This comes from Dan Kaercher, the founding editor of Midwest Living magazine — his favorite places to eat in the Midwest. He once took an 8,000-mile, 44-day, six-meal-a-day eating tour of the Midwest for Iowa Public Television, so he’s probably better qualified than most to speak authoritatively on the matter. Among his favorites: the Jaarsma Bakery in Pella, IA, home of Dutch letters, Hamburg Inn No. 2 in Iowa City, where he enjoyed a chocolate shake with a slice of chocolate praline pecan bourbon pie blended in (!), The Bohemian Cafe of Omaha, soon to close permanently, and the spectacular fish boils at The White Gull Inn in Door County, WI. See the complete story here.
Omaha’s venerable Bohemian Cafe announced last month that they would be closing permanently on September 24th. Owner Terry Kapoun figured business might pickup over the last month or two as the reality of the closing approached, but the outpouring of love began immediately. Said Mr. Kapoun, “I can’t believe the number of people now. It’s like it was in the restaurant’s heyday.” Not that the sudden increase in business changes anything — a slowing business was only part of the reason for the restaurant’s closure. Everyone involved with the restaurant is also getting on in years. But perhaps all is not hopeless. “I’m now more optimistic that someone may keep the cafe going,” said Mr. Kapoun. Is that just the temporary glow of customer love speaking? We’ll see.
If you heard the recent disappointing news that Omaha, NE’s much-loved (but insufficiently visited) Bohemian Cafe would be permanently closing later this year, perhaps you gave thought to stopping by for one last meal, or perhaps even a first meal, before the restaurant classic disappeared forever. Starting June 1st, you’re window of opportunity narrows a bit as Bohemian has announced new hours: 3 – 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. What this means, essentially, is that the Bohemian will no longer be open for lunch; it’s dinners only, folks, until September’s closing. We suggest calling in a reservation ASAP.
We really hate to hear of a longtime restaurant classic closing its doors but we’ve long since learned that the only constant in life, especially restaurant life, is change. Which makes the 92-year run of Bohemian Cafe in Omaha, NE all the more extraordinary. That run will come to an end on September 24th, as an aging chef and staff, slowing business, and competition have combined to bring owner Terry Kapoun to his reluctant decision. Mr. Kapoun leaves open the possibility of a sale between now and September but it doesn’t sound promising. We’ll miss the kindly wait staff in old-world outfits as much as the liver dumpling soup and Czech-style sauerbraten.
Listen to the Bohemian Cafe song here.
One of the problems we have with fast-food chains is how the food’s had all traces of regionality wrung out of it. To a large extent, the success of national or global fast-food chains depends on their ability to serve the same burger and fries in Maine that’s served in New Mexico. So we think it’s interesting when we encounter a local fast-food chain serving something unique to its region, like Runza does in Nebraska. Continue reading
Joe Tess sells carp. Not for stocking the pond in your Japanese garden, but for eating. Most Americans do not consider carp much of an eating fish (although it does find its way into gefilte fish), but here in Nebraska and the surrounding states, it’s an inexpensive treat. Especially when someone else does the cleaning and cooking. Continue reading
The cheese frenchee (on some local menus you’ll see it spelled frenchie) might be the quintessential bar food: a salty, fatty, gooey, thirst-inducing snack. Invented at a now-defunct regional chain named King’s Food Host, it shows up on the fast-food menus of a few eastern Nebraska restaurants, including Don & Millie’s, a mini-chain with about half a dozen locations between Omaha and Lincoln. Continue reading