinopoli has been a fixture in the Beverly/Morgan Park dancing community for 35 years, first working at the Beverly Arts Center before opening her own studio, The Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western. The studio has been a neighborhood dance hotspot for 18 years.

Sinopoli’s parents are artists, which inspired her to create an art gallery within the dance studio and use the “art of dance” tagline. Her mother, artist Barbara Majeski, created all the paintings and sculptures on display, and her father, Conrad Majeski, built the frames for the paintings and bases the sculptures rest on. “The studio is a big place and posters weren’t going to cut it,” Sinopoli said. “My mother created 20 acrylic paintings of all different types of dancers and five clay sculptures.”

Barbara Majeski is a self-taught artist and has participated in art shows throughout the Chicago area. All of the art showcased at Dance Gallery was made specifically for the studio and ties into the “art of dance” theme.

Besides her mother’s artwork, Sinopoli dedicates an entire wall to the artwork of her dancers.

“It all started in 1998, when a little girl drew a picture of a dancer leaping. I thought we could put the kids’ artwork up on the wall too,” Sinopoli said. “Some of those little kids [whose art is still on the wall] are now 30 years old and they love to come back to see their work; some of them have children in our dance classes. Sometimes I don’t realize how many people I affected. I go in and do my job day after day and all of a sudden somebody is bringing back their child. It’s so rewarding.”

“I remember saying when I opened that I’ll give it five years and if it doesn’t work out at least I tired. It’s now been 18 years. I’m very blessed,” Sinopoli said.

Sinopoli employs six professional instructors who teach children as young as age two up through adults, including a class for senior citizens.

“My team is wonderful and they all specialize in their field,” Sinopoli said. “I’m not a great tap teacher, but my instructors are. I also have some guys who are great at teaching hip hop and those who are wonderful with the little kids. It was very important to me to have good quality teachers; that really makes a difference.

Over the years, thousands of students have learned the art of dance at Dance Gallery. Currently, they have about 365 students dancing in 19 different classes based on experience or age. According to Sinopoli, “It’s a gift to be able to teach in my own neighborhood!”

Learn more about The Dance Gallery and classes at dancegallerychicago.com or call 773-445-8910.

Simmerling Collection Visits Former Home

By Carol Flynn

The historic Ingersoll-Blackwelder House, 10910 S. Prospect Ave., will be the site of a special open house and exhibit on Sun., Sept. 25, 5 to 7 p.m. Selected artistic works by the late Jack Simmerling and artifacts he collected from the grand mansions of Chicago’s past, will be on display. The event is hosted by the Glessner House Museum, which is raising funds to establish a permanent home for Simmerling’s collection.

John J. “Jack” Simmerling (1935-2013) was well known and loved in Beverly/Morgan Park as a talented artist and the owner of the Heritage Gallery on 103rd Street. Simmerling was also an avid historian and preservationist. He became enthralled with the palatial homes in Chicago’s elite areas, especially the Prairie Avenue district. Prominent citizens such as Marshall Field and George Pullman built homes there in the late 1800s. As the area began to decline and the mansions fell to the wrecking ball, Simmerling began a quest to preserve as much as he could of these buildings via paintings and drawings, and salvaging architectural and internal design elements such as stained glass windows, lighting fixtures, wooden moldings and even furniture. As a teenager, Simmerling crafted miniature houses to recreate the facades and interiors of the historic homes. All of these items became part of Simmerling’s legacy to Chicago’s history.

The Glessner House, on the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the few remaining historic properties in the Prairie Avenue district. Simmerling was a friend and benefactor to this house, and made arrangements for his collection of artifacts and paintings to transfer to Glessner House Museum upon his death.

“Jack assembled a unique and one-of-a-kind collection of artifacts exhibiting the fine craftsmanship of the many large mansions that once lined Prairie Avenue,” said William Tyre, Executive Director and Curator of Glessner House Museum. “A temporary gallery housing some of the collection was opened on Jack’s 79th birthday, Dec. 1, 2014. Funds are being raised so that the full collection can eventually be put on exhibit. The upcoming event will include paintings spanning more than six decades of Jack’s career, along with a variety of artifacts salvaged from the houses, plus a couple of his miniature houses.”

Besides viewing Simmerling’s collection, the Ingersoll-Blackwelder House itself is well worth the visit. One of Beverly/Morgan Park’s most historic homes, the Simmerling family owned it for many years. The house eventually took on the aura of a museum when Simmerling displayed many of the items he had rescued.

Today the house is owned by Sandra Biedron and Stephen Milton, particle accelerator scientists who are Professors of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Colorado State University and spend much time at both Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab on their collaborations. They also find the time to preserve historic homes. The Ingersoll-Blackwelder House has its own website at www.ingersoll- blackwelderhouse.com.

“This home is a living part of history,” said Biedron. “The Ingersoll-Blackwelder House is important not only because of its age and unique architecture, but because of the people who lived there, including Jack Simmerling. Today we are debating many rights and freedoms. Well, Gertrude Blackwelder was the first woman to vote in Cook County after a law was passed in 1913 allowing women to vote for more than school officials. You can imagine the discussions that went on in this house!”

Biedron is happy to help host the Sept. 25 event. Wine and cheese will be served, as well as craft beers donated by Horse Thief Hollow. There will be desirable items available as part of the fund-raising, including a wine package from Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, and an item donated from the Heritage Gallery.

The cost of the event is $50 per attendee; $40 for Glessner House Museum members. Reservations are required, and can be made online at www.glessnerhouse.org or 312-326-1480.

 

 

Morgan Park/Beverly Hills Garden Club Celebrates 90th Year

By Kristin Boza

The Garden Club of Morgan Park/Beverly Hills celebrated a huge milestone this summer: its 90th anniversary. In honor of the milestone, the 54-member club was recognized with a Certificate of Merit from the National Garden Clubs organization. Since its inception, the club has been dedicated to beautifying the neighborhood, educating themselves about garden caretaking and also forming solid friendships with one another.

The garden club was informally established in 1926 and was officially chartered in 1927 as the Garden Club of Morgan Park – later adding “Beverly Hills” to its moniker, according to Joan Gavin, club president. “Enthusiastic gardeners met at the homes of its first 14 members,” Gavin said. “It was a working club of members interested in beautifying the community.”

One of the first tasks the garden club took on was caring for the triangular parks created by the winding streets, according to Gavin. The club also laid out the grounds for the Walker Branch Library and continued to care for and maintain the gardens there.

A high level of formality existed in the first several decades of the club, in line with the social mores of the time. “Members were referred to by their formal married names, never by their first name,” Gavin said. “Prospective members were presented to a vote, and each new member needed a favorable vote before they were accepted. Her garden was also subject to a vote.”

Needless to say, the club has evolved over the years! “Today we welcome all who are interested in learning about our environment,” Gavin said. “Meetings feature masterful speakers who bring knowledge and practical information, and who teach us about our place in the world, in our own community and in our own gardens.”

A few of the favorite speakers this past year included a discussion on hummingbirds and healing gardens. “Nancy Carroll gave a detailed and amazing talk on everything you could possibly want to know about hummingbirds,” said Barbara Gyarmathy, civic project coordinator for the club. “Our own member, Nadine Harris Clark, gave a beautiful presentation on healing gardens, ranging from rooftop gardens used at hospitals to help rehab patients, to healing properties of plants and herbs found to be helpful and useful on an individual level.”

The club sponsors an annual plant auction on the first Wednesday in May. The auction is held at the home of a club member and is open to the general public. “People can bid on plants that our members have contributed from their own gardens,” Gyarmathy said. “It’s unbelievable how popular this event is, and if a plant is something highly desirable, the price can skyrocket. All of the proceeds go to the club and pay for our informational speakers. We auction perennials and gift certificates and a very creative member makes fairy gardens and other garden-related goodies.”

Referred to as “play dates,” where members are said to form friendships with one another, the club works hard to maintain and improve the courtyard gardens at the Beverly Art Center and the “green” parking lot at BAPA.

“The club members voted to take on [the BAC] as its civic project, to give back to the community,” Gyarmathy said. The project began four years ago, and soon the club realized that it was a big one – the landscaping had become quite overgrown. A special focus was given to the courtyard: weeding, pruning, cutting back and cutting out. Gyarmathy said. “The process has been slow but noteworthy, and in the meantime, friendships have rooted and blossomed.”

At BAPA the work is minimal specifically because the gardens were planned to provide minimal maintenance. “Basically, the grasses need to be cut back in the spring and some trash picked up occasionally, but otherwise, it’s very manageable,” she said.

Anyone interested in becoming a garden club member can attend a meeting on the first Wednesday of each month at 9:30 a.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 9401 S. Oakley. Meetings and weekly projects take place on weekday mornings. That the schedule does not accommodate people who are unavailable on weekdays “does come with regrets,” Gyarmathy said. “But as all of us [who joined the club] will attest to, it was one of the best things that happened to us when we were able to retire!”

Business Spotlight: Beverly Woods Dinner Rolls

By Carrie Channell

The not-so-humble dinner roll from Beverly Woods Banquet Hall, 11532 S Western Ave., has been a Beverly/Morgan Park staple for nearly 50 years. Its origin came over a decade after the restaurant’s 1954 debut. As owner Bill McGann relates it, his brother went off to military school in Indiana in the early 1960s. The school was run by a Catholic order, and the cook, a Brother, wanted to leave the brotherhood and move to Chicago. Learning that the McGanns were in the restaurant business, he offered to share his secret dinner roll recipe if they would give him a job.

It took several years, but job and the promised dinner roll recipe eventually came together, and a neighborhood tradition was born.

The third generation of Beverly Woods cooks are now baking the neighborhood’s favorite rolls using that same recipe. It’s a recipe that can only be made at Beverly Woods. According to McGann, a few friends have attempted it at home without success over the years. A former baker told him that the way the restaurant was set up, and the way the air currents move, affect how the rolls rose, and that simply can’t be replicated.

Beverly Woods famous dinner rolls are baked fresh every morning and served with everything: the buffet, lunches, dinners, and their very popular soups. In fact, the restaurant’s most popular meal is homemade soup and dinner rolls.

Beverly Woods does a huge business around holidays, especially Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.  For many residents of Beverly/Morgan Park, it wouldn’t be a family gathering without Beverly Woods dinner rolls. They sell literally thousands of dozens of the rolls, with people lining up out the door to pick up their orders.

McGann recalled one particular customer who picked up his order and left, then a short time later reappeared in line. McGann asked if he’d forgotten something. The customer replied that no, he hadn’t, but he had encountered another man outside who didn’t want to wait in line. So he sold his rolls for a five dollar profit and was returning to get more. Stunned, McGann said, “You’re scalping dinner rolls?”

“Yes,” replied the customer.

You won’t have to pay a scalper to enjoy the fresh, delicious rolls at Beverly Woods. Stop in Mon. through Sat. for lunch and dinner buffet starting at 11 a.m., and on Sun., breakfast buffet, 9 a.m. to noon, followed by dinner buffet. Beverly Woods banquet rooms are available for parties of all sizes. Learn more at Beverly Woods at 773-233-7700 or http://www.beverlywoodsbanquet.com/