In October 2018, the 103rd Street Metra station became the last of six historic train stations in Beverly to close its ticket office window. To some in the area, watching the stations close may have been a disappointment—especially after Metra spent at least $48 million in renovations in the last decade. But to nearby residents Nate and Sonia Hollister, one of the ticket window closings presented an opportunity in disguise. Two Mile Coffee Bar, co-owned by the Hollisters and Gretta and Patrick Dertinger, opened for business inside of the 95th Street train station on April 20—more than three years after the ticket window there closed.
The 95th Street Metra station in Beverly closed its window for ticket sales in March 2016, but another window in the station opened for business last month: Two Mile Coffee Bar. Co-owned by couples Sonia and Nate Hollister and Gretta and Patrick Dertinger (Nate and Gretta are siblings), Two Mile serves family- and neighborhood-inspired drinks, as well as pastries crafted by the Morgan Park–based Laine’s Bake Shop, in the station’s bright waiting room. With Nate’s passion for reviving the historic space and Gretta’s extensive experience as a high-end barista, the family business seems off to a promising start. Their opening day on April 20 was packed, especially with young couples and children. Despite the tiny size of the coffee bar itself, the seating area is spacious: small tables, rose-colored vintage chairs, and several of the train station’s original wooden benches make for a welcoming and airy environment. Current weekday morning hours cater specifically to commuters. For a taste of Beverly’s latest, try the cedar-infused “Mamma Sue and the Reverend” or “The Ridge,” a latte with a cardamom twist—drinks named, respectively, after Nate and Gretta’s parents and the neighborhood’s iconic hill.
In the middle of a beautiful—if unassuming—area of Beverly sit two relics from one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most important projects. Before the Guggenheim, before Fallingwater, the master architect was trying to tackle a more pervasive issue: affordable housing. “I would rather solve the small house problem than build anything else I can think of,” Wright commented in the January 1938 issue of Architectural Forum.
Last month in Crain’s Chicago Business there was an article about how home sales in Beverly are on the rise and some of the reasons why. Before saying more about that article, a couple of declarations are in order here.
- Best Public Library in a Castle
- Best Mom & Pop Grocer
- Best Place to Find Something Fishy
- Best Pizza Not From a Pizza Parlor
- Best Anarchistic Arts Organization
- Best New Alternative Space
Beverly Hills (its proper full name, often shortened to Beverly) and Morgan Park are the Castor and Pollux of the South Side. Eternally joined as “The Village in the City,” they have earned a reputation as a place of good schools, gracious homes, and comfortable middle-class living—a bastion for city workers. An ancient glacial ridge runs along the length of the appropriately named Longwood Drive, topped by magnificent homes. Morgan Park, named after early estate holder Englishman Thomas Morgan, was a village in its own right until its annexation to the city in 1914. Beverly Hills, named not after the Los Angeles neighborhood but the town of Beverly in Massachusetts, became part of Chicago in 1890.
To those who grew up here, Beverly means idyllic streets for learning to ride bikes, summer outings to Rainbow Cone and Sunday mornings at their local churches. To those from the surrounding areas, Beverly is the hub of the Southwest Side. They celebrate their 21st birthdays in the bars on Western Avenue, go out for a special dinner at Pizzeria Deepo or Franconello, or take in a show at the Beverly Arts Center. It has much to offer outsiders, yet is also known to have a tenuous relationship with the communities that border it.
Sitting in the empty four hundred-seat theater, I spoke with program coordinator Jonathan Moeller before the festival began.
Rainbow Cone, stately old homes, Top Notch Beefburgers, and the South Side Irish Parade. The highest natural point in all of Chicago. Continue reading