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Dec 18, 2002 07:46 PM

Croatian Bakeries and Krempita

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Can anyone recommend a good Croatian or Serbian bakery in Chicago or West 'burbs? I'm trying to find the best krempita in Chicago. I used to get it at the Golden Shell in South Chicago but they are long gone.

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  1. Ed,
    Re: South Chicago
    There was a post a couple of months ago from someone who doesn't post often about a Croatian restaurant/bar on Commercial Avenue. ("Rich Tradition", if you are reading this, maybe you can help with more suggestions). The link is below and the post contains another link to an article describing this place.

    I just called "Casino" up and they confirmed that they have krempita (presumably homemade). They seem to be an all-day operation and so it might be possible to just stop in for coffee and cake. The address listed on the post seems to be reversed: I think that it may be 9607 instead of 9706. Do check again.


    Do the Serbs eat krempita as well? Is that how they call it too? There are a good dozen Serbian restaurants in the city plus at least 2 smokehouse/delis. It might be easier to track down a Serbian rather than a Croatian version.


    Just out of curiosity, where WAS the Golden Shell? Was this Croatian? Is there still a Croatian community in that area?



    9 Replies
    1. re: RST

      >Re: South Chicago
      >There was a post a couple of months ago from someone >who doesn't post often about a Croatian >restaurant/bar on Commercial Avenue.
      Thanks for the pointer. I'll be around there Sunday so mabye I can check it out.
      >Do the Serbs eat krempita as well? Is that how they >call it too?
      I'm not sure, just guessing.
      >Just out of curiosity, where WAS the Golden Shell? >Was this Croatian?

      The Golden Shell was a Croatian restaurant/bar at 101st and Ave N. Besides the krempita, other fond memories of the GS were the 'Gypsy Meat Plate' or 'Gypsy Fish Plate' originally priced at $7 with all the sides and enough beef, lamb, sausage and pork for 3 folks. The large size was $13.
      Eventually the GS was 'discovered' by Chicago magazine. They built a big add-on dining room, raised all the prices and went downhill eventually closing up as the neighborhood changed. Even at the end, they had the best greasy breakfast in Chicago (all you want of bacon, sausage, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, bread and crepes for $3/head) and the krempita was still great.
      The Golden Shell was previously known as the Shipyard Inn and was famous for being Richard Speck's flophouse on the day after he murdered 8 nurses.

      1. re: Ed Fedora

        Hi Ed,
        How long ago did Golden Shell close? From your prices, I am guessing: early-90s? This whole part of Chicago was a Croatian neighborhood wasn't it? Where did they all go? Do you know?

        It's hard to imagine Chicago Magazine listing something this "ethnic" and this "remote" today. I think that a lot of such places were marginalized as we started seeing the boom in high-end fine-dining restaurants starting in the mid/late 80s.

        If you run into any old-time Croatians at Casino on Sunday, make sure to snoop around and find out about other Croatian places in town (delis, bakeries etc). We know that there are still a lot of Croatians in the city (there's a Croatian Cultural Center on Devon), we just don't know where they like to eat.

        And do let us know if the krempita is worth the trip!


        1. re: RST

          This whole part of Chicago was a lot of things, including Serbian and Croatian. I remember at the time that the "troubles" (only the Irish and Balkans would call war troubles) had penetrated through the national media to the local, seeing a fascinating relocation of the troubles on a Channel 11 talk show.

          When, and even before South Works closed, people moved as they generally tend to in Chicago. Out, but close by (Hegewisch or the East Side), Out, but further away (south suburbs or elsewhere, depending on employment) or further Out (depending on retirement status, to warmer climes or just more comfortable ex-urbs).

          The closing of South Works, and even more, Wisconsin Steel, undercut the entire economy of those neighborhoods. The only place you could see something resembling that would be Detroit. The residents were the detritus, the dandelion pollen, left to land where they could or would.

          It is heartening to see some things coming back.

          1. re: RST

            Stopped at Casino on Sunday. Unfortunately the only thing I can tell you is: CLOSED ON SUNDAY!
            Next time I'll check.

          2. re: Ed Fedora

            The folks who bought the Golden Shell from the original owners now have a restaurant/bar called Coach's Corner in Hammond, Ind. Unfortunately, they don't have the krem pita. But the pljeskavica hamburgers and cole slaw and potato salad are still the same. Check them out.
            Barb Rolek,

          3. re: RST

            Well, I finally made it to the Casino. It is just as advertised - a Croation restaurant with a good menu and great prices. Nothing on the menu over $10 except for the 'gypsy plates' but they are $10/person. We went on Saturday afternoon so the kitchen was on idle and we were the only customers eating. I had a 'Croatian specialty' consisting of pork chunks, onions and peppers. I don't remember the name (Michaluca?). The queen had the breaded pork. She didn't think much of it and wished she ordered the liver and onions. We also had some homemade chicken soup that was excellent. Don't touch the salt shaker, everything was pretty salty.

            Of course the whole point of the visit was to try the krempita. We were not disappointed. The krempita is as good as I remember from the Golden Shell. Much better than my amateur attempts to make it at home.

            Casino Restaurant and Lounge
            9706 S. Commercial
            (773) 221-5189
            Closed Sunday


            1. re: Efedora

              My Grandmother was the only cook at the Golden Shell that made the Krempita. She was there in the early 70's-80's. My Mother was also one of their waitresses. It's a shame they closed down and I was too young to remember the restaraunt. It is now an apartment building I believe.

              1. re: Newbomb

                What was your grandmother's name and what was your mom's name. I used to go in there ALL the time and i really miss the place. The first names will be fine :) Please also thank them for the fabulous jobs they did. I am trying to remember a waitress's name that was a really hard worker. I can't remember her first name. Thank you so much!

              2. re: Efedora

                I once remember growing up on the "Eastside" my family took me and my sisters to the "golden shell" back in the day" sorry to see it go, :'( BTW I called the number for "casino" and got a recording that it was "disconnected" could it be, it's closed down too?

            2. Try Zupa on Odgen Ave. in Lyons. They also have a restaurant with, of course, plenty of meat choices, including a gypsy meat platter.

              Sandy's deli on Montrose in Chicago also has a variety of good Serbian desserts. I would call first to see if there is krempita. I think they sell out of alot of thngs around holidays/holy days.

              3 Replies
              1. re: donna5657

                Are you thinking of Sandy's Bakery and Deli at 5857 West Lawrence Avenue?

                1. re: Eldon Kreider

                  Is there a phone number for "sandy's bakery" so I could call them?