Chicago Based Beyond Clients, Ricobene’s and Fabulous Freddie’s
Family-owned businesses have historically been considered the backbone of the American economy. In 2019, family-owned businesses employed 62 percent of US workers. These businesses are often recognized for cultivating a greater sense of community and connection by putting both customers and employees first. Local family-owned businesses bring people together and add to their neighborhood’s unique personalities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put an extraordinary amount of stress on small businesses, forcing many to temporarily close their doors and let go of employees. Despite the challenging circumstances, small businesses across the country are helping to keep communities connected. From fundraisers to help employees who are out of work, to donating meals to hospitals, small business owners have shown the importance of community and shopping small through these trying times.
As we navigate through this ongoing crisis, we’re taking the time to highlight some of the small businesses we support, like two of Chicago’s most famous family-owned restaurants—Ricobene’s and Fabulous Freddie’s Italian Eatery. Local staples of Bridgeport, one of Chicago’s oldest and most storied neighborhoods, both of these businesses draw loyal patrons from across Illinois—and National recognition—for their iconic food.
Fabulous Freddie’s Italian Eatery
Featured on the TV show, Chicago’s Best, Fabulous Freddie’s boasts gigantic portions, a family-oriented atmosphere, and fast-food favorites. One of Chicago’s southside Italian staples, the casual restaurant holds top ranks on many food blogs and ‘Best of Chicago’ lists for everything from pizza to meatballs to Italian beef—and even a fan favorite, homemade Italian ice.
Denise and Fred “Freddie” Bertucci opened the restaurant in 1990, growing its reputation, and repeat business with great success. Ten years ago, their three daughters, Brittany, Stephanie, and Christie took over the business together. Brittany Bertucci recalls, “When we were little, our dad would always try to perfect pizza recipes at our house. Eventually we took it over and now we get to work with our family, which can be both good and bad.” She laughs, “We still make him [Freddie] deliver for us sometimes.”
What started as an Italian immigrant couple running a walk-up food stand in 1946, is now a beloved Chicago food destination with a national reputation. USA Today’s Ted Berg claimed Ricobene’s breaded steak sandwich is not just “a perfect sandwich,” but rather it’s the “best sandwich in the world.”
While people might come from far and wide to try the highly-rated pizza and sandwiches, it’s the neighborhood regulars who give Ricobene’s its comfortable, friendly atmosphere. Even in the middle of the afternoon on a cold Chicago day, the restaurant is bustling with loyal, local patrons—and they all know Sam Ricobene, 3rd generation owner of the Bridgeport establishment. Ricobene is proud that the restaurant is family owned and jokes that the hardest part is keeping his mother from still trying to work too much.
Payment Processing Solutions with Local Support
Both of these family-owned restaurants face similar problems that Beyond is helping them solve. Ricobene said that when it came time to find a new merchant services partner, it was an easy decision to choose Beyond because of local Beyond Business Advocate Chuck Wenzel. “Chuck was already a loyal customer. He was here all the time before we were his client, and now he still comes all the time.”
Bertucci echoes the same sentiments about the value of having Wenzel as their dedicated local payment solutions representative. “He used to come in any way just to get pizza. We were talking to him one day and we thought the message of Beyond was very cool. So when we were in the market looking for a credit card processor, Chuck was my first call.”
Stephanie Bertucci chimed in saying that “Chuck’s customer service is Beyond.” She also called out the responsive personalized attention from Beyond’s Premier Client Support team.
While Fabulous Freddie’s and Ricobene’s are considered rival competitors on some “Best of Chicago” lists, the owners agree on more than one thing. Both the Bertuccis and Ricobene are proud to bring their neighborhood and city together as go-to local gathering spots. The business owners believe in supporting their community, which is why they are excited about Chip-In, Beyond’s small business marketing tool that connects businesses like Fabulous Freddie’s and Ricobene’s with local nonprofits.
During these difficult times, both restaurants are continuing to offer online ordering, so you can try out a delicious slice of pizza from Ricobene’s or some Italian Beef from Fabulous Freddie’s in the safety of your home.
- Fabulous Freddie’s Italian Eatery
- USA Today
- Chicago Tribune
- Harvard Business Review
- Conway Center for Family Business
- Eater Chicago