Alum has a recipe for success!

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Family and Food. Two ingredients to a good life. That’s what Frank Perry, St. Joe’s graduate from 1988 and owner of Joe’s Place on Westchester Boulevard in Westchester, has worked to develop. Concetta’s Beauty Salon, located to the immediate east of Joe’s Place, is a family business as well. Opened in 1992, it was named after Frank’s godmother and his dad’s sister. “My folks moved to Westchester in 1960. My mom came from the Bridgeport-Chinatown area and my dad from Taylor Street. After being out on my own as a DJ and owner of a valet service, I was invited by my dad to take over part of the current building I’m in.”

Frank’s original plan had been to open a coffee house but a friend associated with Gene & Jude’s Red Hot Stand in River Grove convinced him to do otherwise. “Gene & Jude’s has such a great tradition and reputation I thought it was a great idea.” To that end, Frank opened a similar place in July of 1999. While the menu at Joe’s Place is extensive, including the often requested Italian ice, it is the hot dog and fresh cut fries, wrapped together for a full effect that keeps people coming back. “I love serving food and I love making people happy,” Frank added as he prepared for the lunch-time crowd, “and seeing friends come in over and over and meeting new people continues to be a thrill.”

With the thrills, however, comes the work to make it happen. “There was definitely a honeymoon period when I first opened up,” Frank recalled. “Your first customer, establishing relationships with vendors and getting well-wishes from your friends and family. It’s awesome. Gradually, though, there comes the day-to-day grind and stress and since we’ve included catering now, there‘s been more to do.” As owner, he is also able to spend some quality time with his wife, who is a school teacher, and six-year-old daughter.

Two important factors impacted Frank’s life, education and his mom’s influence. “My folks always stressed education,” Frank emphatically remarked. “I remember Brother Michael Fitzgerald’s assistance in getting me into Benedictine University. I am also proud to be serving as a trustee for the Village of Westchester.” Behind every good young man, however, there is often a prodding mother. “I cannot tell you how much my mom has affected my life personally and professionally. There is no cup big enough to measure her influence.”

Frank also considers himself fortunate to have had great people working for him. “I’ve employed many Chargers over the years and they’ve all been great – responsible and trustworthy.”

Joe’s Place, named after his grandfather is open year-round and “serves homemade specialties from the ‘Old Neighborhood.’” Visit JOESPLACECATERS.COM for more information. Congratulations and good luck, Frank! You are a Charger of which we are very proud!