Café Borgia Limited-Edition Cookbook
This momento of our 30th anniversary highlights Chef Jesso's favorite recipes with 4-color illustrations by renowned food photographer, Dan Dry. A timeline of events are intermingled throughout to depict the evolution of the cafe since it opened in 1986. This is a limited edition and includes an artistic slip case cover.
Café Borgia Celebrates 30th Anniversary
Café Borgia opened its doors on December 24, 1986, on Torrence Avenue in Lansing, Illinois, a south suburb of Chicago.
We had only two staff members — Mike and I — the chef/busboy and the waitress/dishwasher. Each day was busier than the one before and we were soon bursting at the seams in that little building, with a line of hungry people waiting to get a table.
Like today, everything was cooked to order and we always provided good value. It was important for us to appeal to our regulars and not out-price ourselves just to attract the occasional diner looking for a bargain. Our staff grew to 14 in Lansing and we functioned like a family, spending many, many hours together back in the day when Italian restaurants in the region were often popular only for their beef sandwiches and pizza, and customers had certain narrow expectations. We did our best to introduce a new menu to the region and to gain approval from both the Chicagoland southside and the northwest Indiana market.
One thing led to another and after 21 years in Lansing, we wound up in Munster, Indiana, a growing community that welcomed Cafe Borgia. Our staff has now grown to 40, with most of the original Lansing team on board, as well as a few who have been with us from pretty close to the very beginning.
We especially appreciate our regulars who have followed us after the move. We had a blast in the past, especially with the BYO in Lansing! But now, we are thrilled to have a parking lot, a bar and private party rooms large enough to satisfy our ever-growing growing demand. We can never thank you enough for 30 great years!
Café Borgia Customer Favorites
According to customer feedback, some of the most popular menu items
A refreshing Watermelon Martini. Try it yourself this summer.
1.5 oz. ThreeOlives® Watermelon Vodka
.25 oz. Monin® Watermelon Syrup
.5 oz. Triple sec
2 oz. sweet and sour mix
Splash of cranberry juice
Step 1. Combine ingredients and ice in a shaker and cover. Shake several times.
Step 2. Pour and serve.
NWI Times Features Chef Mike Jesso’s signature pasta, homemade Lasagne al Forno
It's impossible to confuse the hill across the street from Café Borgia in Munster with the rolling countryside of Europe's boot. But, the only view that matters is when the server clears the bread plate and sets a dish of hot Italian food in front of you...
Bon Appetit: Veal Gorgonzola with Sweet-and-Sour Red Cabbage
As featured in Bon Appetit Magazine.
Fine Italian fare stars at Munster’s Café Borgia
Mike and Karen Jesso have been offering creative Italian recipes to dining fans for nearly three decades.
As owners of the popular Cafe Borgia in Munster, the husband-and-wife team are happy to continue to serve the community and food fans from Northwest Indiana, Illinois and elsewhere...
ZAGAT Comes to Café Borgia
For years, Café Borgia grabbed the attention of ZAGAT. Established in 1986 with very humble beginnings, the reviews were a focus on quality food and wine for good value. In fact, Chef Jesso was complimented for having an “intelligent wine list.” The national recognition that Café Borgia enjoys from ZAGAT reviews is an important part of our media highlights.
Our Years with Chicago Magazine
Back in 1986 when we first opened our doors, the only ambition we had as far as media recognition was to be listed in Chicago Magazine. When the day came and we were selected to be a featured restaurant it gave validation that we were part of a very special group of culinary high achievers. Thanks Chicago Magazine for your attention over the years—a very special part of the Café Borgia history.
Bon Appetit: Cafe Borgia Polenta Torte with Goat Cheese Sauce
As featured in Bon Appetit Magazine.
The University of Chicago Visits Café Borgia
Having studied at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, Café Borgia owner Karen Jesso got the attention of the alumni magazine. The editorial staff enjoyed their tour of the Café with discussion over lunch about the Café past, present and future. Thanks, University of Chicago, for the powerful academic tools that were instrumental to our successful business model.