The 37-year-old Geneva resident is such a fan he was willing to camp out overnight to be one of the first in line when the chain opened its latest restaurant Tuesday morning at 2425 W. Main St., St. Charles. Camping out with him was his dog, Sugar, and his father, Bruce.
The first 100 customers in line when the restaurant opened at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday received certificates for a free weekly seven-inch Italian beef sandwich for a year. Aiello said he quickly made friends with other people who also were camped out at the restaurant.
“We talked all night,” Aiello said. “Everybody was helping everybody out.”
Aiello arrived at Buona Beef at 10 p.m. Monday and was one of the first 10 people in line. Standing beside him were Dave Toy of Rosemont and his son, Andrew Toy, who brought blankets and sleeping bags with them.
Dave Toy said he regularly eats at Buona Beef restaurants.
“The beef sandwiches are excellent,” he said. “I wouldn’t do this at a place where I didn’t like the food.”
His son, however, is partial to the restaurant’s pepperoni pizza. The St. Charles restaurant is the 15th Buona Beef to open in the Chicago area.
The first Buona restaurant opened in Berwyn in 1981. Buona Beef co-owner Joe Buonavolanto Jr. said he was “humbled” to see the enthusiastic response to the opening of the restaurant.
“We are looking forward to many years of serving the community,” he said.