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The Scratch House in the Loop

Chicago's Berghoff Restaurant offered a slice of Chicago history.


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It was nicknamed the "Scratch House" because everything served was made from scratch—with the exception of their wildly popular creamed spinach (made from frozen). The Berghoff family and its eponymous restaurant—which closed in 2006 and reinvented itself in the form of 17/West café, special event dining rooms and catering center—have been a fixture in Chicago's Loop for over 100 years. Starting as a saloon in 1898 to showcase the family's Dortmunder beer, the site evolved to one of the city's most popular restaurants, serving German and traditional American fare like wiener schnitzel, the above-mentioned creamed spinach, and apple strudel while retaining a character that was both upscale and saloon-like.

 

The legacy lives on in The Berghoff Family Cookbook (Andrew McMeel Publishing; $30 hardcover) by Carlyn Berghoff and Jan Berghoff with Nancy Ross Ryan. The book includes 150 cherished recipes in nine chapters. A final chapter on entertaining offers tips, lists, menus and practical information. A crucial one: How to know when you can go it alone…and when it's time to rent flatware and hire outside help. 

 

Click here for Berghoff's Weiner Schnitzel recipe.

           

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