This past Saturday, as other Hounds were gearing up for the Allnightathon, Alice and I found ourselves at the Continental Cafe, on Elston Ave. After a while, Branko (who owns the place as well as Little Bucharest) showed up and started "working the tables" in the way familiar to anyone who has been at one of his establishments.
Although our conversation with him was very short, because of the noise level (see below) and the way he jumps around from table to table, we found out that he is shutting the doors at Little Bucharest at the beginning of January. We didn't get any details but, when we asked why, Branko replied: "Yuppies. They don't buy goulash".
It seems to me that either he is selling the building for a lot more money than LB takes in or, if he doesn't actually own the property, the restaurant isn't earning enough to pay for the lease and other expenses. My thoughts are that it probably is the former. Since the restaurant has been there over 30 years and I've heard that the family lives above the restaurant, it seems likely that he is the property's owner...but this is just speculation on my part.
He is keeping Continental Cafe open and is planning on doing work to the exterior (which certainly is non-descript, to say the least) but didn't mention whether there would be any interior changes.
As long as I'm making this posting, I might as well comment on our meal:
Alice had the meatball soup and mititei(?), which are beef and pork Romanian sausages (she found them to be tasty but a little too loose and moist for her liking). Due to the large portions, we brought some of them home for snacking on Sunday (the accompanying tater-tots don't travel very well). I had the tripe soup and pork stew w/ mamaliga (polenta), both of which I enjoyed quite a bit. Based on previous postings here, we eschewed the "cookies".
We definitly will eat there again...but next time we'll show up before the live music begins. A young man and woman alternated on the small stage singing what sounded like Roumanian lounge music. They were good singers but, since the room is fairly small and the music was fairly loud, conversation became almost impossible. The phrase "too loud to hear yourself think" came to mind...after we left and were able to hear ourselves think, that is.
3100 N. Ashland Ave
3661 N. Elston Ave