welcome to cermak ROAD
The streets you walk and drive every day have shops and restaurants you love. They may also have centuries of stories worth hearing. Take Cermak Road, long heralded as Berwyn’s Main Street. Today, Berwyn’s Cermak Road corridor boasts locally owned small businesses, national favorites, a rich history, and a bright future.
Celebrating a Great Czech Heritage
Cermak Road honors Chicago’s mayor from 1931-1933. On February 15, 1933, an assassin took aim at then-President Franklin Roosevelt during a rally in downtown Miami. Killed instead was Chicago’s mayor, Anton J. Cermak, who was in Florida visiting the President while he vacationed before his inauguration.
Cermak, a Czech immigrant, helped create a diverse Democratic party. In his honor, the city renamed 22nd street as it passed through Czech-American neighborhoods in Pilsen and Lawndale on its way west to Cicero and Berwyn, both home to large Czech populations at the time. Stop by the Chicagoland Czech-American Community Center and see how it keeps the active Czech community connected, supports small businesses, and organizes events.
A Diverse Community Flourishes
Berwyn is home to a growing Latinx, African-American, and Asian-American population, and everyone’s taste buds benefit.
Enjoy Zacatacos, El Nuevo Vallarta Sports Bar & Grill, or Las Islas for ceviche or famed La Lupita Restaurant, named WGN-TV’s “Chicago’s Best Mexican Restaurant.” Their tacos and pozole are top-notch, and they offer tortillas made in-house. New to Cermak Road, La Parra Restaurant and Bar serves upscale dishes inspired by Mediterranean flavors and unique handcrafted cocktails.
Whether you crave a savory elote, a sweet paleta, or what’s called by customers, “the absolute best ice cream,” head to La Michoacana Classic, where patrons report generous portions, spot-on flavors, and affordable prices.
One for the Record Books
No mention of Cermak Road—or green technology—would be complete without the 13,500 square-foot World’s Largest Laundromat. Not only has this father-and-sons business been honored by the Guinness Book of World Records, but it is also famous for its award-winning ecoinitiatives. A 36-panel solar thermal system is one of the largest green installations in the state. What the laundromat does with its space and its tech has even grabbed the attention of French documentary filmmakers. Follow them on social media and stay tuned for the release date!
Small Businesses Make It Big
The rich Czech influence, along with many savings and loan businesses, earned Cermak Road the nickname “The Bohemian Wall Street.” Today, spots like the beloved Vesecky’s Bakery, where savvy locals have popped in for houska and rye for more than a century, carry on that tradition.
A welcome addition is Flight 22 wine bar, where knowledgeable staff pour wine and mix cocktails.
Other independent businesses have been Cermak Road staples for generations. Old Fashioned Candies family-owned since 1969, is famous for offering “Chicago’s Best Sweet Treats,” tempting holiday creations, and chocolate-covered strawberries.
Beyond food and beverage, Cermak Road is a small business shopper’s dream. Scelebrations Fashion has been a beloved Berwyn destination for gowns and dresses for celebrations from baptism to first communion, proms to wedding gowns. For more than a decade, Craig’s Shoes has fitted men, women, and children. Customers appreciate the knowledgeable and friendly staff, top-named brands, and the frequent shopper rewards available.
National Chains Come to Cermak Road
In recent years, Berwyn’s award-winning corporation and business incentives enticed popular national retailers and emerging chains to stake a claim in the community.
Cermak Plaza was an early example of a modern shopping center, opening in 1956 as suburbs expanded west. Today, it’s one one of the near west suburbs’ premier shopping hubs. Anchored by Tony’s, a family-owned supermarket with specialty imports, a much-anticipated addition to the plaza, it also includes Ross, Avenue, Gap Outlet, Shoe Carnival, Discovery, K & G Fashion, and Marshalls. Newer shops like locally-owned Pet Supplies Plus and Old Navy add even more reasons to stop in.