Elizabeth McSwain and Vice Chairman Hagman.
By Curt Hagman

PUBLISHED: October 16, 2017 at 3:52 pm | UPDATED: October 16, 2017 at 4:16 pm

As the owner of an award-winning southern cuisine restaurant, Elizabeth McSwain knows a lot about food, healthy eating and down-home goodness.

Elizabeth joined the Ontario community just one year ago when she opened her business, Beola’s Southern Cuisine restaurant. She has not only made a name for herself with her mouth-watering creations, she found the time to use her knowledge about food to form the Caramel Connections Foundation which helps underserved children with tips on healthy eating and physical fitness.

Teaching our children about physical fitness is so important because 34 percent of youths in San Bernardino County don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity which is 60 minutes a day. Only 23 percent of adults in our county are getting the recommended 150 minutes a week of physical activity, according to according to the most recent data from the California Health Interview Survey.

It is my privilege to name Elizabeth as my “Action Hero” representing San Bernardino County’s Fourth District because of her commitment to the Countywide Vision’s Vision2BActive campaign to improve health and wellness by encouraging residents to increase their physical activity and connecting them to existing recreational programs, amenities and activities in their communities.

Elizabeth started the Caramel Connections Foundation by hosting monthly healthy eating and cooking classes at her restaurant to teach kids how to cook their own fun and healthy meals.

“Some of these kids come from challenged households.” Elizabeth said. “When they come to a monthly cooking class and eat more salad than the adults, it’s because it’s tasty. For a lot of them, it’s also because they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”

Elizabeth says her students – some as young as 8 years old – are energetic and extremely engaged in the lessons.

But Elizabeth knows healthy eating isn’t the only component to wellness. Her Caramel Connections Foundation also partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of San Bernardino to offer children physical activity classes. For those children not near the Boys and Girls Club, Elizabeth started a private social media group for parents to document their children’s physical activities.

Each picture of their child engaging in physical fitness results in a raffle entry for a new bicycle the foundation gives away each year. The pictures provide visual and moral support for kids and their parents. The bicycle is a great incentive for kids to do a little more and try a little harder. The social media account lets them see how daily physical activity makes lives better and enables them to learn new skills and make new friends. Physical exercise is truly a win-win situation for our children. It benefits them physically, socially, emotionally and psychologically. It brings people together and encourages teamwork and sharing.

“The social media account is a great way for kids to work with their parents to promote physical activity,” Elizabeth said. “Kids see their friends working out, riding bicycles, skateboarding, or swimming and they tell their parents, ‘Let’s go do that.’ So it gets kids and their parents out of the house. It gets them excited to be active. They’re sharing with their friends, they’re meeting up outside of the monthly meetings, and it’s great!”

I am pleased to hear kids who are using Elizabeth’s program are benefiting from both learning about healthy and delicious food and learning about the health benefits of regular physical exercise in accord with the Countywide Vision’s Vision2BActive campaign. Children are the future of San Bernardino County and Elizabeth’s leadership and dedication to furthering the goals and ideals of the Vision2BActive campaign make her the perfect person to be our Action Hero in the Fourth District.

Curt Hagman is San Bernardino county supervisor representing the Fourth District. For more information about the Vision2BActive campaign, check out Vision2BActive.com, an interactive resource that provides residents with information about physical activity events, fitness tips and a GIS map featuring places to be active in the county.


By David Cohen
January 24, 2017 at 7:48 pm

I’ve been searching for a restaurant that serves authentic down-home Southern cuisine that brings back memories of shrimp and grits in South Carolina, flavors of fried catfish in the Mississippi Delta and of course, Southern fried chicken in all its glory — crispy, grease-free and moist, even in the breast meat.

Well, that search has finally come to fruition with the discovery of Beola’s Southern Cuisine. Elizabeth and Tony McSwain, who hail from Spartanburg, South Carolina, have brought grandmother Beola’s Deep South recipes to Southern California with all the love and attention to detail that was evident at Sunday suppers back home.

Elizabeth runs the dining room, while her husband dishes out food from the kitchen in all its Southern splendor. Their two sons, Troy and Alex, also play an integral role in the operation of the restaurant as well.

I’ve never thought much about the combination of chicken and waffles … seems like blending breakfast/brunch with dinner, and I just didn’t get it. Well, one taste of the malty private waffle mix creations drizzled with a blend of Canadian and American maple syrups and creamy butter followed by a bite into the deliciously crunchy fried chicken cooked in hot peanut oil made me a fan for life.

Chicken extraordinaire

The chicken is nothing short of phenomenal. I found myself devouring every last morsel of skin and meat from the smallest bones, amazed that the breast and wing meat was as tender and moist as the thigh and leg.

I almost took some meat and wrapped it in the waffle to enjoy all of the luscious flavors simultaneously.

The chicken (four pieces) and waffle comes with a side, and I’d highly recommend Troy’s greens with turkey.

You’ll find the food isn’t overly salted, which is definitely a health benefit.

And then there’s the amazing shrimp and grits. I’ve tried the Maverick grits at Slightly North of Broad and the first-rate version at Hominy Grill, both in Charleston, and I can say without question that Beola’s rendition is one of the finest I’ve had. It’s a generous number of plump shrimp in a slightly spicy, garlicky Creole style sauce made with tomatoes, onions and celery which is served atop creamy cheese grits that would bring tears to the eyes of any Southern food aficionado.

Order an extra side and sprinkle a few drops of Crystal hot sauce over the top for comparison’s sake. Grits at their quintessential best!

Mitch’s Big King gumbo comes as a chicken or seafood version. We opted for the latter, which contained shrimp, rice, chicken, slices of Louisiana hot links and two meaty king crab legs, adrift in a black peppery dark brown roux. It’s $24, but is enough for two people, and comes with a textbook version of homemade cornbread, great for soaking up every last drop of the scintillating broth.

Next up was a sliced Louisiana sausage link with a fine grain and a slow building heat. We ran out of room, so we’ll have to go back to try the fried catfish platter.

Just desserts

Of course, who can pass up warm peach cobbler and sweet potato pie? That’s like going out for Southern Italian food and passing on the homemade cannoli.

A number of new dishes will be added to the menu in the near future, including tri-tip, fried oysters, oxtail stew and smothered pork chops. Can fried green tomatoes and etoufee be far behind?

Background music is chock-full of hits from Motown artists, including a generous selection from The Temptations.

Sunday Gospel brunch will be offered soon.

Service is leisurely and when crowded, the wait may seem long, but hey, home cooking done right is absolutely worth the wait. Be aware that the awesome fried chicken takes around 20 minutes to prepare.

Ask for cornbread to munch on while anticipating some of the best Southern fare this side of the Mississippi. Don’t miss it!

David Cohen is a freelance dining critic and food co-editor for Inland Empire Magazine. Send him email at dcohen4@verizon.net and follow him on Twitter @dcfoodfiles.

Beola’s Southern Cuisine

Rating: 5 stars.

Address: 1845 E. Holt Blvd., Ontario.

Information: 909-390-3663, www.soulfoodbeolas.com.

Cuisine: Southern.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Prices: $12-$24 for entrees.

Details: Sunday gospel brunch to start soon. Kids menu. Single pieces of chicken available as is Liz’ luscious red velvet waffle with frosting.

Cards: Most majors.

Southern cooking at its best is at Beola’s in Ontario

HOURS OF OPERATION :10am-10pm Monday - Saturday

         10am-9pm Sunday

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