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An Ode to Resi's Bier Stube


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An Ode to Resi's Bier Stube

Fast Eddie | Jun 24, 2004 06:50 PM

Saw the thread below re Berghoff's, thought I'd steer people towards real German cuisine.

Had dinner at Resi's last night, hadn't been there in years. I'm a little biased toward the place because I first went there as a teenager when it opened thirty years ago. Herbert Stober was a bricklayer, and my dad worked with him at a big masonry contractor called VS Wallgren (now defunct) - German owned company, and they used to hire German journeymen after they'd emigrated to Chicago. They'd compete with Thorlief Larsen (old time Swede operation) for all the big projects like McCormick Place and UC Circle Campus. One day Herbie said the hell with it, I'm tired of construction and I'm going to buy a bar. Purchased Resi's and kept the old name. He had the right personality to run a bar, he loved to party and loved to have a good time. Herbert used to work the bar every day. Every third round of beer called for a shot of Jägermeister (yes, Germans actually drank this poison before the frat boys discovered it) on the house. His wife worked the tiny kitchen. A friend of the family named Edith was the original waitress and is still chugging away. I used to work as a laborer with my dad during summer vacations, and this place was a regular stop for a couple beers and dinner after a hot day at work. WGN's TV studios were right up the street on Addison, and the news anchorman Jack Taylor used to stop in by himself every night for a beer and dinner before going into work. The house celebrity, Herbie used to fawn over him big time. Resi's has been very successful, Herbie ended up buying a big house on Marco Island in FL and put all his kids through good colleges. Gotta love this country. Herr Stober has passed away alas, but his wife still owns the place. So enough of the back story...

Having been raised in a German household and having visited Deutschland quite a few times I think I'm in positon to properly judge the real deal, and Resi's is it. Have a seat out in the beer garden, which is fenced in by dark wood and tall trees and countless flower boxes that add a splash of color. Very cozy, has a Black Forest feel to it. Ten great German beers on tap, I highly recommend getting started with a big stein of Pschorr. To do it the German way you come with a group of friends and pound three or four beers first and have some laughs before you even think of ordering food.

We ended up ordering family style, and had them bring out platters of thuringers, bratwursts, weisswursts and knockwursts. Comes with baskets of really good bread, especially the whole grain pumpernickel. Tubs of hot German mustard and horseradish. I highly recommend the Leberkäse (translated = liver cheese, don't ask). This is a veal liver loaf, fried in butter and smothered in sauteed onions and accompanied by an incomparable warm potato salad. Even the unadventurous diners loved this dish. The potato pancakes are also a must, deep brown with a nice crunchy crust but moist inside and accompanied with a side of sour cream and apple sauce. The schnitzel was decent but not spectacular. Definitely some robust food, but it's a perfect accompaniment to the beer.

This is the last of it's kind as far as the old school German neighborhood places go. You've got the Brauhaus, but that's a totally different kind of experience. So get there and enjoy it while you can, who knows how much longer they'll be around. This is as authentic an old school Chicago ethnic hood kind of place as you can get. A lot of sweat and toil and joys and fears and dreams go into those meals. Enjoy, and Prosit!

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