Handcrafted Community + Full of Character = Brendan O’Connor, Big Guys Sausage Stand.


Photo by Joel Gonzalez of WeOurStory

Who is Brendan?
Brendan O’Connor is the enamored husband of Kelly Diaz and lucky dad of three charming girls. We live happily in North Berwyn, only a few blocks from my childhood home and a little more than a stone’s throw from my restaurant, Big Guys Sausage Stand, and my four older sisters. Making great quality food from scratch is my passion. In my spare time, I enjoy writing poetry with my girls, spending quality time with my wife, entertaining friends and creating new and delicious recipes for the restaurant.


Why do you live in Berwyn?
I chose Berwyn because I love the classic bungalow homes, down-to-earth people, and great restaurants. I moved into my home ten years ago and I still love it! Berwyn is the nicest neighborhood with close proximity to the city, and has that Chicago neighborhood charm. It’s also a great place for small businesses to thrive, which is why I chose to open Big Guys here. I specifically chose Roosevelt Road because it’s a great business and entertainment district, plus it’s close to home. I now three income properties in Berwyn.

I love the prohibition-era charm of my Berwyn two-flat. I’m currently redecorating to make everything look like the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. I really like the classic Art Deco style—the wallpaper, furniture, the intricate details, everything. It’s a timeless look and one of my favorite shows took place in that era, so it’s a win-win for me. Another thing I love about my home is our garden. My wife, Kelly, is a skilled gardener and takes advantage of the summer months to fill our yard and porch with flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Where is your favorite place to go in Berwyn?
Any of the gems along Roosevelt Road could be my favorite place to go in Berwyn, given my mood and the weather. There are just too many great places to call just one a favorite. As a small business owner, I like to support my fellow local businesses that make Berwyn what it is.

If we were to have a “Berwyn Day,” where would we go and what would we do?
If there was a “Berwyn Day”, we would spend it at Big Guys complete with a festival!  Our menu would include a pig roasting, burgers on the grill, and amazing sides, all made from scratch. There’s nothing better than making something amazing with your own two hands, especially a delicious meal. After our festival, we would stroll over to Gina’s Italian Ice to cool down before hitting the entertainment spots along the Veltway. Every music venue along the Veltway has a creative music style that go hand-in-hand with the even more creative cocktails and craft beer. We could enjoy the summer breeze while listening to some outdoor music with a cold drink in hand at any of the venues on Roosevelt Road, your pick.


Why is Berwyn #NothingLikeASuburb?
Berwyn has all of the advantages of a suburb with that Chicago neighborhood charm. When you think of a suburb, you probably think of a quiet, cookie cutter town with not much to do, and a long commute to the city. Berwyn is a suburb, but none of those suburb qualities apply. There is always something going on, whether it’s a festival, park district event, a big name in music performing, it’s never boring here. There is a ton of support for small businesses, which is important and what gives Berwyn its charm.

What is the Why Berwyn? Campaign?
Since 2007, the City of Berwyn has actively promoted its rich history and forward momentum. The campaign’s objective is to pique the curiosity of Chicago area residents and to create a driving desire to visit and live in Berwyn.

The 2018 campaign continues its storytelling under the “Nothing Like A Suburb” tagline that has been used for the past four years. This year’s messaging carries over from 2017 and reflects Berwyn’s core values and assets—our individuality, genuine community and unabashed self-awareness. Outdoor advertising and social media will again focus on two themes, Full of Character(s) and Handcrafted Community. This year, the BDC collaborated with local photographer Joel Gonzalez of WeOurStory to capture the campaign images.

Each theme highlights specific local “characters” to help illustrate our message. Our characters – whether they are homegrown or have seen Berwyn as a beacon for their craft – have made an impact on our cultural landscape.

The 2018 campaign runs from June through September and includes billboards in Chicago neighborhoods, posters on CTA el platforms, direct-to-consumer outreach through special events and social media engagement. The responsively designed WhyBerwyn.com blog provides visitors with a stream of information on the area’s real estate, businesses, schools, parks and recreation, cultural hot spots and special events.

For more information, continue here.

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