White Street: ‘home away from home’
Pauline Modjeski was looking for a career change, so she opened a restaurant in the village where she lived.
White Street Cafe marked its fifth anniversary in October in the Trolley Barn in Frankfort’s historic district.
“I used to walk my dog in that area frequently,” Modjeski said.
“The idea really centered around downtown Frankfort, the community, what I thought would work well and, being a resident, what I would like to see in town,” she said.
Here is the dish on this local eatery:
“Caprese avocado toast is one of our topselling items,” said Modjeski, adding that breakfast bowls, chicken salad and homemade soup also are popular.
“A couple of years ago we expanded the breakfast menu. It’s evolved over time. When we first started, we just did breakfast wraps. We learned from customers how important breakfast was so we added some equipment and power to the kitchen so we could expand the cooking line.”
A catering menu also was launched after customers asked for it.
On the menu:
Modjeski’s jobs in downtown Chicago included a position at a brokerage firm and administrative assistant to the president and then short-term investment manager at the former Horizon Cash Management, where she worked for more than 20 years. “I learned how to run a business. I learned the financial side of things,” she said.
As for the food side of things, Modjeski said, “It’s something I picked up over the years just
About the owner:
learning from others. Both of my ex-in-laws were very good cooks. I learned a lot from them and trying new things, experimenting, magazines and things like that. When I opened the cafe I hired professional cooks and chefs to help me. They’re responsible for a lot of the menu creations. It was going with my gut and what I thought would work well.”
A mission statement:
“White Street Cafe is all about good food, good friends and good family. We want people to feel at home. That’s their home away from home. We feel like our customers are our family,” Modjeski said. “It’s a real neighborhood place. We’re really proud of that.”
“It’s charming. It’s soothing. It’s just a relaxing atmosphere,” Modjeski said of
White Street Cafe, which her sister Jennifer Mazurek, of Frankfort, helped to build out and design. There is indoor seating for approximately 55, while the covered dog-friendly outdoor patio, which is open approximately nine months out of the year, seats 46.
“My sister is gluten-free. I saw firsthand how difficult it was to be able to go out and eat food. It’s really not that hard to make something if you just take the effort to look into the ingredients, see what everything consists of and what your options are. We do a lot of gluten-free,” said Modjeski, who grew up in Dolton and attended Seton Academy in South Holland.
House-made barbecue, sour cream and onion, and sweet potato chips also are available.
Specialties: We’re different because:
“For a small area, there is a lot going on,” Modjeski said of the cafe’s location near the Old Plank Road Trail, Breidert Green and antique shopping.
Breakfast items start at $3.45 for various selections, $5.95 for sandwiches and $8.45 for bowls or omelettes. Lunch items start at $3.25 for homemade soup, $6.25 for salads and platters, $6.45 for sandwiches and $7.25 for wraps and panini.
White Street Cafe is at 11 S. White St., Frankfort. Hours are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays and closed Mondays. Delivery is available from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Call 815-277-2790 or go to www.whitestreetcafe.com.
Head to Pilsen for the eighth annual Tamal Fest, where you’ll enjoy live music and dance performances while you chow down on regional varieties of tamales from 15 restaurants and bakeries like La Cocina de Alicia restaurant and Neveria La Flor de Mayo. Don’t forget to wash it all down with atole, a traditional cornbased drink popular during the holiday season, or some Mexican hot chocolate. After tasting the fare, vote for your favorite bites.
The White Street sliders at White Street Cafe in Frankfort feature two beef sliders on mini brioche buns with grilled onions, white American cheese and pickled jalapeno served with house-made barbecue chips.