Saying goodbye to Klas Restaurant, a landmark of the Old World

The building, with unique Old World architecture and craftsmanship, and portions mimicking the Charles Bridge in Prague, made the Landmarks Illinois List of Most Endangered Historic Places in 2021.

SHARE Saying goodbye to Klas Restaurant, a landmark of the Old World
Klas Restaurant, 5734 Cermak Rd. in Cicero, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2019. The restaurant went on the market in May and may be demolished, along with murals by Gennadi Gordevey on the walls inside.

Klas Restaurant in Cicero is shown in this file photo from August 2019. The restaurant has been demolished, but some of its mural and items were salvaged.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

The year 2022 marked 100 years that Adolph and Ella Klas started serving Czech food at their famous Klas Restaurant on Cermak Road in Cicero. Instead of a notable celebration, the building was demolished. The building, with unique Old World architecture and craftsmanship, and portions mimicking the Charles Bridge in Prague, made the Landmarks Illinois List of Most Endangered Historic Places in 2021.

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Unfortunately, efforts to save it were unsuccessful and demolition began in spring. Thanks to the salvaging skills of Jimmy Nuter of American Vintage Reclamation, many items were saved during demolition, including murals painted by my grandfather in the Zhivago Room.

On the final day of demolition, newspapers from 1928, neatly stitched together as insulation, blew away in the wind on the now-vacant lot.

The Town of Cicero lost a significant building from its Czech past, and for current residents, it was a unique place to celebrate birthdays and quinceaneras, and to use as a concert venue for local budding rock musicians.

But look ahead to the future, as both the Chicago History Museum and the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Iowa are planning exhibits featuring these salvaged pieces, as well as personal memorabilia from the Klas family.

Irene Hogstrom, Downers Grove

Donations to Lightfoot a sign of bad government

Legislation that is enacted to avoid corrupt exchanges and services between officeholders and businesses are there for a reason, yet these safeguards seem to be neglected by some lobbyists and politicians. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has received thousands of dollars from lobbyist Carmen Rossi, who owns several downtown bars that have been impervious to city-ordered closures despite several violent incidents connected to them.

According to a Sun-Times article from Dec. 2, this year Lightfoot decided to keep up to $1,000 donated by City Lake Law, a law firm associated with Rossi. This evidently (it is not clear) breaks a ban former Mayor Rahm Emanuel put into effect that prohibits lobbyists from donating any money to the incumbent mayor, even if the donations weren’t made directly in the lobbyist’s name.

Rossi acknowledged the suspicion and requested a refund to avoid problems, and as a result, Lightfoot allowed $44,500 to be returned. Aside from the $1,000 from the law firm, the remainder was donated by companies associated with the lobbyist. Neither party should be cleared of any fault in this unethical transaction, although Rossi requested a full refund. Both Lightfoot and Rossi have seen benefits come from this sketchy exchange, and they both should experience some consequences for it.

Rossi donates a large quantity to Lightfoot’s campaign, which seems to break an executive order, and in return, her administration keeps his businesses from shutting their doors in spite of various acts of violence in connection to them. Is this a government we want for the city? One that values money and business over the safety of citizens and morality of an institution?

Gianni Maldonado, Bridgeport

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