Mundelein restaurateur born into the business
Lori Jozwiak, owner of Lauretta's Italian Bake Shop and Cafe in Mundelein, sits at a table with eggplant parmesan, one of the first entrees served at the eatery. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Lauretta’s Italian Bake Shop & Cafe
Address: 709 S. Lake St., Mundelein
Contact: (847) 566-0883, www.laurettasbakeshop.info
Hours: Monday - Wednesday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Thursday - Saturday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Sunday closed
Updated: August 28, 2012 8:18AM
Lori Jozwiak never thought she’d want her own restaurant.
But, when the restaurant business is ingrained in one’s family — her dad is Gino Pollari, who owned Two Guys From Italy in Highwood — it’s tough to avoid eventually winding up in the industry.
Jozwiak knew the countless hours her dad spent making Two Guys a success, yet she was still drawn to the life.
After raising her own children, Jozwiak opened Lauretta’s Bake Shop & Cafe in Mundelein three years ago.
Lauretta’s started out small, catering corporate lunches and providing a small lunch menu in a small space in downtown Mundelein.
After only a year, business was brisk and it became apparent she needed to expand the menu and space. Lauretta’s moved to a bigger location, at 709 S. Lake St, and introduced a full menu, which now features seafood and pasta in addition to the original gourmet sandwiches. Jozwiak also expanded her catering.
“It’s a nice place for a girls’ day out for lunch or family dinner,” she said. “We’re at a nice, sunny location.”
Her parents owned the large Highwood restaurant for 32 years, many of those overlapping Jozwiak’s formative years. Learning from her father’s experience, Jozwiak knew she didn’t want to start out that big.
Jozwiak’s father couldn’t stay away from the restaurant business for long, she added, and six months ago he took over a restaurant called Maria’s in Highwood.
She’s using this connection to her advantage.
“He is the chef in the family, he has great history in Highwood and many of my customers remember his business from Highwood, so it’s a great experience I’ve gotten from him,” she said. “In fact, he does all my baking. Everything is done in Highwood and all my recipes are his recipes.”
Jozwiak marvels that Lauretta’s started with sandwiches and two entrees, chicken Parmesan and lasagna, and is now serving 35 entrees and hosting wine tasting dinners.
Specialties include eggplant Parmesan and the pasta with clams.
“We can’t really take anything off our menu because every item is a great seller,” Jozwiak said. “We have a huge 12-inch sub for the working man and we have a fig and goat cheese panini for the ladies who like to try something different.”
Taking after her father, Jozwiak is now opening another restaurant in Arlington Heights called Dolce later this month.
“Same concept, same menu,” Jozwiak said. “It’s a little dine-in gourmet cafe.”