FAMILY MEAL, THE FOOD PUT UP BEFORE SERVICE for staff to eat, is philosophically opposite to what restaurants serve—instead of premium ingredients and highfaluting cooking, it’s often odds and ends, bargain cuts, done in comforting and filling ways. It’s often used as a testing ground by cooks, no doubt, but at best it’s a rough approximation of what the restaurant will eventually serve.
Which makes Pizzeria Bebu quite possibly unique in Chicago, at least. Has anyone ever taken staff meal and served it straight to guests, indeed, built an entire restaurant out of it? I can’t think of one—places like Honey Butter Fried Chicken have grown out of the behind-the-scenes underground dining culture, for instance, but not from food made just for staff and never shown to the public at all. Pizzeria Bebu, tucked in a new condo high-rise a block or two over from the New City shopping center and the Arclight movie theaters at North and Clybourn, is probably the only one.