Flippin Flavors: Husband and wife parlay successful marinade line into South Side restaurant

The small but hugely popular restaurant in Beverly specializes in fresh, made-to-order salads and sandwiches.

SHARE Flippin Flavors: Husband and wife parlay successful marinade line into South Side restaurant
Flippin Flavors co-owners Brian and Linda Flippin are photographed at their restaurant in the Beverlly neighborhood.

Flippin Flavors co-owners Brian and Linda Flippin are photographed at their restaurant on West 95th Street in the Beverly neighborhood.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

One of the signs on the counter of the laid-back Beverly neighborhood spot Flippin Flavors reads, “We are not a fast-food restaurant. Your food is made fresh every order. Please be patient.”

The words immediately let everyone know that no item is thrown into a microwave and callously prepared. Each sandwich and salad is prepared with love — and that’s not a cliche at this eatery.

Brian Flippin (whose friends call him “Flip”) and his wife, Linda, immediately greet all customers with smiles.. A recent conversation with the couple quickly became a journey through family life, business beginnings (and expansions) and much more.

Linda Flippin, who owns/runs Flippin Flavors with her husband, Brian, cooks steak for a sandwich at their restaurant.

Linda Flippin, who owns/runs Flippin Flavors with her husband, Brian, cooks steak for a sandwich at their restaurant.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Brian also turned the attention to his late father’s wedding ring (which he now wears on a chain around his neck), adding that his dad passed away of dementia in 2019.

“He’d be very, very proud right now,” he said, with a smile.

This small and immaculate restaurant specializes in addictive offerings like the Flippin Original Steak Philly Sandwich, the Flippin Turkey Hoagie and the Flippin Berry Explosion Salad. Any one of these is worth stopping by this place, which is a stone’s throw from the Metra stop at 95th/Beverly.

“People ask what our best item is,” Brian said. “I say that half the battle is getting you in the door. What we do is keep the menu tight; we don’t have 80 different things. That way we can perfect everything.”

The Flippin original Philly steak sandwich at Flippin Flavors, 1848 W. 95th St., in the Beverly neighborhood.

The Flippin original Philly steak sandwich at Flippin Flavors, 1848 W. 95th St., in Beverly.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

However, it’s certainly no problem if someone wants to customize an order. Referencing a well-known fast-food chain’s slogan, he added, “Yeah — have it your way,” before adding with a laugh, “Sometimes, we look at you sideways.”

Brian (who grew up in South Shore) said, “Our hoagies are not traditional —we don’t have the French baguette, which is pretty hard; our bread is soft. And they’re open-faced,” adding that Linda makes every order from scratch, down to shaving the turkey meat. (Two additional people are also helping out, including a prep person.) And for those who are carb-phobic, there’s the option of putting a steak Philly on a bed of lettuce, for example.

Flippin Flavors came from very humble beginnings, and it helped that Brian and Linda were on the same page from the start.

Flippin Flavors’ “Berry Explosion Salad.” 

Flippin Flavors’ “Berry Explosion Salad.”

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

“When we started dating, I told [Linda] — and I don’t even eat at McDonald’s — that I wanted to own a McDonald’s, Subway or White Castle,” Brian said. “I wanted my kids to work [at the restaurant they owned] as their first job. We’re going to keep it in the family. That was my goal. And then [Linda] came up with the marinade.”

These are the “magic” marinades/jerk sauces that Flippin Flavors was initially known for —and the unique sauce (made with only clean and all-natural ingredients, they emphasized) eventually caught the eye of big business as well.

The idea for the expansion of Flippin Flavors, however, came in the bedroom.

“It was 1 a.m., and we’re lying in bed, watching TV,” Brian began. “And [Linda] asked, ‘What do you think about me bottling my marinade?’ I said, ‘Go for it. It’s good!’ I woke up [around 7:45 a.m.], and my wife had not gone to sleep. On a phone, she had developed the website and even set up the LLC.”

The Flippin turkey hoagie at Flippin Flavors is made with a soft bread and served open-faced. 

The Flippin Turkey Hoagie at Flippin Flavors is made with a soft bread and served open-faced.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

They then put their noses to the grindstone, according to Brian.

“We would literally go out and drive to different clubs, selling marinades out of our car.”

Eventually, word of mouth resulted in local chefs reaching out to the Flippins.

“Then, we really started getting a lot of play — and Walmart and Sam’s Club wanted to sell our product in their stores. When we got to the table, they asked where we produced the marinades. When we said the house and then shared kitchens, they said, ‘You need to have a brick-and-mortar because you have to pass some inspections.’”

The Flippins looked aroundfor a spot to produce the marinades and eventually came across the Beverly location (already set up with some kitchen service equipment from a previous business) that became the Flippin Flavors restaurant. It wasn’t even close to what the restaurant they envisioned, but the couple saw a diamond in the rough, they said.

“When we saw the [stove] hoods, I said, ‘Oh, s- - - -,” Brian said with a smile. “I called Linda, she got the number, and two days later, we were walking through here.”

Flippin Flavors is located at 1848 W. 95th Street in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood. 

Flippin Flavors, at 1848 W. 95th Street, is a stone’s throw from the Beverly/95th Metra stop.

Andrew Davis

The restaurant opened in April 2020 just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning. Linda said they immediately pivoted, and Flippin Flavors became a full-on, carryout-only spot.

“We had cars lined up down the street,” she said, adding that social media played a crucial role in spreading the word about the new eatery.

Diners can also opt for a seat on-site. About half a dozen tables are available.

Beaming about the restaurant’s sleek style, Linda added, ”You can get fresh, healthy food and be excited about it.”

Flippin Flavors also features a catering menu. In addition to the freshly made sandwiches and salads, other featured items include banana pudding, salmon salad, and a spinach dip bread bowl (with no mayo). And, yes, the marinades are still available online at flippinflavors.com.

As for expansion, Linda hinted at several deals in the works, including a spot in the Loop.

“The food speaks for itself,” Brian said.

And it sounds like it’s saying, “Look out, world.”

Flippin Flavors is open Wednesday through Saturday at 1848 W. 95th St. Visit https://www.flippinflavors.com/.

The Latest
The 23-year-old Shannon was accused of committing sexual assault last September while visiting Kansas for a football game between the Illini and the Jayhawks.
The Cubs sunk to a 13-15 record in an MLB-leading 28 one-run games.
After three tumultuous years as AD, Gragg’s primary responsibilities will lie in the expansive, ever-evolving realm of NIL, with a focus on fundraising.
Lee catches Garrett Crochet in his third game of Mariners series behind the plate.