Littell said she and Stuart, who died in 2019, bought a house in Plainfield “because we wanted a bunch of kids and we wanted them to go to Plainfield schools and be close to the restaurant,” she said.
But although the couple had the house, they could not afford the house, she said.
“The house was completely bare, no furniture for years and years,” Littell said. “We just got super creative. We decorated with the kids’ artwork. We loved it but it was embarrassing when people came over. There was nowhere to sit. We sat on the floor; we ate on the floor.”
When the building next door to Moe Joe’s became available, the couple bought it because the restaurant had grown to the point of expansion, Little said.
“So we kept growing it and accumulating debt,” Littell said. “Finally we got the debt paid off. We have a little money now.”
She also recalled the time when she took out a loan to keep Moe Joe’s going when Lockport street was shut downtown Plainfield was remodeled, she said.
Littell can’t imagine parting with Moe Joe’s.
“It becomes a crazy was of life that’s addicting. I love it,” Littell said. “I love people and I love seeing them happy and I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they want your food and your drinks and they’re having the time of their lives. You get to create that atmosphere. I can’t picture life any other way.”
When Littell hands people their carryout bag she keeps the atmosphere lighthearted; she imagines their smiles as they drive away.
Her two older children, ages 16 and 14, help care for the two younger children, ages 6 and 3, so Littell can keep working ,she said.
“They’ve been a big help,” she said.
Many people don't understand that some restaurants, such as Moe Joe's, don't make profits on the food; they make them at the bar, with drinks sold by the glass: the draft beer and "all those crazy drinks we make," Littell said.
"That's where the profit it," Littell said. "The passion is behind the food. But as long as we can sustain ourselves to get through this, we'll be OK."