Some ideas for where St. Charles Beef Shack should relocate

  • Beef Shack in St. Charles has closed, with possible plans to reopen elsewhere. Columnist Dave Heun has some ideas where the owner of Beef Shack could relocate.

      Beef Shack in St. Charles has closed, with possible plans to reopen elsewhere. Columnist Dave Heun has some ideas where the owner of Beef Shack could relocate. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Posted2/23/2020 7:28 AM

It could be that we've been waiting all of these years to ask the same question Clara Peller did in 1984 when pitching for Wendy's restaurants -- without the laughs she garnered.

But "Where's the beef?" crossed the minds of many folks when finding out through a Daily Herald report more than a week ago that the Beef Shack on the west side of St. Charles was closed.


When Beef Shack franchise president Dan Perillo said he intends to reopen the Italian beef joint at a larger location somewhere in St. Charles, it made me think it's possible I have not eaten my last cheesy beef sandwich on garlic bread.

Put another way, where's the beef going to go? If Perillo is determined to do what he says, then where and what sort of space does he need to replace the small Beef Shack site at 2115 W. Main St.?

Where should Beef Shack reopen? Dave Heun has some ideas.
Where should Beef Shack reopen? Dave Heun has some ideas. - Daily Herald File Photo

There are plenty of Italian beef places around and, because it is my all-time favorite sandwich, I have been to most of them. Still, there's room, and maybe even a perfect place, for Beef Shack on this tasty landscape.

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You had to figure when Buona Beef set up shop not far away from Beef Shack on Main Street on the west side of Randall Road; it might hurt Perillo's operation.

So maybe he needs to be careful about where he might set up shop again. With that in mind, I can help out with a few ideas that he can take or, more likely, leave.

It's hard to say how Franky's, a good beef and pizza joint, is doing on the east side of St. Charles, so a new Beef Shack would maybe have to be careful about how close it came to that spot.

Not to mention, there is a Portillo's on the east side of Kautz Road as well, and we know how powerful that operation is.

Still, the east side of St. Charles can't be overlooked. If Beef Shack ever became something bigger with an expanded menu and being close to Franky's wasn't a concern, the former Corfu site and former Sweet Tomatoes site are still empty.


There are also a couple of empty storefronts in the former Butera grocery retail strip. A little farther east, across Main Street from the Cooper's Hawk restaurant, the previous Caribou Coffee spot is still empty.

The former Tin Cup Pass retail strip has new ownership and an excellent makeover -- and some spots open. But it's pretty close to Arby's, which is a different type of beef place, of course, but has been there for decades.

If Beef Shack owners wanted to consider the east side of Geneva, there used to be an Italian beef place in the Geneva Plaza, so maybe bringing one back to that area would work.

In honor of Clara Peller, maybe something in the retail strip off Whitfield Drive in Geneva would work, as it would be close to the east-side Wendy's.

There are plenty of other possible spots, but those are the ones that come to mind when considering where I would be willing to go to have a Beef Shack sandwich when the urge hit.

Those who became regulars or the occasional visitor at Beef Shack have a pretty good idea of why this is a topic of importance. The sandwiches were that good.

A history high-five:

If a volunteer or worker at the Geneva History Museum mentioned how exciting it was for the museum to earn recognition for its StePs program from the AASLH, you might wonder what in the world that person was talking about.

Long or odd acronyms can sometimes get in the way of explaining something rather important. In short, the Geneva museum received accolades from an association that supports local historic organizations because of the standards and programs they have put in place.

In its February blog, the American Association for State and Local History, a professional association for "history-doers," praised the Geneva museum for its efforts in completing standards and excellence programs, or StePs.

The museum has been working through StePs program guidelines since 2014.

A busy spring:

For those who like to see new places open, this spring promises to be exciting.

In no particular order of importance area residents can expect to see the new Wahlburgers restaurant open on the west side of St. Charles soon and the newly renovated Graham's 318 coffee shop/bakery open along Third Street in Geneva. The new Geneva Public Library opens along Seventh Street as well.

We also expect the Stone Creek makeover of the former Tin Cup Pass retail strip on the east side of St. Charles to come into focus this spring, along with its new restaurants.

It's possible, but maybe not likely this spring, that the Oberweis Ice Cream project and accompanying restaurants at Fabyan Parkway and Randall Road will take shape.

The things that are surely still in a "wait-and-see" mode include any development on the former Mill Race Inn property in Geneva and the One Washington Place development in Batavia.

We are also anxious to see what comes of the former Little Owl and Flagstone sites in downtown Geneva. Before closing last year, the Little Owl had been in operation since 1920 and graced that corner at 101 W. State St. since 1935.

Some warm soup:

As we wait for winter to depart, we can do it through a great winter ritual -- eating soup.

The Batavia United Way is hosting a Winter Soup Tasting from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, March 12, when participants can get 3-ounce samples of soup from 10 soup-tasting stations set up between Bar Evolution and The Tea Tree along North River Street.

Proceeds from the $25 tickets go back into the Batavia community. And those tickets get you samples from Tusk, Oak + Swine, Daddio's, River's Edge, Bocaditos, Acquaviva, Crabby Boil, Gammon Coach House, Enticing Cuisine, Lumes and Fernando's Street Kitchen.

Bread and crackers will be available to accompany the soups, and Bar Evolution and The Tea Tree will sell beverages.

Online purchases are encouraged, as tickets are available at


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