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Buona Beef restaurant may be coming to Flossmoor

Buona Beef, a leading purveyor of one of Chicago’s most iconic sandwiches, is planning to build a restaurant adjacent to Flossmoor’s Meijer store.

A representative of the restaurant chain will appear before Flossmoor’s plan commission at its Dec. 15 meeting.

Scott Bugner, the village’s inspectional services administrator, said Thursday that Buona is planning a 3,920-square-foot restaurant with a drive-through. The company is also proposing a future 4,500-square-foot retail building next to the restaurant.

Both structures would be constructed on the same outlot of the Meijer complex. The address, 19781 Crawford Ave., is just north of the existing BP gas station.

The Buona proposal marks the first expansion of the Meijer complex since the 192,000-square-foot store opened in June. Meijer owns and plans to develop five outlots in the area north of Vollmer Road and east of Crawford.

Flossmoor Village Manager Bridget Wachtel said last month that three of those outlots could be developed in the coming year.

Bugner said the approval process for Buona will require recommendation by the plan commission and approval by the village board of an amendment to the final plan of a planned unit development and a special use permit.

If approved the building permitting process could proceed, Bugner said.  Final building and site plan reviews would need to be completed before the village issues building permits.

Wachtel said the proposed restaurant would be modeled after Buona’s location in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood.

Buona bills itself as a company with long ties to the development of the Italian beef sandwich. The company’s website includes a history of Italian beef back to the 1920s, when it was mostly served at weddings. The family that owns Buona has relatives who owned some of the first Italian beef outlets in Chicago and the suburbs, the website states.

The first Buona restaurant was opened in Berwyn more than 30 years ago. The company, which now has 18 locations around the Chicago area, is still family-owned.

Buona also refers to its product as “the official Italian beef of Chicago baseball” and has promotions with both the White Sox and Cubs. The company partners with Cubs star Anthony Rizzo to raise money for his charity. And the White Sox feature a between-innings race involving several varieties of Italian beef sandwiches. The results of all the 2016 races are posted on the Buona website.

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