Meet the Owner
Debbie Fitzgerald Williams
Still too young to head off to kindergarten, Debbie’s journey into the hospitality industry began when her older sister and brother were away at school all day. While passing the time at home, she would recite the menu du jour, take the order, “cook” and serve mom. Granted the menu usually consisted of cottage cheese with cling peaches (can already open in the frig), but it was her destiny. One of her fondest memories is helping Grandma Helen peel and core apples for a homemade pie when she was six or seven. It was very exciting to use a paring knife for the first time, and it was a delicious pie! Grandma Helen always made the best piecrust. A few years later, with mom back at work fulltime, Debbie and her siblings were responsible for cooking dinner. She loved watching the latest rerun of The French Chef and trying to recreate some of the dishes. Just don’t ask her family about the chicken croquette disaster of 1980.
Needing pocket money for her used 1976 “Levi Edition” Gremlin’s gas tank, legwarmers and a Flash Dance sweatshirt, Debbie began her food service career at Pepé’s hotdog stand, moved over to the candy counter at the local movie theatre, and threw in a few retail stints at The Gap and Eddie Bauer before going off to the University of Illinois. For spending money and sorority costs while in college, Debbie began working in the local restaurant/bar scene and eventually moved up to a fine dining steakhouse. There she began to expand her knowledge and love of gourmet food and growing interest in fine wines.
After college, she began her longtime employment under independent restaurateur Steve Byrne at the highly rated Bistro Banlieue, left for a short time to oversee Emilio Gervilla’s La Perla banquet operations, and returned to manage the Bistro in 1993, quickly moving up to GM. There she dutifully ran the restaurant’s operations until a little spot in Wheaton became available, and she and her husband Todd took the leap to open Adelle’s on February 29, 2004. Throughout those ten and a half years managing the Bistro, she took classes under Patrick Fagan at The Chicago Wine School, grew her huge cookbook collection, spent time entertaining family and friends, got married, and even squeezed in a vacation or two.
That brings us back to Adelle’s…everyone asks, “Where did the name Adelle’s come from?” “Are you Adelle?” Well, sort of…I’m the “D”. Adelle’s is an acronym of family members’ first name initials and it represents how Adelle’s considers its guests and staff dynamic. It is Debbie and Todd’s goal to create a warm and inviting atmosphere, with a staff of seasoned professionals of the industry, which serves delicious approachable dishes. Adelle’s varied menu includes some of the home cooking you remember from childhood but pumped up a notch, some dishes you may never want to attempt at home, and a few special occasion, holiday and wine dinner events sprinkled throughout the year. If you add up the staff’s years of experience in the industry, it totals into the hundreds, and it is everyone at Adelle’s desire that that knowledge shines through with each guest’s visit. Adelle’s family is ready and waiting to attend to your family.
Although opening an independent operation in a sea of corporate competition is challenging and worrisome, Debbie and Todd have added more guests who they now consider family, been able to host many special memorable banquets, achieved the highest ratings of the area restaurants, and more importantly, the respect and satisfaction of their clientele and community.
When Debbie and Todd can get a little free time, Debbie still enjoys cooking and entertaining friends and family, they relax at home with their two four-legged children, Taz & Dixie; or try the latest Chicagoland “hot spot” with friends. But these days when Debbie has a taste for chicken croquettes, she asks Adelle’s talented Chef to make them.