Restaurants sure seem to come and go in this area. I guess you could say when kitchen opens, another one closes. That said, we do have some stalwarts in our area, like The Chew Chew, Mollie's, La Barra, Connie's Mother's Day and Village Pub to name a few. However, what we don't have is a good steak house.
I can remember when local steak houses were the best in dining for a fine meal. Order a shrimp cocktail, steak (your choice of cut), a salad and a baked potato and you were set.
In Lyons on Ogden Avenue there was Mangam's Chateau, which was a family favorite. I can remember my parents ordering a chateaubriand for two and thinking it was the neatest thing, and in my child's mind very romantic. I could hardly wait until I would go on a date and we would enjoy a steak for two. It didn't happen, but Husband Joe and I will share a meal now and then.
Across the street from Mangam's (which is where the McDonald's is on Ogden Avenue), and probably the last steak house in the area was Alfie's, owned by the Lattis family. Their steaks and chops were the best and reasonably priced. I do remember they would occasionally have lamb chops. It was always best to call ahead so as not to be disappointed. It was also where the now defunct Riverside Kiwanis held their meetings.
Also on Ogden near Mangam's was Mr. U's, so named because it was owned by the Uzebal family, pardon the spelling. Don't remember much about it except they had a daughter who went to Nazareth when I was there, and she played basketball.
Over on Harlem Avenue, around 30th street was Richard's Restaurant, owned by a Riverside family. They had good food and pleasant atmosphere, but met an untimely demise.
In September 1964, Richard's was bombed by someone who threw dynamite on the roof. A Chicago Tribune article at the time said one employee was hurt and 100 diners were sent scrambling for safety. I remember being on the phone with someone who lived across from the restaurant and feeling the explosion.
The article said restaurants owned by the family (the Berwyn bombing was the third incident involving the Richard's chain) might have been targeted because the owner had appeared before a 1958 Senate committee investigating organized crime.
There are still a few steak houses around but tastes and eating trends have changed. Franchises have entered the picture and personalities lend their names to attract customers.
Sure, we can cook a steak on the grill at home but it isn't the same. Beside, then I have dishes to do.