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Szalas: VT People at a Polish Mountain Lodge!
A small VT gathering was held in mid-March 2008 in the midst of the Polish Highlands of south Chicago, just a shout from Midway airport. Szalas Restaurant replicates the feel of a rustic mountain lodge, and though it is surrounded by Chicago bungalows and small Mexican groceries, once you get inside you feel as if you've just taken a sleigh from Krakow. (And one of the tables in the restaurant is in fact an authentic sleigh!)
I started off with an Okocim, an excellent Polish lager. For my entree, I feasted on the Highlander's Special, a heaping portion of baked chicken topped with a saucy goulash and shredded cheese. Excellent hearty fare for a cool spring evening! I was pleased to notice that our young server was a recent immigrant from Poland, and that several tables in the restaurant were taken by Polish-speakers.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
Szalas Restaurant: Polish restaurant near Midway Airport
Last visit 3/22/08
My husband was driving to Chicago and saw a van with the name of this restaurant on it so we decided to give it a try on a Friday night.
As we approached the entrance to the restaurant we saw a sign that said to pull the rope to ring bell. Since the door was locked, we laughed and followed the directions, minutes later a man dressed in what I assume is traditional Polish clothing gruffly welcomed us and showed us to a table.
The decor in the restaurant is fabulous, designed to look like you are sitting outside of a chalet complete with a water wheel in the center of the room, the room is accented with a giant keg with Polish costumes affixed to it and at least one stuffed bear. A couple of the tables are designed like sleighs and there are a couple of car/buggies hanging from the ceiling.
I've visited several times since our first visit in 2004, with VTers Robert (rmdw) and Patty (hexepatty) in December 2006, again in February 2007 to celebrate Robert's mom's birthday and most recently with VTers Yooperprof, mjb123 and riorich55 and his wife in March 2008. The service is terrific, the food is great and on weekends you might get to hear live Polish highlander music in the bar and dining room.
When you are finished with dinner, if it's before 9 pm, head across the street to Bobak's, a Polish grocery store with all kinds of Polish specialities.
Favorite Dish: I've tried the pork tenderloin served in sweet apple sauce, the pork seemed to be overcooked and the portion size not generous but the sauce had a good flavor. The highlanders special, potato pancakes topped with a beef goulash is excellent, the sliced beef with horseradish sauce is very good. David ordered the Polish plate this time, a nice sampling of Polish fare for those people who want to try a little of everything.
Szalas Restaurant: Great Polish Food, Unforgettable Ambience
Dabs and her husband took HexePatty and me here. What a find! You have to ring a bell on the front door and then wait for one of the staff to come open it. You walk into what looks like a large ski chalet except that it's not decorated like anything I've ever seen in North America. I assume the decor was link back to mountain chalets in the highlands of Poland. You'll never forget the ambience.
The staff is very friendly and efficient and the prices were quite reasonable.
P.S. Afterwards do drive a block West and check out Bobak's Polish supermarket across the street.
Favorite Dish: The food was superb! In fact, the perogies were likely the very best I've ever had ... and I've sampled a LOT in my life. I had the cabbage rolls for my main meal. They weren't as good as my mom used to make but were still quite delicious.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
This is a restaurant as Polish as they come. The entire place, inside and out is constructed to resemble the architecture of the Polish Highlanders who live in the Tatry Mountains. The food is excellent and the staff wears traditional costumes. If you can get to this place, believe me, it's worth it! Absolutely incredible, and a flashback of Zakopane in Poland (See my Zakopane page).
Favorite Dish: Potato pancakes, Golabki (ground beef, rice and seasonings rolled up in boiled cabbage in a creamy tomato sauce), Mizeria (a cucumber and cream sweet/salty salad). Everything is really good. These are just some of my favorite things to eat, and they are really good here.
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