Just Joe's, Lazy Dogz and Burgers, Toothpick's, Gold Coast Dogs, Willie's Wee-Nee Wagon ... Diana Petrauskis knows the history of restaurants at 16707 S. Oak Park Ave. in Tinley Park.
A long line of them have tried and failed to make it since popular hot dog stand Just Joe’s was forced out after the site was torn down and rebuilt more than a decade ago.
“I’m not going to let the past disturb me,” Tinley Park resident Petrauskis said. “I think if you have a good product people will come back. This is a great location. I don’t know what happened to those other restaurants.
“We’ve been open only since (Jan. 10) and already we have repeat customers,” she said pointing out two customers who were already so familiar she was calling them by name.
Petrauskis said last week was a soft opening to work out the kinks, which included the untimely need to replace her cook only four days into being open.
“Thank God it happened now and not after we had been open for a while and I really needed him,” she said.
Diana’s Kitchen is her first business venture but she’s no stranger to cooking.
“I’m used to cooking for large crowds,” she said while whizzing around the kitchen knocking out orders for hot dogs, Italian sausage and meatball combos. “Of course, my husband won’t be getting a home-cooked meal anytime soon.”
As for her menu, it’s basic fare including burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, soups, chili and appetizers.
“My chili and marinara sauce are homemade,” she said. “And my soups are made from scratch. I might add some items as we go along. I’m willing to try anything.”
Starting a business is hard work and she’s ready.
“I’m full time invested in this,” she said adding family members will play a pivotal role in the business. One she is counting on is her mother.
“Thank God for Ma,” she said indicating her mom, who was taking orders and restocking napkins in the small dining room with seating for about 20.
“Response has been good,” she said. “We’re averaging 40 to 50 people a day and we haven’t even advertised that we’re open yet.
“The people of Tinley Park have been great. I’m almost shocked customers have been so nice. I hope they come back. I’m trying to make this a place where people can come, chitchat and enjoy good food.”
Diana’s Kitchen winter hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The phone number is 708-532-9034.