Legendary Charlie Beinlich's on North Shore

July 11, 2008 8:34:04 PM PDT
The restaurant's owners have had just seven items on the menu since the 1950 opening.

If you walked into Beinlich's 50 years ago, and then walked in this week, chances are nothing much has changed. There's still the Wisconsin lodge wood paneling, the stuffed fish on the walls, and of course, great burgers, shrimp cocktails and simple sandwiches.

"Since I was a little kid, I've been running around the bar looking for quarters that fell on the floor. I [remember] scooping cole slaw when I got in trouble from my parents," said Charlie Beinlich's Linda Rainey.

Rainey represents the third generation at the restaurant. Her grandfather, Charlie, decided to open his cozy pub and kitchen 58 years ago.

"My grandfather was a cook in the service. So, the recipes came from my great-grandmother," Rainey said.

The menu is limited, but burgers are the star. Extra touches like lightly-toasted buns kissed with butter and grilled onions show they're serious about burger construction. But don't overlook the fantastic shrimp and crab cocktails, an homage to Beinlich's nautical passion.

"My grandfather and my grandmother and both my parents were big fishermen. All these fish were caught by them," Rainey said.

In that same vein, the restaurant serves dynamite tuna salad, with just the right amount of mayo to bind it together. Roast beef sandwiches are another throwback. They are roasted and sliced thin, and piled high on a choice of white or rye bread.

Even though it's not really weather-appropriate now, the chili is also notable, served with cheese and onions.

Rainey says one of the reasons the small operation has been so successful, for nearly six decades, is its commitment to consistency.

"We have a menu that has not changed a whole lot in 58 years, and we're consistent. We try and be consistent. Our food is hopefully good every time it comes out," she said.

Even though the pub is kid-friendly, customers under age 21 may not enter alone; it is still considered a tavern. So kids, be sure to drag an adult along with you.

Charlie Beinlich's

290 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook

847-714-9375


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