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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Art Talk – Where everybody knows her name


Ditka’s. Michael Jordan’s. Walburgers. These are just some of the successful restaurants bearing the name of iconic personalities of superstar status. Another celebrity venue joined the list recently when Bev’s, Naperville’s newest eatery, opened.

Paying homage to Bev Patterson Frier, its long-time property owner, Bev’s serves as a placeholder until Will Cullen and the Empire Restaurant Group complete the plans for Cali’s, a highly anticipated rooftop bar and restaurant scheduled to premiere in late 2022. The eponymous “fine dining liquor pop-up bar,” located on Washington Street between Chicago and Jackson Avenues, features freshly made fare and craft drinks in an upscale midcentury setting.

Naperville has long shown its respect for the namesake Bev. She has received kudos in the form of Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Fair Lady Production’s Fair Lady Award, and Naper Settlement’s HERstory celebration. A legend in her own right, the DePauw University graduate began creating her legacy in 1962 after moving to Naperville. Bev made a career as an entrepreneur, civic leader, music instructor, licensed pilot, and mother of two. She has been a champion for senior citizens and has served on the boards of Center for Lifelong Learning and Martin Manor. She is also a cheerleader for youth and former board member of Interlochen Center for the Arts, a pre-professional arts boarding high school that offers arts majors in disciplines such as creative writing, theatre, music, and visual arts in Interlochen, Michigan.

Many will remember Bev as the crusader for the Omnia Arts Center, a state-of-the-art performing arts center proposed to stand near the 5th Avenue train station. The concept, hatched in 1999, was introduced to help revitalize Naperville and generate $150 million in economic activity annually.

In 2020, the 20-year fight to build Omnia ended while Bev’s hope of a new arts center in Naperville remains.

Unlike the person, Bev’s, the restaurant located at 245 S. Washington Street, will not be around long enough to make a citywide impact. Why not take time now to experience all it has to offer? Perhaps you will be lucky enough to run into the real Bev, a gregarious soul with a quiver filled with incredible stories. If you see her, ask her about her encounter with Tom Selleck – it is more delicious than the banana foster crème brûlée!

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Debbie Venezia
Debbie Veneziahttp://www.artsdupage.org
Debbie Venezia is the Director of Arts DuPage, a DuPage Foundation initiative. Contact her at debbie@dupagefoundation.org or visit www.artsdupage.org.


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