Beard and Belly: How this restaurant survived COVID-19

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By: Colin Clark, Jacob Sager, Ellen Hurd, Taiyana Levy, and Ramiyah Lee (Senn Students)

COVID-19 hit many businesses hard, leading to some of them to close. Beard and Belly on 6157 N Broadway in Edgewater is one of these restaurants that was hit hard due to the pandemic but was able to survive and thrive. In fact, they actually opened their doors during the pandemic.

Kyle “The Beard” Schrage, one of the co-owners of Beard and Belly had a lot to say about the process of opening up.

“We opened in March 2020. We opened three days before the Chicago shutdown happened. So we basically trained our staff, and then three days later they shut down all the businesses. So we put a hold on it for about two weeks, and then we opened up with a kind of a skeleton crew for carryout only because that was all that was allowed.”

Due to the City of Chicago’s  COVID restrictions, the new owners had to get creative with how they kept business open.

Kyle “The Beard” Schrage said, “I’ve opened other restaurants, but not as an owner. We got fairly fortunate in the fact that we didn’t have any inventory when we opened up. We weren’t even allowed to have indoor seating, for a good chunk of the winter, so we had our back patio and we sat people out there. And we only had six tables.”

As restrictions were getting lifted, Schrage and team were able to slowly bring people into the building and use more of the restaurant’s capacity. But they still needed to take safety precautions. 

Schrage said, “We teamed up and we wanted to do this. We just wanted to get bigger and better. Yeah, it’s always been a dream of ours.”

Four members of the RogersEdge Reporter Team dined at Beard and Belly. Here’s what they thought. Colin: The service was excellent and the food was great.  It is an amazing place, with a warm atmosphere, and stellar services. Beard and Belly is known for their burgers and pie. But if you don’t eat red meat or pork then don’t worry because they have chicken sandwiches and grilled cheese as options.

Ellen: The food at Beard and Belly was super delicious and really decently priced. You could tell that everything in your meal was home-made and good quality. My burger was perfectly cooked and the fries were really flavorful. It was so fun sitting in the restaurant and I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who is looking for a place to eat in Edgewater.

Jacob: The atmosphere felt cozy and chill. They were playing a variety of modern pop and alternative rock music in the dining area. I felt that added to the overall experience and aesthetic of the restaurant. I also liked the props in the restaurant such as the barrels and maps, they added to the theme of the restaurant. 

Ramiyah: The pull-apart sandwich was delightful. The chewy well-seasoned pork paired well with the crispiness of the bun. The fries were delicious, also. The service was excellent and the food was ready in a reasonable time. The overall atmosphere was cozy and warm. I would definitely go again.

Taiyana: I had the Boomers and Swiss burger, a 5oz burger patty with swiss cheese, sautéed mushroom medley, pickles, and garlic mayo, and it was very delicious. The atmosphere of the restaurant was very clean and calming. The service was wonderful, everyone was so patient, kind, and respectful. I definitely give the restaurant a 5-star rating, and I’ll be returning. 

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