She is simply known as “Rose,” but her full name is Rose Zapletal and along with her husband, Mike, and their daughters, Michelle and Nicole, they run Rose’s Catering. 

Rose’s Catering operates out of the VFW Hall on Desplaines Avenue in North Riverside, which is home to a famous Friday night fish fry.

Rose’s story and her business had its start when she would help out her father, who was a butcher on Cermak Road in Cicero. Eventually she opened her own restaurant on Cermak Road, Chateau Rose, which she said was between two other well-known ethnic restaurants, Klas and Old Prague. 

She closed the restaurant and was sought out by former customers to do some catering and her business began to snowball, she said.

Renting the kitchen at the VFW Hall has her not only cooking for the fish fry but catering for organizations and clubs that meet there, including the Riverside Township Lions Club and the Ceska Beseda women’s group, along with private parties.

 Her staff is “just the four of us.” They get along well and don’t even mind doing the dishes. Now that’s teamwork.

They have expanded their visibility by being part of local farmers markets, starting with North Riverside in 2007. Now they are participants in both Brookfield and Riverside markets. Nothing better than going to a farmers market and coming home with dinner all ready. Comfort food at its best.

Much of the food cooked by Rose comes from recipes handed down from her mother and grandmother. She says referring to the recipes brings back memories from her childhood, which over the years she has tried to recreate and add her own touch. Included in this are her baked goods, all homemade. Once purchased pie shells are now fresh from Rose’s kitchen.

The business, which is very family-oriented, comes to a halt during the month of August when the Zapletals either have a “staycation” or go on vacation. Whichever, they are missed.

If you are interested in tasting Rose’s home cooking, I recommend you attend the fish fry on Friday evenings at the VFW Hall, 2622 Desplaines Ave., in North Riverside. 

You will have your choice of an expanded menu that doesn’t include only fish and of course a choice of desserts to enjoy with your meal or purchase to take home.

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