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the orland park prairie | September 29, 2016 | 23

The Dish

Enrico’s Italian Dining redefines tradition at new Frankfort location

Rotating specials,

signature meals

attract patrons

Thomas Czaja

Contributing Editor

Before Harry D’Ercole reopened

Enrico’s Italian Dining

in Frankfort at its new location

this May, the man who

spent decades working at his

family’s restaurant business

found himself in unfamiliar

territory — on an extended


After working at the original

Enrico’s from its inception

in 1974 until its closing

in 2012, when the D’Ercole

family agreed to sell the restaurant

and the land it sat on

to make way for a Mariano’s

grocery store, D’Ercole had a

respite that ended up lasting

several years.

While he admits the time

off was relaxing, he said he

spent much of it consistently

searching for the right spot to

reopen Enrico’s.

“I thought it would be an

easy task,” D’Ercole said of

finding where to go in Frankfort.

“It turned into a terrible


D’Ercole said a number of

deals fell through “for one

reason or another” until the

right one came about, with

the carryout at the current

spot opening shortly before

the dining room did in late


In the months since,

D’Ercole said the response

has been “very, very positive,”

and while they are still

adjusting to the new surroundings,

the management

and staff have been “honored”

by the good feedback.

“Getting a restaurant up

and running and trying to

meet that expectation is a

challenge,” D’Ercole said.

“Fortunately, we had 38

years’ experience behind us.”

The Pork Tenderloin Madeira ($18.95) is a fixture on the

specials menu, with pork tenderloin medallions sautéed

with fresh mushrooms and Madeira wine served over

sautéed spinach.

Utilizing that know-how,

D’Ercole and his staff quickly

began serving up dishes

the restaurant had become

known for among locals,

including Enrico’s Famous

Minestrone Soup ($4.50 by

the bowl, $9.95 for one quart

plus garlic bread), which is

made with 17 vegetable ingredients,

according to the


“It’s all-natural ingredients,

so you know there’s no

preservatives in it,” D’Ercole

said. “The soup is made fresh

here daily, and we sell a lot

of soup because it’s so good.

That was one of the things I

think people were really waiting

for when we reopened

was to get some soup. It has

kale, three different kinds of

beans, corn, zucchini, yellow

squash, onions and more.”

For those looking for more

than soup, D’Ercole pointed

to The Railroad Tie ($7.95),

another inspiration from the

original restaurant — which

had a boxcar and caboose —

and is made with a half pound

of ground round on toasted

garlic bread and topped with

lettuce, tomato, grilled onions,

ketchup and mustard.

“It’s kind of a long steak

burger,” D’Ercole said.

Of course, no Italian restaurant

would be complete

Enrico’s Italian Dining

20535 S. LaGrange

Road in Frankfort


• 4:30-9:30 p.m.


• 4:30-10 p.m. Friday

and Saturday

For more information ...

Web: www.enricositalian.


Phone: (815) 469-4187

without a variety of specialty

pasta dishes and cheeses, and

Enrico’s features a Baked

Macaroni & Cheese ($11.95),

another popular item made

with cavatappi pasta that is

tossed in a cheddar cheese

cream with sun-dried tomatoes

and Canadian bacon before

being topped with more

cheese and baked.

Dinners on the Enrico’s

menu come with warm garlic

bread and soup or salad.

One of D’Ercole’s favorites

there is the Chicken Florence

($16.95), a boneless chicken

breast grilled and topped with

fresh mushrooms and mozzarella

over a bed of spinach.

The key, however, to Enrico’s

and its push to keep

offering new things is its

specials menu, according

Please see DISH, 26

The Baked Mostaccioli ($11.95) is an Enrico’s tradition that consists of mostaccioli tossed

with Parmesan cheese and covered with a meat sauce before being smothered with

mozzarella and baked to a hot and gooey finish.

photos by thomas Czaja/22nd Century Media


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