The chicken schnitzel was one of Rebekah Heitzler’s favorite things to order at the DRM Cafe and Deli in St. Charles.
That restaurant closed in February, but Heitzler was enjoying the dish again at Bella European Bistro, the newest venture from the owners of DRM Cafe and Deli. Bella European Bistro recently opened in the former JC Sake sushi restaurant at 3843 E. Main St., near the Target store.
“It’s perfectly breaded and definitely has the German traditional gravy,” Heitzler of St. Charles said of the chicken schnitzel. “I just like European food.”
DRM Cafe and Deli, which had been open since 2017, was known for its authentic Polish and German food. Opening Bella European Bistro, husband and wife Dan and Joanna Migo, who live in St. Charles, expanded on DRM Cafe and Deli’s menu.
“If you think of DRM as like the cool brother from New York, Bella is like the sister that kind of jet sets to Europe and lives in Paris and goes to Spain and Greece on the weekend,” Joanna Migo said. “It’s a little bit of each country kind of dressed up.”
Dan Migo was born in Poland. Joanna Migo is Mexican and Italian.
Pierogies, which were a signature dish at DRM Cafe and Deli, are on the menu at Bella European Bistro.
Customers have many items to choose from, such as baked baguettes, as well as gourmet sandwiches and burgers. There’s the Bella burger, an 8-ounce patty layered with caramelized onion bacon compote, Gruyere cheese, blue cheese and arugula.
Entrees include beef stroganoff, beef stuffed cabbage roll and smoked polish sausage.
Those craving something sweet after their meal will find a variety of European pastries.
Bella European Bistro will have imported European wines and beers.
The couple originally planned to operate both restaurants but determined it would have been too much to take on, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dan Migo also operates Halina Residential Home Care Services in St. Charles with his mother, Halina.
Restaurants and bars recently were allowed to have indoor seating again – with limited capacity – as COVID-19 restrictions loosened in the state.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday for lunch. It plans to soon be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday for lunch and dinner.
The new restaurant’s menu continues to expand. Pizza soon will be added to the menu.
“Our pizza won’t just be Italian,” Joanna Migo said. “There will be German-style pizza, as well as Spanish-style pizza and Greek-style pizza. It will be something really unique that you can’t really get anywhere else.”
When the weather gets warmer, customers will be able to enjoy their food outside on the restaurant’s patio.
Bella has seen a steady stream of customers since it opened earlier this month.
“We have a large following coming from DRM,” she said. “And so that really helped.”
Restaurants continue to have capacity restrictions because of the pandemic. The restaurant follows all of the safety guidelines for restaurants outlined by the Illinois Department of Health and the Illinois National Restaurant Association, including continuously running an air purifier to keep the air in the space filtered and wiping down all tables, countertops, credit card devices, keypads and other items that are routinely touched using recommended disinfectants.
For those not yet ready for indoor dining, curbside pickup and takeout is available. The restaurant plans to start offering delivery service through DoorDash.
The restaurant has a new executive chef, but customers more than likely also will see Dan Migo in the kitchen.
Migo, who has an extensive background as a chef, has been cooking since he was a kid.
“I think I fried my first egg when I was 6 years old,” he said. “I’ve always been drawn to the kitchen. … I always see what the food should look like in the end without even touching a knife. So I already have a vision of what it should look like before I even touch anything. I have a foreshadowing of what I’m going to create.”
The couple is thankful for the support that DRM Cafe and Deli received and appreciate the warm reception that Bella European Bistro is getting.
“We love the community, and the community really supported us,” Joanna Migo said. “It’s great to see that they really are excited about Bella.”
Information is available at Bella European Bistro’s website, bellaeurobistro.com.