Idrott Swedish Co-operative Cafe
Submitted by liz on Wed, 2014-11-12 11:42
Note: The Newberry Library holds the personal papers of author John Drury.
IDROTT SWEDISH CO-OPERATIVE CAFE, 3204 Wilton Avenue
One of the interesting restaurants in Chicago. Owned and conducted entirely by the residents of Herring Lane, as the Swedish neighborhood along Belmont Avenue, on the north side, is called. Organized into a society, they elect officers to manage the restaurant and all other activities which have made of their modern two-story building a sort of Swedish community center. They have a library, public bakery, lecture hall and card rooms. Waitresses will serve coffee while you read your newspaper or play checkers. But it is the food we are concerned with — and what food! What rare arrangements in fish — fresh, salted, smoked or lye soaked. This last is the justly celebrated Swedish lutfisk, a kind of cod fish given a lye treatment but, of course, cleansed thoroughly of lye before serving. It's very appetizing. But don't begin your meal until you have paid your gustatory respects to the smorgasbord — that great Swedish institution, similar to the French hors d'oeuvres, but far more expansive. It is a table loaded down with appetizers of all kinds — fish, cheeses, sausages, cold meats, olives, celery — and you may help yourself to as much as you like. For typical Swedish entrees there is kottbullar, which means meat balls, or stekt salt sill, the familiar salt herring, fried. And to be really Swedish you must eat either Swedish rye bread or the hardtackish knackebrod with this meal. On Thursdays they serve a special Swedish dinner composed of pea soup, potato sausages and plattar, which is a small Swedish pancake, especially delicious with the Lingonberry jam that goes with it. Anybody may eat at the Idrott Cafe and the prices are amazingly cheap.
Maitre d'hotel: Mr. Carlson