PRINCETON — Childhood friends Wanda Nelson and Pam Horwitz are coming together to open Four and Twenty Cafe in Princeton.
The women are partners in the new restaurant located at 420 S. Main St. and will be using blackbirds from the nursery rhyme of 4 and 20 blackbirds as a theme in many of the restaurant’s interior decorations.
Several murals from the famous nursery rhyme have been painted on the walls of the restaurant by Nelson’s daughter, Laura. There are various pictures involving blackbirds hanging on the walls and other decorative items sprinkled around the restaurant to reflect the restaurant’s unique theme.
Nelson and Horwitz have shared a common hobby of cooking during the years they have been friends.
“We have talked five hours on the phone about food only,” Nelson said.
The emphasis of the restaurant is accessing local resources for the food and vegetables used in the menu choices at Four and Twenty Cafe.
“We want to serve good food, have good service and have good people,” added Horwitz. “We are wanting to use as many local food resources as we can.”
The breads will come from a local bakery in Tiskilwa while Sarah Fields of Princeton will be the baker of pastries, pies, cookies and confectioneries served at the restaurant. Fields’ great aunt was the owner of the Apollo Cafe in Princeton.
The house brew served at the restaurant will come from a small coffee roaster from Galena who sells his product at another Princeton business. Grass-fed buffalo will come from a farmer in the Sycamore area, while dairy and cheese products will come from a dairy in Fairbury. Vegetables will come from Illinois producers in Tiskilwa, Wyoming and Kewanee-Galva.
“We will serve fresh, high quality and nutritious food,” said Horwitz. “Wanda and I are proud to say we will put 10 to 12 people to work here. They are all local folks.”
Included in the restaurant is a coffee bar serving specialty coffee drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, flavored ice coffees, fresh fruit smoothies and specialty teas. Catering services will also be available from the restaurant.
“We will serve familiar food to our customers and will make it the best we can,” added Horwitz. “It will be nothing fancy.”
One Friday night a month, Four and Twenty Cafe will serve upscale gourmet meals consisting of four to seven courses in the dining room area of the business. Reservations for these meals are requested.
They will also accept reservations for small groups and parties each day of the week.
Horwitz said they intend to use each woman’s professional background to come together to have a wonderful business partnership. Nelson worked for 30-plus years in the banking industry and four years as manager of Hunter’s Ridge, while Horwitz has been more involved in business development.
Horwitz lived in Chicago area for 18 years and was a manager in a retail horticulture business for the last 11 years. In 2004, Horwitz said she was horrified driving through Manlius that there was no commerce in this village in western Bureau County. She then became committed to rural economic development issues and the barriers to small business progress.
Each partners’ parents and grandparents operated businesses in Manlius as they grew up.
“We worked in our parents’ businesses,” said Horwitz. “We developed our work ethic there.”
“Our first jobs were in the food and beverage industry,” added Nelson. “Now we have come full circle.”
Hours for Four and Twenty Cafe are 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On Sunday, the business is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 815-875-4200.
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