BBQ joint goes pop-up route after opening delayed

Pandemic forces new restaurant to temporarily rely on its catering roots

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By Melissa Elsmo

Oak Park Eats

Beach Avenue BBQ, slated to open at 3453 Grand Blvd. at Eight Corners in Brookfield, put their restaurant opening on hold as the COVID-19 outbreak took hold in Illinois. 

Owners, Christopher Chinn and Juan Silva were quick to pivot and remain optimistic that returning to their catering roots will help sustain them through these uncertain times.

 "We are committed to moving forward, but questions loom about how long this will last," said Chinn. "We're revving the catering back up because, even though we aren't open yet, we still have bills to pay."

The restaurant has passed its final village building inspection, but still requires approval from the Cook County Department of Public Health, which handles restaurant inspections for the village of Brookfield, in order to operate. 

As the two prepared to open Beach Avenue BBQ's brick-and-mortar shop, they put their catering business on hold. 

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, inspired the neighbors-turned-business partners to return to their event-based roots. They began catering parties and pig roasts after becoming a popular vendor at the Brookfield Farmers Market, and now they are offering a rotating menu of family-style meals twice a week.

"Our social media followers have been waiting for the restaurant to open since the farmers market ended in October," said Chinn. "We're hoping these dinners tide them over until we can open."

Beach Avenue BBQ is known for smoking whole hogs and premium Wagyu brisket over oak wood, but for the past two weeks -- and for the foreseeable future -- they have been changing up their Tuesday and Saturday pop-up menus based on ingredient availability.

Earlier this week Chinn and Silva honored taco Tuesday by offering families smoked pulled chicken, handmade flour tortillas, fresh-made salsa verde and pico de gallo. Pickle-brined chicken, smoked pastrami and pork ribs have all made appearances on the pop-up menu as well. 

Side dishes like pit beans, cornbread and mac and cheese are also drawing accolades. Beach Avenue BBQ is currently taking pre-orders for smoked bone-in hams and assorted (add-on) side dishes for Easter Sunday. 

"The response has been great so far," said Chinn. "Juan and I love to feed people and we still want to share our food with people no matter what."

Due to limited pit space, Beach Avenue BBQ caps the total number of orders per day and requires a pre-order. Each meal offers generous portions for a family of four and range in price from $40 to $60 each. Instructions on how to place an order can be found on Beach Avenue BBQ's Facebook page (

Saturday's menus are released on Tuesday and Tuesday's menus are released on Saturday. 

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