14 | July 5, 2019 | the orland Park Prairie life & arts OPPrairie.com Five times the fun The Ava Logan Quintet brings its talents back to Orland Park Public Library Bassist Geoffrey Lowe reacts to Dan McMillan’s introduction of The Ava Logan Quintet at the Orland Park Public Library. Ava Logan performs jazz standards and more with her quintet on June 23 outside of the Orland Park Public Library for the Summer Concert Series. Jarrard Harris unleashes a saxophone solo during a Summer Concert Series performance at the Orland Park Public Library. Drummer Phil Fornett performs with The Ava Logan Quintet. Dennis Luxion plays the keys at the Orland Park Public Library’s June 23 concert. Photos by Laurie Fanelli/22nd Century Media
OPPrairie.com dining out the orland park prairie | July 5, 2019 | 15 The Dish Gina’s Teardrop Cafe big on serving community Sean Hastings Contributing Editor Veterans eat for free from 6:30-8 a.m. on the last Monday of every month at Gina’s Teardrop Cafe in New Lenox. It has been that way for approximately two years. “When my father passed and we were at the cemetery, everybody there volunteers, and it just gave me the inspiration that we need to do something,” owner Gina Buck said. “It’s a big turnout. And their stories are unreal. It has turned into a great event that we do.” Gina said it is nice to see new faces show up for the veterans breakfast who then continue to come back and eventually become regulars. Polish-American festival coming to Orland Park Will O’Brien Freelance Reporter What do you get when you cross Polish Highlander culture, a big summer festival and the southwest suburbs of Chicago? Goralmania. That is the hope, anyway, for organizers of a first-time Polish-American celebration set for July 13 and 14 in Orland Park. “Goral,” organizer Jola Guzy explained, is Polish for “Highlander,” the name of an ethnographic group concentrated in Southern Poland, surrounding areas and, in the United States, Chicago. Highlanders are found throughout the city’s South Side and its southern suburbs, and are known for their deep-rooted culture and community gatherings, she said. “For us, Orland Park is the hub of this Polish- American population,” she said, adding the village’s proximity to other Polish enclaves and multimodal accessibility made it the perfect home for the inaugural bash. The fest — featuring numerous musical acts and entertainers, Polish food vendors, and childfriendly activities — will be hosted by Centennial Park. General admission is $20, and children 12 and younger will get in for free. Guzy and her four collaborators, who include brother-in-law Max Guzy, are hoping at least 2,000 people show up each day, though they would be happy to have more. They came up with the concept more than a year ago, and have been planning in earnest since January. The cafe also welcomes in an art class from Martino Junior High School in New Lenox to paint the front windows three times a year to coincide with the different seasons and holidays. It also does food drives during Thanksgiving and toy drives during the Christmas season. “Anytime we can chip in, we donate,” Buck said. “We really do try to give back. Whenever we can help somebody, we definitely try to.” Buck admitted that because of the location of the cafe — on the far west side of town — some people may not know it is there, because they do not have to drive that way. But she loves where it is located And the cafe will celebrate six years in November. When it first opened, only the main dining area existed, but a year-and-ahalf into things, it outgrew that space. Luckily, the space next door was occupied by Kevin Molloy Insurance, which moved to the other end of the mall to help with Teardrop’s expansion. Gina’s Teardrop Cafe serves both breakfast and lunch. It also caters food for different events, a service that has become more popular as of late. Teardrop may even host a wedding later in the summer. On the regular menu, the breakfast tacos ($8) are popular, as are the biscuits and gravy ($7 full order, $5 half, can be topped with two eggs any “Max got the idea from being on Facebook,” she said. “He kept seeing ads for Polish events on the North Side, and we both thought, ‘What could we do to bring something like this to the South Side of Chicago?’ It was a nobrainer.” In a metropolitan area well-known for its large Polish population, the Guzys say there has never been an event quite like Goralmania in the region. “For Polish Highlanders, everyone knows one another and loves to get together when we can,” Jola said. “We dress up, dance, have a good time, and celebrate our heritage and culture. We are very happy to be bringing this on a bigger scale to the area.” Entertainment will range from traditional folk music and dance groups to style for $1). The menu also has some “hidden gems” in their specials section. Special #3 — which is one egg any style, a cup of fruit, a side of avocado and a piece of toast ($8) — has become a popular item, as well. “When we did the menu revision four months ago to update it, that is one that gets a lot of orders,” said Gina’s husband and co-owner, Ken. “We try to stay current.” Gina said if they think of something good, they will put it up as a special, instead of regularly updating the menu. “We try to stay with the trends,” she said. “Everybody’s eating avocado.” The Teardop Skillet ($14) has also become a top-seller for the cafe, pop music and DJs. Acts include Izabela Szafranska, a popular contestant from the Polish version of “The Voice;” Sleboda, a sketch comedy group; Juliana Bobak and Chris Koziel, a cover band playing songs in English and Polish; and DJ Luke Pope. Activities are to include a pierogi-eating and kolacky-baking contests, as well as rides and a petting zoo for children. Local establishments Tradycja Polish Fusion Cuisine, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Highlander House Restaurant & Bar will be among the food vendors. A Catholic Mass, featuring a Highlander band, will be held at the beginning of the fest’s second day. Max said most of the food vendors were born in Poland and have kept their recipes the same since Gina’s Teardrop Cafe 826 W. Laraway Road in New Lenox Hours • 6 a.m.-3 p.m. daily For more information Phone: (815) 717- 8111 Web: ginasteardropcafe.com which is the Meat Lover Skillet (sausage, bacon, ham, onions, green peppers, cheddar and mozzarella cheese) topping with homemade country gravy and biscuits. The cafe also sells alcohol now, with drinks like Bloody Mary’s and mimosas on offer. “It’s something new for us that has really taken off,” Gina said. “It’s another thing that helps keep us current, because people are doing that.” As far as what the future holds for Gina’s Teardrop Cafe, Ken wants to focus on each years as it comes, while continuing to grow the veterans breakfast, community work and the catering side of the business. “For the military breakfast, we’ve had customers come in and see that and want to contribute,” Ken said. “We had [a veteran] from Pennsylvania as a traveler come, give us a card and said he’d like to help offset the cost we incur from the breakfast. We sent him a card back and a picture of what we provide here.” Other customers, especially around the holidays, have shown interest in helping out with the veteran’s breakfast, too, Ken said Goralmania What: Food and music festival celebrating Polish-American Highlander culture When: Saturday, July 13, and Sunday, July 14 Where: Centennial Park, 15600 West Ave. in Orland Park Web: www.goralmania. com Cost: $20 (children younger than 12 free) moving Stateside. “It’s real, old-world tradition,” he said. Goralmania will be the first event for the Guzys’ Highlander Production Inc., though Jola noted the group’s collective experience — including organizing large Highlander picnics in the past — has made it well-equipped to pull the effort together. Max, a sales professional with strong connections throughout the region’s Polish-American community, has been responsible for lining up vendors and sponsors, which include a pair of Polish-American radio stations and a host of local businesses. They have promoted the event through old-fashioned word-of-mouth tactics, as well as social media. They have designed the event to appeal to all ages and backgrounds. Whether Polish or not, all are welcome to “come check it out and learn about our culture,” Jola said. Interviewed roughly two weeks before the festival kicks off, the Guzys said they were excited to see their idea come to life and watch the public enjoy what they put together. “We wanted to do something big, and now we’re doing it,” Jola said.