As anyone who has dined there knows, Strawberry Fields Pancake House has an instant-classic feeling. The restaurant caters to those who crave home-cooked simplicity with a dose of the unexpected. In other words, Strawberry Fields offers a delicious menu with all the staples and none of the short cuts, all cooked to order in a warm and cozy environment. The hospitality and care that goes into cooking, serving, and running the diner are what truly set Strawberry Fields apart. We took a moment to speak with Harry Les, Owner and Manager of Strawberry Fields Pancake House, so that patrons could get to know the man behind the counter.
Q: How long have you been in the restaurant business?
A: I started working at a restaurant in Chicago, when I came from Greece at the age of 14. I started out washing dishes, then got promoted to a busser, then I was trained to be a cook. I opened my own restaurant in 1975—Les Brothers, in Oak Lawn, Illinois. It [the restaurant] is still in business today!
Q: What sets Strawberry Fields apart from other businesses you’ve owned?
A: It's no different in the long run, but this one has been fun to get in the swing of things. Right now, it's my baby. In the beginning, there are always trials and errors—it's never easy. But I love what I do, and with hard work, dedication, and determination, along with good food and a homey atmosphere…that’s what brings my friends coming back. And that makes it special.
Q: What is your favorite part about your job?
A: Cooking and making lifelong friends along the way.
Q: What is something you love to do outside of work?
A: I’m simple: I work a lot, I have family time, and I sleep. [Laughs.] I’m very thankful to my wife for keeping a close-knit family. We have the kids over for dinner frequently, so I'm fortunate that I get to spend time with them outside of work, even though sometimes conversation turns to the restaurant. My two grandkids give me the utmost joy; they are so full of life and they always make me happy!
Q: What’s your favorite menu item?
A: When I want something sweet, crepes and our new creation, the Greek pancake! When I want to be healthier, “The Works” omelet with one pancake, instead of the two that come in an order. For lunch, I eat a lot of salads—they are huge!—and our homemade soup, or Greek chicken breast.
As someone who’s been in the business a long time, Les knows how to keep his guests happy. The friendliness and consideration he puts into his work are as important as the ingredients he uses in his home-cooked meals. Looks like we’ll all have to make a trip to Strawberry Fields to try this Greek pancake creation!
For more information about Strawberry Fields Pancake House, please visit www.strawberryfieldspancakehouse.com.