After 40 years, Chicago's Buona Beef gets ready for the national stage

Jun 04, 2021 127

BY: Heather Lalley

The first Buona Beef opened in Chicago 40 years ago, a 1,500-square-foot spot with 36 seats and no drive-thru that was secured when the owners took out a $10,000 second mortgage. It took 15 years, but the Italian beef concept opened its second location and then developed a plan to steadily add units.

Today, Chicago-based Buona Beef recently launched its 25th store and the family-owned chain is getting ready to explore franchising. “It took us quite some time to get our foundation and get our legs under us,” Joe Buonavolanto Jr., one of the five sons of the restaurant’s founder who run the chain today. “In 1996, we started a growth plan.”

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