The dumplings were so light you had to put the gravy on them to keep them on the plate — one of the great things about Riverside Restaurant that we will miss.

The Stanga family will be retiring this week. The last bowl of liver dumpling soup will be served and we will miss it. The restaurant has served our family fine eating for three generations, beginning with my parents. 

Lena and Joe ate there quite often, arriving for an early dinner/late lunch so they would be assured a parking spot. My mother’s sister, Aunt Inez, came out to the restaurant often because she loved the food. I would tag along with what I called “lunch with the Pierini sisters.” 

Sometimes we were accompanied by cousin Josephine. Both sisters were great cooks. My mother made a good roast pork, but she relied on Chateau dumplings and canned sauerkraut to complete the meal.

Our children were no strangers to Riverside Restaurant — must be because they are half Czech or as my mother-in-law used to say “Botralians.” Grandchildren who have enjoyed many a meal are saddened. 

Grandson Max, who is finishing college, had to go to the restaurant every time he came home. His father broke the news to him. Great-grandson Henrik – sorry, you would have enjoyed the food. Another generation.

There was a lot about the restaurant aside from the food, like the warm atmosphere, as if you were in someone’s home and kitchen, the friendliness of the Stangas and their wait staff. There was the time that Husband Joe and I were able to enjoy the special mushroom soup. Dessert? As long as Joe could have a cheese kolacky he was happy. I always ordered red Jello with whipped cream.

I have found out we can get liver dumplings and liver dumpling soup at Josie’s in Stickney, much to the delight of son-in-law, Eric. Dumplings, of course, I can get from my friends at Chateau. We will go to Little Bohemia in Riverside, so I won’t have to cook.

Time was one could find many Czech restaurants in the area; now they are almost all gone. It’s sad to see that and to say it.

To the Stangas, happy retirement, it was a great run! I told Mary Stanga now she would have time and we could go to lunch along with another friend. How about Italian? I know just the places.