There is a restaurant suited to curb just about any craving on Cermak Road in Berwyn. With the annual Taste of Cermak event canceled due to COVID concerns, it has become more important than ever to show some love to the array of restaurants scattered throughout “The Corridor.”
“Some people might see it as a hodgepodge of restaurants,” said Erika Corona Owens, division director of chamber services at the Berwyn Development Corporation. “But you can really see the history of Berwyn reflected in the restaurants on Cermak.”
Berwyn remains proud of its rich Czech history, and no restaurant on Cermak embraces Bohemian fare and a sense of nostalgia as earnestly as Czech Plaza, 7016 Cermak Rd. A newly constructed bar is attracting customers, but for nearly 50 years authenticity has been a key ingredient in every dish served at the cornerstone establishment.
Roast duck, Hungarian goulash and breaded pork tenderloin are among the most popular dishes, but Czech Plaza also serves many beloved yet lesser known Czechoslovakian dishes.
Czech Plaza’s version of Sví%u010Dková — sliced tender beef roast with creamy vegetable gravy and bread dumplings — is served with a bit of cranberry sauce, fresh whipped cream and lemon as tradition dictates. The rich gravy is a decadent treat well-suited to snuggling up with both the bread dumplings and tender beef.
“Our Sví%u010Dková is just like my grandma made,” said Czech Plaza owner Monika Hubackova. “We go through at least two pots every day.”
Hubackova and Chromekova never cut corners. Everything from the liver dumpling soup to the authentic kolacky are house made at Czech Plaza. The labor-intensive approach pays off in food quality, but value still abounds at the restaurant. Pop by to show support for one of the last bohemian restaurants in Chicagoland.
Looking for an Italian treat? Anthony’s Pizza, 6237 Cermak Rd., has been serving up pizza slices and other Italian fare for 34 years.
The unassuming shop relies on foot traffic and top pizzas with quality ingredients like Grande cheese and house made red sauce to keep pies flying out the door. Pizza may be the star of the show, but according to Anthony’s manager and co-owner Anthony Cosmano, there’s another dish worthy of recognition.
“Our pizza is unique because of the combination of crust, sauce and cheese,” said Cosmano. “People might not realize our Italian beef sandwich is one of the best things on our menu.”
Seasoned, thinly sliced roast beef simmered in jus, or gravy, is piled high on an Italian roll and stuffed with peppers. Anthony’s beef sandwich recipe goes back as far as the sandwich does in Chicago history. Purists will appreciate Anthony’s classic take on this iconic and slightly messy sandwich.
Cermak Road is no stranger to its fair share of well-loved Mexican restaurants, but folks looking for a seafood fix should swing by Las Islas, 6516 Cermak Rd. The independent restaurant was once part of a larger restaurant group but co-owner Angelica Gonzalas takes pride in her establishment’s approach to seafood preparation.
A generous outdoor patio welcomes guests to order a refreshing michelada to enjoy alongside tilapia ceviche and serrano chili salsa. The spicy tomato juice-based beer cocktail spiked with lime and rimmed with tamarind paste is Las Islas’ signature drink.
Just like the michelada, people eagerly order langostinos. The small crustaceans — much smaller than a lobster and larger than a crawfish – are served in the shell for an indulgent hands-on eating experience.
“The langostinos are special because of the spice blend we use on them,” said Gonzalas. “The only person who truly knows the recipe is my husband, Noe. We have many requests to bottle up the spices and sell them.”
No matter if you have filled up on Bohemian fare, Italian beef or an array of Mexican seafood, no visit to Cermak Road is complete without a sweet treat from La Michoacana Classic, 6533 Cermak Rd.
An assortment of ice cream, paletas and fruit drinks entice guests and draw repeat customers. Bring a pal to share their beasty banana split next time you find yourself on Cermak.
Discover more amazing Berwyn delights at OakParkEats.com/berwyn-eats