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Gone but not forgotten - Golden Ox, Zum (longish)

  • b
  • bryan Aug 8, 2001 04:04 AM

Speaking with my sister the other day and deciding on when and where to celebrate our mutual birthday she sighed and said, "God, I miss the Golden Ox." And in regarding that statement I began to think about long gone german food. Where the umpah or zither is playing. Where the waitresses actually wear those goofy-sexy outfits and don't mind serving the 4th drink 'cause they know the tip is going to pay the gas bill. And hell, the customers are usually fun and eat a lot. Zum Deutche Eck was sorta/kinda that place but the owner was an SOB. Places that gave you a relish tray; let you take your time; overfed and watered you and you still kept coming back for more, more, more. I would just adore finding a place like that to surprise her with. (She's a true meat and spatzel lover). But short of hopping the Amtrack and going to Karls in Milwaukee - I'm stumped. Please do not say the Brauhause on Lincoln - I had an ugly, ugly steak tartar experience there and will not be returning. Any ideas? Being dumpling deprived isn't pretty.

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  1. you might want to check:

    Resi's Bierstube
    2034 W. Irving Park Rd.
    773-472-1749

    I personally haven't eaten there, but have enjoyed a pleasant bevarage in their garden/patio while others helped themselves and enjoyed the sort of food you are looking for

    1 Reply
    1. re: zim

      FYI the kitchen at Reisi's is closed mondays. i went intending to eat on a monday night and was sadly disappointed! (although i enjoyed a beer on their back patio which is quite pleasant.)

    2. c
      Cliff Abrams

      Sorry, i can't remember the actual names of any of these places, but you might try the Lincoln Square area (that little shopping area tucked in between Lincoln Ave and Lawrence). There seemed to be a couple interesting looking places there. There's also a somewhat new Czech place that may serve similar kinds of spaetzel-accompanied dishes. Good luck, and be sure to report back if anything turns out worthwhile.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cliff Abrams

        I've already been on in it in Lincoln Square and that's right were the Brau Hause is - the aformentioned tartar incident as it shall henceforth be called. Sadly there's nothing to be culled there rest. wise. Deli is an entirely different story. Meyers makes a weiss sausage that's positively orgasmic. Good prices on German wines too.

      2. bryan,

        I'll get back to you... my German friend was just telling me about a place...

        1. I like Resi’s a lot, as much for the beer and atmosphere as for the food. The cooking is very simple but good, mostly things like schnitzel and sausages. Resi’s has probably the best Weissbier selection in the city, of no small importance in this weather.

          One place I’ve been meaning to try is Mirabell on Addison. We stopped by late one evening but they had already stopped serving food. We stayed for a few beers in the pleasant bar room, wandered around in the dining room, and took a look at the menu. Everyone at the bar, both employees and customers, was extremely friendly. The dining room was quite nice with plenty of German knickknacks. The menu was quite large with some more elaborate dishes not found at Resi’s or Chicago Brauhaus. Looks promising and it’s definitely on my list of places to try. I’d be curious if anyone has some firsthand experience with the food.

          Mirabell
          3454 W Addison
          773-463-1962

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rene G

            Mirabell. That's another one i was thinking of. Not too bad.Thanks.

          2. What I'm looking for is more of the old-school German. Been to Mirabell - yuck. Had one of the most god-awful goulashes (?) ever. Hitler would have blanched. Reisis? Been. So bar like. Just not what I have in mind. You guys are great but I'm getting the feeling that you may never have been to Golden Ox - that's the type of place I'd really like to find. Something similar to Ratszhes or Madders in Milwaukee.

            1. Try Old Prague Restaurant. It is a bit of a hike and is actually a big Bohemian restaurant, not German. Fabulous authentic cuisine in a quaint setting similar to what Golden Ox once was. It has long been a family spot for traditional fare in generous portions. There is an outdoor garden area as well. The duck is fantastic, dumplings, kraut, roast pork, svickova, all good. Go hungry.

              The bar is a trip, we were there last summer sipping cocktails and listening to a Spanish rendition of Neil Diamond's Kentucky Woman on the jukebox in a hunting lodge setting complete with stuffed pheasants staring down at us. Enjoy.

              Old Prague Restaurant
              5928 W. Cermak Road
              Cicero, IL 60804-2137
              Phone:(708)863-1106

              7 Replies
              1. re: Tara
                g
                gordon bogdansky-kucaba

                Didn't Old Prague burn down a few years back...?
                Have they rebuilt the place...?

                1. re: gordon bogdansky-kucaba

                  Mea culpa! Indeed, Old Prague is gone. The restaurant I was actually referring to is Klas. Funny thing is, I even called my uncle to find out which of the places we were at last summer. Both have been venues for family weddings, funerals and anniversaries for MANY years. Sorry for the error. Visit the link below to see the remarkable facade of this gem.

                  Klas Restaurant
                  5734 W Cermak Rd
                  Cicero, IL 60804-2130
                  Phone: (708) 652-0795

                  Image: http://members.nbci.com/travelonline/...

                  1. re: Tara

                    Well, I just opened my message and note that the image I attempted to attach did not work and an advert was inserted. Apologies, do not know what happened...

                    1. re: Tara
                      g
                      gordon bogdansky-kucaba

                      I too, have liked the food at Klas... and the decor makes me feel like I'm in Prague Castle. Actually, many Bohemian food items are similar to German ones. There are many similarities across ethnic lines among east european contries. You can get breaded pork tenderloin or Prague tenderloin in Bohemian restaurants that is much like a schnitzel. But if one is a purist, and it *has* to be German... well, I can understand that too.
                      BTW, we lost the Pilzner restaurant on Cermak near Oak Park Ave, and the Dumpling House on Harlem changed hands, or something, and wasn't quite as good as it used to be the last time I was there. Bohemian Crystal, in Westmont still kicks butt... a *great* place...~!

                      1. re: gordon bogdansky-kucaba

                        Gordon - A little more info on Bohemian Crystal if you please? Thanks.

                        1. re: bryan
                          g
                          gordon bogdansky-kucaba

                          The food at Crystal is of the same high quality and authenticity as that of the many Czech restauraunts that used to populate the Cermak Rd. corridor in Cicero and Berwyn... and probably a bit better. It's a tad more upscale, compared to the old store-front places with formica tables and tiled floors, and the entrees may be a buck or so more than in the old places, but still quite economical. Waitstaff, many of whom are Czech, dress in traditional Czech garb to add to the ambiance, and you can find a nice white German or Czech wine in addition to the traditional Czech, German, and American beers.
                          My brother, a Bohemian Roast Duck maven, gave Crystal's duck a thumbs up. My late aunt, a Svicova lover, approved of their rendition of that classic Czech dish. I've had the breaded pork tenderloin several times, and found it equal to that of my Bohemian grandma. The bread dumplings were the light, fluffy gravy sponges that the Czechs are famous for. And of course, every dinner concludes with Kolacky or sometimes strudel. Not light fare, by any means... and in quantities guaranteed to force folks to loosen their belts a notch after dinner. But, especially when it's a piece of your heritage, or even if it isn't... it's great food, and very reasonably priced.

                          Bohemian Crystal
                          639 N. Blackhawk Dr. (just north of Ogden Ave.)
                          Westmont, IL
                          630.789.1981

                          1. re: gordon bogdansky-kucaba

                            Hello, I am just visiting here from Europe and I read your e-mails, interesting. Do you know where I can order Zwetschenknoedel? This is a Viennese desert, it is dumplings filled with prunes, or plums, or other fruits.
                            Love to hear from you -
                            Inga

                2. Has anyone been to the Metro Club? I read an intiguing article about this Austrian restaurant recently. I think it was in the Reader, but they don't put all their restaurant columns on line, so I can't be sure.

                  It's a family run place. The parents are natives of Austria, Mom does the cooking. Dad used to be a musician and still hauls out the accordian now and then. It sounded like a pretty old country kind of place.

                  Metro Club
                  3032 N. Lincoln

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jamie

                    Came across this blog while researching a long gone local muscian that played at the Golden Ox. When the Metro closed their doors in 2005 or so, that was it as far as any German restaurant food is concerned in the chicago area.It's all over folks. These people are gone but not forgotten (r.i.p. "Beppo", owner of the Metro). Laschetts may have a glimmer of hope, but it's a bar, and Gunther and Helmut have been replaced by Juan and Jose. The Brauhaus ??? You might as well save your money and hit the street with a pooper- scooper. None of the aformentioned restaurants are any good. They survive because of younger palatial adventurers,(probably one-time customers), and or, people with unsophisticated taste buds. I have been eating out for over 30 years, mainly in Chicago, but have traveled to over 70 cities across the counrty. NOTHING STILL BEATS CHICAGO in my opinion.

                  2. Edelweiss, on Irving Park in the Norridge area, between Halem and Cumberland, pretty much fits the bill.
                    Have not been there in a while.

                    1. It is always nice to hear about the Golden Ox in Chicago although it has been closed for some time. I used to work there as the chef from Jan 1072 to Fall in 1978. Made many friends there including my dear friend Fred Sinn, the owner of the GO. Just by coincident, I come across many blogs and writings about the Golden Ox. Even one time I bought a book in Cairo Egypt and in one paragraph it was written about the Cream of Mushroom Soup on Saturdays. Made me feel great since I introduced this soup back in my days at the GO.
                      I I am German but live now in Italy. Will never forget this part of my life and all the good friends at the Golden Ox back then.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: thomas0124

                        Nice to hear from you, Thomas! If you ever get back to Chicago, you should go visit the area where the restaurant was located, around North and Clybourn. It has been redeveloped; you wouldn't even recognize it! There are lots of new "big box" stores like Crate & Barrel and Whole Foods, and condos, and the strip north of there along Clybourn is an entertainment district with Goose Island (brewpub), movie theaters, lots of restaurants, etc. If you go into Google Maps and use the "street view" function (clicking on the little orange man) you can see 360-degree photography of the area.

                        Hope you're enjoying your retirement!

                        1. re: nsxtasy

                          Thanks for the reply
                          I know that the area has changed a lot. Have been back there a few years ago and also have looked at Google Maps with the little orange man, amazing! Lots of Chicago History has been written there in that neighborhood. Thought about writing a book and include my memories of the Golden Ox. It was one of the favorite meeting places of Chicago Politicions and also of the Chicago Hoods. The Chicago Bears used to come regularly and Mike Ditka was there every Monday when he was in town.
                          Again thanks

                        2. re: thomas0124

                          Tom this is nick we use to work together in 72-74 great memories my friend, we miss Helen, Helen Sinn, Fred Sinn, Hinz and Carl the bartenders

                          1. re: Nick1953

                            Hello Nick 40 years is a long time. I sort of remember you, think you worked in service, Be so kind and remind me what you were doing then.

                            Yes, these were some of my best memories and the names you mentioned are not all. So many good people worked or came to this place.

                            Looking forward hearing from you again. Thomas

                            1. re: thomas0124

                              Yes I worked in service I was the young boy from Yugoslavia, also my brother came along to work with me and we also lived upstairs .

                              1. re: Nick1953

                                Dear Nick
                                I remember well. It is interesting how the internet works after all these years.
                                Look at my profile, I have included my email address. Please write to me from your email so we can exchange some memories etc away from this forum. I like to hear how you and your brother are doing. Do you still live in Chicago?
                                All the Best
                                Thomas

                                1. re: thomas0124

                                  Hi Thomas I can't seem to get your email but here is mine cermakllc@hotmail.com, yes we are still in Chicago

                        3. Actually I am specifically interested in hearing about the German restaurants in Lincoln Square---was thinking of taking out-of-town guests there. Have never been. No?