By Bob Uphues
If you have a hankering for Bohemian food and don't want to make it yourself, you're going to have to seek it outside of Riverside.
Last month, Little Bohemia Restaurant at 25 E. Burlington St. in downtown Riverside, closed its doors after a 34-year run, that last 27 under the most recent owner. The closure follows on the heels of the Riverside Restaurant closing on Harlem Avenue last spring, severing the last local culinary link with the village's once-powerful Czech and Slovak heritage.
Little Bohemia's owner reportedly sought to sell the business in order to retire from the long hours required by the restaurant business. The downtown stalwart will be replaced by Michael's Pancake House, which will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner – in the great tradition of Chicago diners, it'll serve breakfast items all day – seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
"We're known for our Denver omelet, with ham, onion, green peppers and cheese," said Orlando Guadalupe, who will manage the restaurant in partnership with his father, Miguel.
It'll be the second location of Michael's Breakfast House, following in the footsteps of the original location in south suburban Worth, which has been in operation for almost two decades.
The Riverside restaurant will have the same menu as the Worth location, said Guadalupe. That menu, as you might expect, is heavy on traditional diner breakfast classic like omelets, skillets, pancakes and waffles and a half dozen variations on Eggs Benedict.
The menu also includes about a dozen chicken sandwiches, burgers and other classic diner sandwiches, like clubs, tuna salad, ham and cheese and more. There are also several salad selections.
While the Worth location is more breakfast/lunch/brunch, the menu also includes dinner items that will also be served in Riverside, like catfish, roast chicken, pork chops, steak, shrimp and breaded veal cutlets.
Guadalupe said there's no firm opening date yet for the Riverside restaurant, but he said he hoped it might be able to open its doors early in February. The family is making updates to the existing restaurant to make sure it's up to code.
It's no accident that the Guadalupe family chose Riverside to open a second location for Michael's Pancake House. The family lives in Brookfield and Orlando is a graduate of Lyons Township High School.
"We've been searching for a space, and as soon as we saw the one in Riverside, we knew," Guadalupe said. "Riverside has always been known for their hospitality. Once you get in, the community comes together."
The restaurant, which has room to serve about 40 customers, brings to the village's downtown, something it hasn't had for many years – a full-service restaurant that serves breakfast.
It'll also be located close to the downtown Riverside Metra stop, making it a convenient spot for commuters to get a bite to eat and a cup of coffee before hopping on the train for work.