Support BAPA Business Members this Holiday Season

By Kristin Boza

There’s no shortage of shops, restaurants, and service businesses in Beverly/Morgan Park. Here’s the ultimate BAPA business member gift guide for your holiday shopping. During the holidays and all year, support the businesses that support our community.

Organize the Perfect Holiday Party

Call 4 Star Windy City DJs at 708-254-0608 for info on bringing holiday music to your party.

Calabria Imports, 1905 W. 103rd St., has all the pasta you need – and lots more — to feed a large, hungry crowd. They also offer sandwiches, sides, desserts, bread and salads.

Before the party, spruce up your home with a wide selection of quality paint and beautiful wallpapers from Calumet Paint & Wallpaper, 12120 S. Western. Knowledgeable and helpful staff can direct you to the best options.

County Fair Foods, 10800 S. Western is the destination for every ingredient you’ll need if you’re cooking this holiday season. Fresh produce, on-site butcher, and an extensive deli with hot takeaway items will ensure every dish is delectable.

DiCola’s Seafood, 10754 S. Western Ave.:  If you’re hosting a Feast of the Seven Fishes this Christmas Eve, check out the selection of fresh seafood at DiCola’s. Salmon, scallops, catfish and trout are just a few of the many selections available. DiCola’s also offers side dishes and salads to accompany the meal.

Ellie’s Cafe, 10701 S. Hale Ave., offers a catering menu that rivals any home-cooked meal: Turkey, ham, duck and goose as well as numerous potato and vegetable dish options. They even offer brunch catering, perfect for mid-day parties.

Fox’s Beverly Pub, 9956 S. Western, is perfect for catering a more casual get-together. From pizza to burgers to pasta, there’s a hot meal ready to please everyone at your party.

Milano’s Pizza, 10945 S. Western, delivers Chicago-style crispy thin crust pizza that’s perfect for the kids, and deep dish for hungry adults.

Before the big party, give a call to Peace of Mind Professional Organizing to help you declutter your space — for good. Forget shoving your stuff in a closet before guests arrive; get organized the right way! 708-790-1940.

Design the perfect holiday invitation or card with the help from the designers and printers at Solution 3 Graphics, 10547 S. Western. The business offers numerous printed products and services for personal use and businesses.

Deck the halls — and your table — with beautiful fresh flowers and centerpieces, including poinsettias, from Steuber Florist and Greenhouse, 2654 W. 111th St.

Get there early to avoid the lines the famous cheese ball at Swanson’s Deli, 2414 W. 103rd St. While you’re there, stock up on soup, sandwiches and salads for nights when you just don’t feel like cooking.

The Geranium Guild creates unique, customized floral arrangements for weddings, parties and any other special occasion. From centerpieces to bouquets, the possibilities are endless.

Whether you’re looking for a slice to keep the kids happy while you clean the house before the party, or an entire pie (or more) to feed a hungry group at your event, Waldo Cooney’s, 2410 W. 111th St.:  can accommodate. Order online at

Wondering what wine to pair with your meal? Check out Silvia Franco’s What Vino? Beginner Wine Blog for advice on pairings, or even to get more information on the perfect hostess gift.

Date Night Dinner and Drinks

Gather at Barney Callaghan’s Pub, 10618 S. Western, for a pint of Guinness or a Bloody Mary. Enjoy live music and various sporting events – both college and pro. Party rooms available.

For over 20 years, Cork and Kerry Tavern, 10614 S. Western, has been a favorite Irish pub. They boast over 20 beers on tap and 40 different bottled or canned beers. Party rooms available.

Franconello’s, 10222 S. Western, serves authentic Italian food in a cozy atmosphere perfect for a romantic dinner or a family gathering. Private party accommodations.

Open Outcry Brewing Company, 10934 S. Western, the newest neighborhood brewery, serves delectable brews and other beverages and Chef Cesar’s signature wood-fired pizza along with new menu items.

Daytime Outings with Friends and Family

Bridgeport Coffee, 9135 S. Western, imports its beans direct from their sources around the world, then roasts them on a fluid bed, ensuring not a single bean is burned. Stop in for coffee and treats!

A tried and true favorite, Dunkin’ Donuts, 10401 S. Western, serves hot coffee, warm donuts and breakfast sandwiches. Great place to bring the kids while the adults ingest some caffeine.

For the best pancakes on the South Side, take a trip to the Original Pancake House, 10437 S. Western. It’s a staple for Sunday mornings!

For over 75 years, Top Notch Beef Burgers, 2116 W. 95th St., has been family favorite! The burger is consistently ranked among the top in Chicago. Don’t skip the fries and shakes.

Shops Catering to Everyone on Your List

Beverly Hills MarketPlace, 1809 W. 95th St., offers new and antique home furnishings, and many items crafted by local artisans. Visit to find for unique gifts.

Vinyl has made a comeback! Rebuild your album collection at Beverly Records, 11612 S. Western.

Check out the new, large space including a vast collection of new and used books at Bookie’s, 10324 S. Western. Can’t find an item? Bookie’s can order it for you with fast delivery. Drop off your gently used books for a discount on your next purchase.

Open for 17 years, family-owned Island Furs, 1827 W. 103rd St., sells fur, leather and shearling coats, and provides cleaning, repair and storage.

Since 1910, Klees Golf Shop, 10436 S. Western, has been a family-owned business serving the needs of all golfers. Stop in to see what’s new or visit

For the most unique home furnishings and help with interior design, visit RMH Interiors, 1802 W. 103rd St. Get the home you dream of!

Perfect for the walker or runner in your life, stop into Running Excels, 10328 S. Western Ave., for shoes, clothing, and gear.

Sheffner’s Jewelers, 2408 W. 111th St, is the place to find the perfect piece of jewelry. They also offer custom-designed pieces, including engagement rings, and are committed to ethical practices.

The Quilter’s Trunk, 10352. S. Western Ave.: For the quilter or sewing enthusiast, The Quilter’s Trunk offers yards of unique fabric and everything you need to put it all together. Check out for more information.

Unique Gifts

Gifts of experience are taking center stage this holiday season. Consider signing up your little dancer for ballet, jazz, tap, and many other classes at Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western. Classes for adults also available.

Relax and be well at Erin Kelly Massage Therapy & Yoga. Kelly is a licensed massage therapist and heart-centered yoga practitioner. 773-569-1015.

A full-service Aveda salon, Everything’s Relative, 10548 S. Western, is a great place to get your loved one a gift card for a day of beauty www.EverythingsRelativeSalon.

Nails, facials, massage, hair styling and coloring can be found all under one roof at Relaxation Station Salon and Spa, 10655 S. Hale. 773-233-3441.

Get healthy in the new year with the selection of supplements, food, and other organic products at Southtown Health Foods, 2100 W. 95th St.

Thanks to the many other BAPA Business Members who offer professional services, auto care, medical and dental services, and so much more. When shopping, please choose the businesses who so generously support BAPA and our community. Find a directory of BAPA businesses at

Home Cooking: Swanson’s Deli

By Kristin Boza

Swanson’s Deli and Catering, 2414 W. 103rd St., has been a neighborhood staple for over 50 years. Under new ownership since December, Swanson’s continues to offer Swedish specialties and American fare, and it is important for new owners Todd Thielmann and Greg Dix to continue the neighborhood tradition.

“Swanson’s was historically a Swedish deli, and we continue to offer Swedish items like Limpa bread, Gottenburg sausage, Bondost cheese and potato sausage,” said Thielmann. “The Swedish offerings are expanded during Christmas.”

Thielmann said that customers expect their delectable best sellers, including potato salad, chicken salad and the ever-popular cheeseballs. “My idea of a perfect sandwich is chicken salad on a buttercrust roll with lettuce, tomato and red onion,” Thielmann said. “Throw in a side of potato salad and it’s heaven.”

Dix and Thielmann grew up in Beverly/Morgan Park and felt it was essential to continue the Swanson’s role within the community.

“Whether it’s news at the different parishes, talk about local sports teams or the goings-on around town, it feels like Swanson’s is in the middle of it all,” Thielmann said. “Customers always thank us for taking over and continuing the legacy. It’s sad when a long-time business closes their doors, and we are excited about breathing new life into a community cornerstone.”

Fresh, high-quality food is essential to the pair as they retain the community favorites and enhance their menu.

“Greg and I look at it like we are now the caretakers of a loved and established deli. Customers have high expectations of the quality and consistency of the food we offer,” Thielmann said. For example, the chicken used in the chicken salad is cooked in-house and cut by hand, and the potatoes are peeled and diced by Dix and Thielmann.

“Our customers are very loyal because they know that we work very hard to present the best product,” Thielmann said.

Try to capture the best of Swanson’s flavors at home by making your own version of their chicken noodle soup. Or if all else fails, stop in for a cup to enjoy at home.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Makes approximately 3 quarts


2 quarts chicken stock

1 1/2 cups carrots, diced

1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped

2 cups cooked chicken, diced

2 cups egg noodles

1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

Salt & pepper, to taste

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 cup water or chicken stock, cold

Bring chicken stock to a boil and immediately turn down heat to a simmer. Add vegetables and garlic. Simmer until vegetables are soft (about 7 to 10 minutes) add noodles and simmer another 5 to 7 minutes. When noodles are cooked, add chicken, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Remember to never let soup reach a boil. Adjust seasoning, if needed, and serve hot with crackers or crusty bread.

Shop at Swanson’s Mon. through Fri., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat. Order ahead by calling 773-239-1197. More info:

Restaurant Options Expanding!

Barraco’s Opens for Business on 95th Street

Barraco’s Beverly/Morgan Park location is open for carry-out and delivery orders, and hopes to open its dining-in section in February. Located at 2105 W.  95th St. in the old library property, plans also call for banquet options for up to 60 people. This is the family-owned restaurant chain’s seventh location.

The new Barraco’s location will offer either dining-in or banquets, depending on the specific need for that day. “It’s all one space; if a banquet is booked one night, we direct our customers to our sister store on 111th Street in Mt. Greenwood to dine-in,” said Fran Barraco.

All of the neighborhood’s favorite dishes will be available at the new location. The extensive menu ranges from appetizers to desserts, and features pizza, Italian and American entrees, sandwiches and salads.  “The new space is basically a duplicate from our 111th Street location, but on a smaller scale,” Barraco said. “It’s going to be really great for our Beverly customers.”

The Barraco family worked with Ald. Matt O’Shea for the last couple of years to bring the Southside favorite to 95th Street. “People have been calling and waiting for us to open. It’s closer, within walking distance for our customers, which makes it even easier to pick up your food,” Barraco said. “Even though our dining room isn’t officially opened yet, it’s easier for our North Beverly customers to make it here than our other locations.”

Another perk is the ability to serve alcohol at this location. “We have a small bar area, offering a full bar of drink choices,” Barraco said. “We’ll have about eight seats at the bar, so it’s perfect for anyone picking up a pizza to enjoy a cocktail or beer while they wait.” A parking lot with ample spaces is next to the building, so no need to fight for a spot on the street.

The restaurant is accepting applications for wait staff, bartenders and people to answer the phones. “It’ll be great for the kids from the neighborhood to work here,” Barraco said. “It’s really exciting to be closer to Western Avenue in this part of Beverly.” she said.

Customers can order carry outs online (don’t forget to check for coupons!) at or call 773-881-4040. The new location is open seven days a week.

Wild Blossom Meadery, Winery & Brewery Opening Soon

Early in March, the beautiful new Wild Blossom Meadery, Winery and Brewery, 9030 S. Hermitage

will open in a long abandoned building just across the way from the 91st Street Metra station, on the very edge of the 21st Ward – which is “wet.” The vision of Greg Fischer, owner of Bev Art Brewer and Winemaking Supply on Western, and a master brewer and winemaker himself, it will be the first meadery in Illinois.

Fischer is the perfect person to open a meadery. He has 30+ years of wine experience and he has been making the honey-based beverage for many years using honey from his own bees. Originally providing the beverage to a local market, he now sells the Wild Blossom mead throughout the United States. Many of Fischer’s meads have taken International gold medals at the Mazer Cup, the international mead competition held in Boulder, Colo.

“Mead is really versatile,” Fischer said. “It can be dry, it can be sweet. It’s the first fermented beverage.”

The new meadery is versatile too.

One end of the building has been transformed for production for a variety of wines, meads and honey-based craft beers. According to Fischer, he produces about 3,000 gallons a year at his current location, and that can go up to 20,000 to 30,000 gallons at the new site.

The heart of the new meadery is the light-filled tasting room and classroom. Patrons will have plenty of room to engage in wine-making and mead and beer brewing classes. The tasting room features a granite-topped bar and ample seating at tables, as well as space for retailing beverages and beverage-making supplies. A service kitchen will make it easy to cater special events and offer light fare. Fischer is working with the Great American Cheese Collection to serve artisan cheeses. He is also talking to chefs and food truck companies on ideas for fun and delicious pop up food services.

Once the tasting room opens, Fischer will focus his attention on installing a patio for outdoor seating, and landscaping that will enhance a natural setting. With the forest preserve right across the street and a large swathe of open space behind the building, Fisher is working with the Cook County Forest Preserve District and Chicago Botanic Garden on plans to plant wild flower gardens.


Ken’s Adds Lunch Service, Happy Hour

Since 1966, Ken’s has been serving classic American and Italian food. Opened by late Ken Courtright, the popular neighborhood spot served the southern Italian dishes that his wife, the former Sally Casto, learned to make at the restaurant her family operated years ago in Brainerd. Many of those dishes are still on the menu today, alongside exciting new offerings introduced by Sally and Ken’s grandson, Mike Courtright.

Starting Wed., Feb. 1, Ken’s will be open for lunch and they’re bringing back Happy Hour, Mon. through Fri., 3 to 6 p.m.

Ken’s, 10522 S. Western, is about family, tradition, food, libations, classic favorites, and great times with close friends. Open until 10 p.m. seven days a week, you can make reservations by calling 773-238-0234. Keep up to date with menus and more at Ken’s On Western on Facebook or at


New Owners at Swanson’s Deli

Ours is a neighborhood that loves and hates change. Among the things that are not to be changed are the chicken salad, cheese balls and potato salad at Swanson’s Beverly Ritz Catering and Deli, 2414 W. 103rd St. Now that that’s perfectly clear, the neighborhood welcomes Greg Dix and Todd Thielmann as the new owners of this favorite local eatery. They took over the deli at the end of December, and so far, their biggest changes include accepting credit cards.

The partners met as boys at Sutherland School, parted ways – as kids do – then came together again when they married cousins. They’ve partnered before: in 2010, they won a competition for their barbecue sauce, called Soggy Butts.

Thielmann formerly worked at the Chicago Board of Trade. Dix, who has a background as a chef, began his cooking career at Swanson’s in 1987 before moving to jobs at restaurants as diverse as Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, and in downtown Chicago at the Hyatt and Sheraton hotels. Close by, he worked at Maple Tree Inn and helped open 115 Bourbon Street. He has been working in the deli since 2015, learning about the business from the former owners, John and Tricia Rusch. Find more about plans for Swanson’s Beverly Ritz on Facebook.