Tag Archives: Bohemian Cafe

Czech, Please

August 26, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Omahans received a shock in early May when they learned yet another longtime local restaurant would shutter its doors. Soon after Terry Kapoun and his family announced they were closing Bohemian Cafe, old and new faces alike began packing the Omaha landmark to savor one last gravy-slathered bite of classic Czech comfort food.

In recent months, the restaurant has served hundreds of meals each day. On Father’s Day, lines snaked out the door, resulting in 600 plates of food coming out of the kitchen. Letters and phone calls have poured in from fans around the country wanting to share memories of the cafe.

“It’s just amazing,” Terry says of the outpouring. “It brings tears to your eyes.”

Several visitors have driven or flown hundreds of miles to slide into a booth and dig into one of the cafe’s signature dumplings before it closes on Sept. 24. The closing is partly due to dwindling customers and aging owners.

Czech immigrant Louie Macala opened the business in 1924, in a space just north of its current location at 13th and William streets. The cafe, later owned and operated by Josef and Ann Libor (Kapoun’s grandparents), moved to its present spot in 1959.

In 1966, Terry’s parents—Mert and Robert Kapoun—took over, followed by Terry and his siblings: Bob, Ron, and Marsha. Bob tends the bar while Marsha hosts and oversees the office. Terry makes dumplings and fixes anything that breaks. Ron has served as head chef for 37 years.

Customer favorites include tender roast pork, duck, and beef; sweet-and-sauer cabbage; Czech goulash; and kolaches. Servers clad in traditional Czech-style outfits offer baskets of light rye bread—perfect for dunking into a cup of liver dumpling soup.

For many guests, the restaurant’s appeal goes beyond its food. They appreciate the old-world charm, friendly service, and distinctive decor. Ceramic floral tiles, bright blue paint, and an arched doorway greet visitors. A sign reads vitame vas, Czech for “we welcome you.” Inside, there are painted plates, a decanter collection, plants, and knickknacks like those you might find at grandma’s house.

The Kapoun siblings, now in their 60s, are ready to retire but want Bohemian Cafe to go on. “It’s so unique,” Terry says. “There’s nothing else like it—the atmosphere, the experience.”

Until the final day, the family will continue cranking out dumplings as fast as customers can eat them.

“It’s the people we’re going to miss,” Terry says.

Longtime customer Cindy Findeis is sad to see the restaurant close. Findeis grew up in Carter Lake, Iowa, and has come to the cafe since she was a young girl. Now living in North Platte, Nebraska, she and her husband, Tim, happily drive five hours to eat there as often as possible. “It’s well worth it,” she says.

The cafe has been like home for the Findeis and their family, a place to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions.

“It has a special place in our hearts,” she says. “There’s a lot of memories.”

Visit bohemiancafe.net for more information. Sixty-Plus in Omaha

Bohemian-Cafe

Obviously Omaha

June 29, 2016 by
Bohemian Cafe

Bohemian Cafe

Outdoor Adventure Center

Outdoor Adventure Center

Farmers' Markets

Farmers’ Markets

Alpine Inn

Alpine Inn

Farnam House Brewing Company

Farnam House Brewing Company

Omaha's Original Greek Festival

Omaha’s Original Greek Festival

APPRECIATE
Omaha’s Czech community will lose a cornerstone of culinary heritage with the shuttering of the Bohemian Cafe (1406 S. 13th St.) scheduled for September. Enjoy dining on their signature plum dumplings, svickova, goulash, hasenpfeffer, and kolaches while you still can. Closure of the south Omaha staple is the latest in a trend affecting many of the city’s most historic restaurants.

PADDLE
Escape the sweltering heat by river. The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Outdoor Venture Center (OVC) offers affordable canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddle board rentals. Paddling from Schramm Park to Louisville State Recreation Areas is a mild 5.6-mile trip that takes roughly 2.5 hours on the Platte River. The OVC also rents camping equipment for those heading to the Niobrara River or other far-off destinations.

FORAGE
Summer is the season for farmers’ markets. Support local agriculture and artisanal vendors all across the metro area: Saturdays in the Old Market, Benson, Village Point, and Bellevue; Sundays at The Florence Mill and in Aksarben Village; Wednesdays at Charles Drew Health Center Market in North Omaha, and in Papillion; Thursdays on Council Bluffs’ Main Street; and Saturdays and Wednesdays in Plattsmouth.

GO WILD
The Alpine Inn feeds deep-fried dinner scraps to wild raccoons once daily outside their restaurant, 10405 Calhoun Rd. The feeding frenzy is not set by clock time; rather, the feast begins once customers’ leftovers fill a 5-gallon bucket. Raccoons linger impatiently opposite a large glass windows before and after evening meals.

DRINK

Farnam House Brewing Company’s Bière de Garde won a silver medal at the 2016 World Beer Cup in May. The once-every-two-years event—billed as “the most prestigious beer competition in the world”—featured 6,596 beers from 1,907 breweries and 55 countries. The only other Nebraska brewery to medal was Lincoln’s Ploughshare Brewing Co. Bière de Garde means “beer for keeping” in French, and Farnam House keeps the farmhouse-style ale on tap year-round.

CELEBRATE
Remember to say, “Opa!” and head to St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church (St. Mary Ave. & Park Avenue) for Omaha’s Original Greek Festival on August 19-21. Authentic Greek music, culture, food, and alcohol await. Adult entry costs $3, and the event is free for children under age 12, students, military, police and fire department staff.