BeefBelly apologized to customers after a failed rebranding effort. Credit: BeefBelly/Facebook

PORTAGE PARK — The owners of Lead Belly Restaurant Group are taking their 4800 N. Central Ave. location back to basics after apologizing for an ill-fated Mexican cuisine rebranding.

“My wife and I grew up on the northwest side of Chicago. That’s why we opened BRGRBelly on the northwest side of Chicago five years ago. Since then, we expanded and opened up BeefBelly three years ago,” said Steve O’Brien, founder and owner of the Lead Belly Restaurant Group.

The BeefBelly location was rebranded as the Tipsy Cow, specializing in Mexican cuisine, at the end of last year. However O’Brien says the change of format and menu never really took off.

“So we decided to bring back BeefBelly and really just focus more on just going back to our roots and simplifying things,” said O’Brien. “We sent out an apology letter to everybody in the neighborhood. We really are just from the neighborhood, we’re northwest side people and we just believe in the neighborhood and then, people responded.”

“Sorry we’re such a mess,” a sign in the letter read.

“We made a mistake and we’re sorry. We thought we could run a fun, Mexican American restaurant we were wrong.”

The back to basics approach includes a simplified menu that only has four items: BRGRBelly hamburgers and cheeseburgers, buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches, herb-marinated grilled chicken sandwich, and hand cut fries seasoned with either sea salt and pepper or garlic parmesan.

Additionally, BRGRBelly and BeefBelly have also rolled out a $3 burger challenge — the $3 price will remain until the restaurant sells less than 100 burgers in a day. The BeefBelly Facebook page said that it had sold a record 140 burgers in less than 4 hours at its location on June 22.

“They’re a quarter pound burger, or you can get a double or a half pound burger, so they’re not the size of the BRGRBelly burgers. That’s just simply, just a really well-done burger with a homemade bun, the same BRGRBelly meat recipe with smoked pork belly and fresh ground chuck,” said O’Brien. The burger also has fresh lettuce, tomato, onion, homemade sriracha and pickles.

“We’re basically saying here, we wanna make this about the community. We want the community to tell us what they want at BeefBelly right now, and that’s what we’re doing here right now,” he said. “So, and this promotion, that’s exactly that.”

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