Bohemian Cafe In Omaha
Czech Heritage Communities In the U.S.
If you like a hearty, satisfying Czech style meal like we do, head to one of these Czech heritage communities across the United States.
Millions of people with Czech/Slovakian/Bohemian heritage immigrated to the United States over the last 100+ years and happily, their cultural influence still remains strong today.
This is particularly true in several Czech heritage communities, where large numbers of people with Czech heritage continue traditional customs and celebrate their ancestry.
Here are a few of our favorite Czech heritage communities across the United States. In these communities, you'll find some of the best Czech restaurants outside of Prague! We'll spotlight some individual restaurants in a moment, but first, here's where to start your exploration ...
Chicago: Chicago is one of the most multi cultural cities on the planet, with enclaves of numerous cultures scattered around the city and suburbs. Interestingly, there is practically a neighborhood for just about every nation and culture you can imagine.
Just west of the city, a short 20 minute drive, are the bungalow suburbs of Cicero, Berwyn, Stickney, and Brookfield. These are some of Chicago's original suburbs, dating back 80 years or more.
These four communities, particularly Berwyn and Brookfield, have large numbers of people with Czech heritage.
Cedar Rapids: Cedar Rapids boasts a large Czech community. Until their devastating flood a few years ago, a small historical Czech Village shopping and dining area was a popular attraction just south of the downtown area.
Thankfully, some of the businesses have reopened as this wonderful small Iowa city continues to rebound.
Nebraska: Several cities in the Cornhusker State have large Czech populations and festivals celebrating the Czech culture. One in particular is the small town of Wilber, about 25 miles west of Lincoln. The downtown is a literal Czech village with shops, a bakery, and the wonderful Hotel Wilber, complete with a restaurant specializing in Czech and Bohemian cuisine.
Other cities in Nebraska are both Lincoln and Omaha. The marvelous Bohemian Cafe, pictured above, is located just south of downtown Omaha.
Texas: The great state of Texas is big on, well, just about everything! And Czech heritage thrives here, mostly in the Hill Country but also in other small towns like Bend and Victoria scattered around the state. Next to the Chicago area, Texas probably has the largest concentration of people of Czech heritage in the country.
A Few Of Our Favorite Czech Restaurants
We're not exactly sure how many Czech restaurants there are in the United States, but we do know the ones we've tried are really really good!
Here are a few of our personal favorites ...
Bohemian Crystal, Westmont IL: Bohemian Crystal (pictured above) is a favorite of not only the Czech community in west suburban Chicago, but just about everyone who eats there.
Portions are large, the food is lovingly prepared, prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is fun and festive. The roast pork platter is one of the best you'll find anywhere, and the desserts are well worth saving room.
Westmont is about 35 minutes west of the city, about 15 minutes west of the Czech communities of Berwyn and Brookfield we mentioned above. Like most Czech restaurants, they're not open late ... usually until 8 p.m. so plan to get there early.
Learn more about Bohemina Crystal at http://www.bohemiancrystal.net .
Al's Blue Toad, Cedar Rapids Iowa: We are really rooting for this place, not just because the food and atmosphere are great, but because of the circumstances surrounding the restaurant.
For many years, Cedar Rapids offered visitors a quaint area called Czech Village, located just south of downtown. A few years ago, a devastating flood hit the city, and Czech Village's shops and restaurants all but disappeared. Buildings were damaged and businesses were forced to close.
Al's Blue Toad is the reincarnation of the former Zindrick's Restaurant, a staple for great Czech food for decades. Thankfully, the new owners worked at Zindrick's and have carried on the tradtions. The food here is fabulous and reasonably priced. We enjoyed huge portions of chicken paprika and Czech goulash for about $9 each.
The Czech Village area in Cedar Rapids is slowly rebounding. We don't know if some of the businesses will ever reopen, but in the meantime, check out Al's Blue Toad any time you're traveling through Iowa. See their menu at: http://www.bluetoadcr.com
Old Prague Restaurant, Vermillion OH: I'm not sure which we like best, the picturesque Lake Erie harbor town of Vermillion, Ohio or Old Prague Restaurant which is located in the historic downtown area.
I suppose it's a little of both. Vermillion is about 40 minutes west of Cleveland and roughly an hour east of Toledo. The town is tucked along a harbor facing Lake Erie and there's a beautiful public beach to grab some sun and while away a few hours.
There are numerous shops and a few great places to grab a cold beer while enjoying the lake breezes. For dinner, walk into the downtown and have dinner at Old Prague.
This restaurant is celebrating 40 years in business and with good reason. The food here is fantastic and people come from miles around to enjoy meals. Try the roast duck duck or svickova, or for a change of pace enjoy the fresh Lake Erie perch. They have live piano music on the weekends, and plenty of beer on tap. Learn more at: http://www.oldprague.com
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