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New family-style breakfast and lunch on Carlinville square

On Mar. 18, Phil Elezi and his family re-opened the former Abella’s building as a new restaurant, titled Eni’s Cafe and Pancakes, which offers breakfast and lunch specials from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 127 South Broad Street on the Carlinville square. Enquirer~Democrat photo by Jackson Wilson.


Eni’s Cafe and Pancakes opens for business in former Abella’s building

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

Residents or visitors to Carlinville that have large appetites are in luck.

Within a town that already features a lot of history and many popular places to eat, Phil Elezi and his son, Vulnet, are determined to offer a hot spot of their own at their new Eni’s Cafe and Pancakes restaurant, located within the walls of the former Abella’s building at 127 South Broad Street just off the Carlinville town square. The business officially opened March 18.

From 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Elezi’s are cooking up many savory specialties from skillets to omelets, french toast and, of course, stacks of pancakes with bananas, strawberries, caramel, M&M’s, Oreos and much more. They also offer soups and an assortment of lunch specials, which are made fresh like all of their other menu items.

“Nobody leaves hungry here,” Elezi said. “We all need food every day and we want to make sure everyone is well fed when they come.”

Phil Elezi carries more than 30 decades of experience and is now writing this next chapter with his family.

“I want to pass this whole deal on to [Vulnet] and keep this going from generation to generation, on and on and on,” Elezi said. “It’s been successful since the time I was placed south of here in Centralia with my other son and we became very famous in pancakes.”

Although staying in touch with the standard has been rather challenging post-COVID, the Elezi’s are thankful for their entire staff that has come together.

“We definitely have the right people,” P. Elezi said of his employees. “We’re very blessed.”

P. Elezi has come to know the city of Carlinville as a “small town with a big heart.”

“I never thought I would be welcomed the way I was welcomed when we first opened,” P. Elezi said. “So, I am very pleased with how everyone has accepted us. I got to meet Mayor [Oswald], police officers and many others who just keep coming back. I was born in a small town like this and we like it that way.”

Furthermore, the Elezi’s are already making lots of other friends from surrounding communities that they never knew about until now.

The Elezi’s are additionally grateful for the support they have received from former (Abella’s) owner Melinda Huff.
“She was here right after we opened the first week,” P. Elezi said of Huff. “She’s a very nice lady and she has helped us a lot. We are trying to keep the reputation because she had been running this restaurant for quite a while.”