My niece and nephew developed a taste for gelato when I took them to London this summer so I asked on a travel board where to find the best gelato in Chicago and someone suggested Freddy's Pizzeria. We all piled in the car for a trip to Cicero, ordered our pizzas and waited in the attached dining area which you have to go back outside in order to get to.
The clerk that waited on us was very nice and patient as we tried to figure out 1st what kind of pizza we were having and then again as we were trying to pick out our gelato.
My brother in law asked me what the difference was between gelato and ice cream and all I could manage was that it tastes better. Now I know that gelato has less fat, typically more egg yolks and more milk but less cream and no air added so it has a richer creamier taste. Ice cream has air added making it less dense, easier to scoop and melts quicker.
Favorite Dish: We ordered a couple of pizzas, a thin crust sausage and pepperoni and a thicker pan pizza with black olives, mushrooms and sausage. I had the thin crust, the pan pizza looked like too much bread to me, the pizza was very good.
Then onto the reason we were there, the gelato! They were nice enough to let us sample a few before choosing, I got a combination of tiramisu and a chocolate hazelnut, it had a fancy Italian name but I don't remember what it was. I loved the tiramisu, the chocolate hazelnut was good but next time I'll go for the dolce latte if they have it. They also have Italian ice in a variety of flavors.
In addition to the pizza, you can also get a variety of pre cooked Italian favorites and they also have a small Italian grocery and deli.
Many of restaurants in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs are like taking a step back in time and Klas, a Czech restaurant in the heart of Cicero, is one of those restaurants. I imagine the restaurant is pretty much the same decor as when it was opened, the Bavarian style decor with wood chandeliers and cuckoo clocks, the dark wood lodge like bar.
Opened in 1922, this was reportedly a hangout of mobster Al Capone in the days when he lived in Cicero, there's a small case when you enter the restaurant with some information about him.
If they're aren't too busy, you can poke around into some of the banquet halls, all uniquely decorated.
Favorite Dish: I selected the tenderloin budwies, pork dipped in a potato batter and then fried, very good. The others ordered sauerbraten and goulash and were equally satisfied. The entrees are sizable, I took 1/2 of mine home and everyone seems to leave with a carryout container.
The meals start off with a choice of soup and a garden salad along with rye bread and the entrees come with a choice of two sides (dumplings, sauerkraut, cabbage or fresh vegetable), topped off with a dessert choice of kolachky (cookies), apple streudel or pudding. All this for around $10 a person, very reasonable!
Scene : First few miles of Route 66 through the Chicago suburbs.
"So what do you think of our first new town then ?"
"Oh, I loved Chicago, such life to it, great city"
"I'm not talking about that place, we are now in Cicero"
"News to me, I've seen no countryside"
"Well its where Al Capone moved to when he was forced out of Chicago"
" Looks nice enough to me"
"I guess Al and the boys thought that, although they were probably more interested in the networks of tunnels for that moonshine under the streets rather than anything else. Some of those bootleg runs are quite likely to be directly under us now"
"You'll be thinking about a beer soon then"
" True enough, but we'll get a few miles in first. Something else - I saw a report recently that the local mayor round here brought in a law forcing out known gang members. They get fined 300 dollars a day if they don't go"
"But that will just move the problem, not solve it"
"Well that's NIMBYism in the extreme for you, you know, Not In My BackYard"
As we trailed through Cicero looking for the next stage on the interstate the images of the 1930's gangster days seemed to fill our imaginations - sharp suited thugs in cars with running boards careering around the next corner seemed to be a possiblity.
Then we found the interstate - daydream over.
P.S The Mayor brought in these laws was later, in a wonderful twist of irony, found to be guilty of taking out over 12 millon dollars out of the towns' coffers when she was in charge.