If you’ve never been to Klas in Cicero, you really should stop by, if only to see what an incredible place it is.
A relic from the day’s when this was a Bohemian (Czech) neighborhood, Klas offers some incredible dining deals on old world standards. My dinner was about 10 bucks, and included soup, salad, entrée and dessert. The soup for me was liver dumpling: a little salty but pretty good. The salad was two kinds of cole slaw and sweet/sour cabbage, an excellent foil for the entrée, which was boiled beef with dill sauce, a little sweeter than I had expected but tasty. Dessert was a capably prepared apple strudel. Now, none of this food was Michelin 3-star cuisine, but it was flavorful, solid fare, and the price cannot be beat. We had dinner early (around 6:00) and as the sun set, the stained glass windows set ablaze the room, of which my friends and I seemed to be the youngest members by about 10 years (that’s a problem: when the old crowd stops coming, what’s going to happen to this place?).
After dinner, we wandered around and found:
• The Dr. Zhivago Room, which is a wood paneled banquet hall, with thick ceiling beams, chandeliers and a series of hand-painted murals depicting scenes from Russian History. It was deeply cool, and our host told us it could be had for a buck a head (i.e., bring 25 people and there’s a $25 clean-up fee tacked on to the bill; I’m sure it’s negotiable).
• The Waterfall Room, which was really my favorite dining chamber and had a kind of faux hunting lodge feel. In the corner was a water fall that cascaded down a mountain of tiled steps; there was also a big fire place, and lots of stuffed animal life. It had its own bar and lots and lots of wood. Cozy, in an Eastern European kind of way.
• The George Washington Room (!) which was a huge, off-white banquet hall with private bar overlooking the beer garden, and huge murals of GW at Valley Forge and other locations. This place, despite bizarre murals, was a little too pedestrian…I preferred the funkier chambers like The Waterfall Room and …
• The Last Supper Room, a long chamber with gold and red stencil work along ceilings and walls and a series of five or so church-type doors leading off to tiny little rooms which, allegedly, provided locations for illicit (though by the standards of 1930’s Cicero, quite typical) liaisons. Most of the rooms now seem to hold chairs and other licit items, but there’s one room in back that still has a chaise longue and some furniture to suggest the old days of generally tolerated prostitution.
Upstairs, there’s also a room for playing cards where, the story goes, the owner of Klas played poker with Al Capone.
These rooms are all in addition to the two main dining rooms and relatively tiny dark wood bar, which the night we were there featured a guy totally knocked out and hunched over a glass of red wine. The host told us the guy comes every night and does rounds of red (Cabernet, Merlot, Chianti) until he blacks out…then he starts again.
Klas is a fun place to go eat and if I were you, I’d stop by sooner rather than later because, as the sign in front warns, “it may be later than you think.”
5734 W Cermak Rd
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