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Little Joe's Will be 'Different Experience' When it Opens in Frankfort

The Frankfort location won't be quite like the Little Joe's Famous Pizza restaurants in New Lenox and Tinley Park, the owners say. Doors at the new space should be open by next month.

As residents of Frankfort, the owners of Little Joe's Famous Pizza, which has locations in New Lenox and Tinley Park, have always wanted to open an eatery in the village.

Although it's taken longer than they had hoped, setting up a pizza place in their hometown will soon become a reality.

The Village Plan Commission recommended Thursday the approval of special use permits for outdoor dining and a liquor license for a Little Joe's location in the Crown Center Building on Lincoln Way Lane in the storefront that formerly housed Smooth Joe's Cafe. The Frankfort Village Board now needs to give final approval.

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"I'm excited you guys are coming," said Commissioner John Newton. "I've always enjoyed your food."

The Frankfort location will, obviously, be serving pizza, but customers at the new restaurant shouldn't expect to find all the same menu items they enjoy at Little Joe's other spots, said owner Sue Vasquez in an interview Thursday after the Plan Commission meeting.

"It's a different Little Joe's experience," said Gerardo Vasquez, manager of the Frankfort restaurant and Sue's son. "We've had to cut down the menu because of the size [of the new location]."

The Frankfort's Little Joe's will be smaller than the other locations, which means it will be cultivating a larger delivery and carry-out business, Gerardo said. But the location will still have a full dining room that will seat 25 people, Sue added. The seasonal outdoor seating will accommodate another 20 diners. There's also an outside common area next to the restaurant with tables and charts that customers can use.

Gerardo said he also wants to try some new and different menu options, including gluten-free items, which are available at the New Lenox and Tinley locations, as well as organic and Vegan and vegetarian dishes. Although it will start out by only serving lunch and dinner, the Frankfort restaurant might serve the breakfast crowd eventually, Gerardo said.

An opening day hasn't been officially set yet, but Gerardo said they're hoping to be up and running by the end of September. Ideally, they wanted to be open for Frankfort Fall Festival, but they are still not finished with remodeling, Sue said. In fact, that remodeling has taken almost a year as workers have been navigating some of the difficulties of putting a pizza joint in that location, she added.

But once the renovations are finished, Little Joe's will finally have a location that's always been a comfortable fit.

"We really want this place to have a community feel to it," Sue said. "We love this community."

 

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Thomas C Kusunis August 14, 2012 at 12:56 AM
I am both furious and feel let down with our Mayor and village board when I found out the village turned down the application of the Greek Orthodox Church to build their church in Frankfort. The Greek Orthodox Church is the oldest church in Christianity which was in existance centuries before Islam was established. So I ask the village how dare they discriminate against the holiest of the holy and most ancient religion. I am making this accusation to get an answer and reason why this injustice occured in my beloved village in which I have lived in over 50 years. The village allowed a Mosque and several denomination's of Christian Churches to be built in Frankfort in recent years.
Joe Vince August 16, 2012 at 03:59 PM
@Thomas C Kusunis: When did the church apply to build in Frankfort? And did you ask anyone on the board or in village government why the application was rejected? Joe Vince Local Editor, Frankfort/Mokena
Andrea Blevins January 20, 2013 at 12:37 PM
I'm sorry but this has nothing to do with the opening of a pizza joint. You obviously have the wrong site.
lala January 20, 2013 at 02:57 PM
You should go to a village board meeting and ask questions.

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