Beaner’s – food, history & love

Around 13 years ago, my uncle moved to Hebron, IL to pursue a lifelong dream of living in small town rural America.  With a population of about 1200 people, it definitely fit the bill.  He’s an avid Route 66 fan who always takes the long way, prefering those two lane off the beaten path roads jam packed with history and local restaurant gems.

So when my uncle suggested that I go to Beaner’s in Hebron, I knew it would be worth it – plus the Hebron Trail starts just a leap away.  Beaner’s is a family run Mexican barbecue restaurant that serves wholesome authentic Mexican cuisine; Uncle Tom is a regular. You’re very likely to find the owners, Mike and Eila Alejandro, cooking, taking phone orders or showing their staff the latest dish they want to have showcased on the menu. When I went, the couple’s daughter was our quick and efficient waitress.

Beaner’s Food

Chicken Fajita Dinner in a Sheet Pan!

I ordered and ate a fajita dinner of epic proportions.  The beautifully grilled jalapenos gave an electric jolt to the grilled chicken and peppers. I was taken back to a honky tonk in Nashville with the taste and smell of their smokey signature barbecue.

Burrito Bowl

While you’re chowing down on your burrito bowl, you’ll get a glimpse of Owner Mike’s proud military table decor. Having served in the Marines, you’ll see that he wears his service proud on his sleave. What is very hard to illustrate is Mike’s absolute love and passion for the barbecue he cooks. Head on over to the Beaner’s facebook page and check out some of his live videos of him slow roasting his turkey legs, jalapeno’s wrapped in bacon, pics of his Ribinator sandwich, and a sublime one of his Double Smoked Hickory Peppered Bacon Cheeseburger with Chihuahua Cheese. I seriously cannot do it justice here!

Corn Hash Elote (half eaten and not so pretty now)

Their Corn Hash – Elote was out of this world and tasted just like the original on the cob elote but in a bowl of mayo, parmesan cheese, lime, butter and their homemade spicy powder. I’m going back for that alone.

The churros had different fillings and chocolate to dip in. I went with plain and enjoyed the cinnamon deep fried indulgence.

Churro

History

Built on the former Hebron train depot for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway, the bar stands in the same spot as the passengers of the early 1800’s. The first settlers arrived in 1836 and the railway became active 25 years later. Unlike other towns in the area, Hebron was named by a woman, Ms. Harriet Tryon.

Starting in 1861 and abandoned in 1939, the Kenosha and Rockford Railroad or “KD Line” ran between its two namesake cities in Wisconsin and Illinois and transported passengers and cheese.This railroad, known as the Kenosha Division, or “KD Line”, had merged early into the Chicago & North Western Railroad. In 1986, Paul Behrens published a book, The KD Line, which unfortunately, is out of print.

Brian Landis, snwhs.org submittal

The Hebron Trail is a crushed limestone and gravel path running 6.7 miles. I have not ridden the trail yet, but will as it’s in the spring line up. Who’s with me?!

Love at first sight

With Mike busy navigating a delivery, I casually approached his wife to see if she would want to talk instead. Eila shyly let me know that Mike was the public face of the restaurant. He managed the social media videos and did the marketing. It was his comfort zone, not really hers.

So we just chatted casually, as ladies sometimes do, and it turns out, she revealed the real glue and beauty as to why the restaurant worked so well and had such a following of fans (well besides the food).

They were both born and raised in Chicago and met at Wags, a family style restaurant owned by Walgreens in the 70’s and 80’s.

Mike had recently completed his active service and she was working as a hostess. Just shy of 17 years of age when they met, she and him talked for hours. They felt as if they had known each other for years sharing the same dreams and goals. They had similar interests, values and views on how they wanted their life to be.

It was love at first site. They knew that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.

After three short months and a lot of convincing to both sides of parents that they knew what they were doing (and that she wasn’t pregnant!); they married.

On December 22, 2020, they will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary.

Eila shared, “We are still friends. I still get flowers, he’s still romantic with me, and the spark is still there. Time has flown by and it honestly does not feel like it’s been that long.”

Ah, the elusive love at first sight.

Visit soon, visit often; you’ll be happy you did!

Published by Ride Bikes. Eat Local.

Just a soon to be empty nester mom that is looking to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and share it with others.

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