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Bohemian Cafe

1406 South 13th St., Omaha, NE - (402) 342-9838
Posted By Michael Stern on 5/1/2008 2:44:00 PM
When we flew into Omaha, we headed straight for South 13th Street to have dumplings and kraut at the Bohemian Café. It was three in the afternoon, but we were hungry, and one of the best things about this old-time neighborhood restaurant is that once it opens at 11am, it stays open until the last pilsner is drunk at the bar late at night.

Vitáme Vás is the house motto, meaning “we welcome you,” and in fact this is a place where all are made to feel welcome, whether you are an old-timer whose parents brought you here decades ago or a visiting fireman who wants a fun-time meal with polka music setting the beat in the dining room. It is an immensely cheerful place, a vast, multi-room eating hall decorated with colorful old-country woodwork and pictures of men and women in traditional peasant attire; tables are patrolled by veteran professional waitresses in bright red dirndl skirts.

The traditional way to begin a meal is with a cup of liver dumpling soup, which is homely and homey; we also love the plain-dumpling, chicken-stock soup that is often available as an alternate. Every meal begins with a basket of chewy sour rye bread. The big menu includes American-style steaks and seafood, a quartet of specials every day, and traditional Czech specialties. Foremost among the kitchen’s accomplishments is roast duck – half a bird with crisp skin and flavorful meat that pulls off the bone with ease. We are particularly fond of the sauerbraten, which is a stack of pot-roast-tender hunks of beef that are a joy to pull apart with the tines of a fork. We also like the Czech goulash, a vivid red, smoky pork stew. There is a large choice of side dishes, but the two for which the Bohemian Café is best known are dumplings and kraut. The former is a pair of saucer-size slices of doughy matter covered with whatever gravy your main course demands; the latter is a fetching sweet and sour mix, thick as pudding, dotted with caraway seeds. Whatever entrée you choose, it will come flanked by dumplings and kraut – an awesome presentation that is a challenge to all but the mightiest appetite.

Paper place mats remind diners that this restaurant is home of the Bohemian Girl Jim Beam commemorative bourbon bottle (there is a huge collection of Jim Beam commemoratives in the entryway); and the mats also list the lyrics to the house song, which has been used in radio advertisements:

Dumplings and kraut today
At Bohemian Café
Draft beer that’s sparkling, plenty of parking
See you at lunch, Okay?

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Veal steaks in a rich wine and mushroom sauce is a hearty substantial meal usually enjoyed by those of
"Veal steaks in a rich wine and mushroom sauce is a hearty substantial meal usually enjoyed by those of "peasant stock.""
Dale Fine





This is the normal Wednesday special.
"This is the normal Wednesday special."
Darrin Quillen


Every meal at Bohemian Cafe should start with a traditional bowl of liver dumpling soup.
"Every meal at Bohemian Cafe should start with a traditional bowl of liver dumpling soup."
Cliff Strutz


The Czech goulash features tender chunks of meat in a delicious, dark sauce.
"The Czech goulash features tender chunks of meat in a delicious, dark sauce."
Cliff Strutz


The plum dumplings are baseball-sized and come four to an order.  Although listed as an entree, this is a very sweet dish and should be treated as a dessert.  Expect a full 30-minute wait for the kitchen to make it.
"The plum dumplings are baseball-sized and come four to an order. Although listed as an entree, this is a very sweet dish and should be treated as a dessert. Expect a full 30-minute wait for the kitchen to make it. "
Cliff Strutz


Fork-tender beef is in the middle; on the left is kraut, on the right, slices of dumpling.
"Fork-tender beef is in the middle; on the left is kraut, on the right, slices of dumpling."
Michael Stern


We removed this napkin from the table BEFORE dinner was served.  Vitame Vas means
"We removed this napkin from the table BEFORE dinner was served. Vitame Vas means "we welcome you.""
Michael Stern


The lyrics to the house theme song can be found right on the paper place mat.
"The lyrics to the house theme song can be found right on the paper place mat."
Cliff Strutz


Homey touches are everywhere.  An embroidery with the house motto hangs over the dining room.
"Homey touches are everywhere. An embroidery with the house motto hangs over the dining room."
Cliff Strutz


This is just a small portion of the Jim Beam commemorative decanters which line the hallway.
"This is just a small portion of the Jim Beam commemorative decanters which line the hallway."
Cliff Strutz


You don't have to be
"You don't have to be "Czech" to pay cash or credit."
Dale Fine


Since 1924, the Bohemian Cafe has been Omaha's favorite kraut-and-dumplings destination.
"Since 1924, the Bohemian Cafe has been Omaha's favorite kraut-and-dumplings destination."
Michael Stern


Bohemian Cafe is the place in Omaha for very hearty Czech/Nebraska cuisine.
"Bohemian Cafe is the place in Omaha for very hearty Czech/Nebraska cuisine."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle



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