New beer hall pays tribute to Bohemian Cafe, a piece of Omaha history

Published: Dec. 11, 2019 at 10:54 PM CST
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So much of our city is changing, often for the better. And one area of Omaha is making it a point to keep its history alive through it all.

The corner of William St. and S 13th St. is home to what was once the Bohemian Cafe, owned by the Kapoun family.

"The cafe was open from roughly 1924 to 2016. It was in our family for 66 years," Terry Kapoun said.

Four generations of the Kapoun family worked side by side each and every day. Well with one exception: Christmas.

"It was my only job," Kapoun said. "I was 15 years old when my grandparents took it over, and I was 65 years old when we closed."

6 News was there when the cafe doors closed three years ago.

"We're gone but look at the different businesses that are here," Kapoun said. "New businesses, new families, new stories."

One of those new businesses is doing its best to honor what was here.

Bill Baburek, the owner and founder of Infusion Brewery, has been hard at work for several months now to transition the former cafe into a new beer hall.

"What we are trying to do is pay homage to the area of Little Bohemia, to the cafe itself because it was a gathering place for family and friends for generations," Baburek said.

Pieces of the cafe are sprinkled throughout a new beer hall; menus, the entryway doors, exterior tiles, and even the original neon sign.

"I believe in preserving history," Baburek explained. "And having the chance to do that for probably the most iconic restaurant that's a very big honor."

An honor Kapoun and Baburek think he might have been destined for.

You see, a photo brought by Kapoun to Infusion's beer hall shows Baburek's parents sitting at the cafe from back in 1974.

Baburek calls it "serendipitous."

While there's a twinge of sadness 'Dumplings and Kraut Today' won't be sang in the dining hall again, the Kapoun family can rest easy knowing their legacy lives on.

"It's not the Bohemian Cafe, nothing will be the Bohemian Cafe. But this is beautiful," Kapoun said.

Infusion's Little Bohemia Beer Hall will officially open to the public tomorrow at 3 p.m.

To honor the Czech heritage, even more, a Czech beer and Czech food will be served at the beer hall.

There will be events throughout the weekend to celebrate the rebirth of the Bohemian Cafe.

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