Russian Tea Time

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Not just a tea house as the name suggests, Russian Tea Time is a full-service restaurant, a family enterprise run by former caterer Klara Muchnik. A native of the city of Tashkent in the former Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan in Central Asia, she came to the United States in the early 1990s. As she found little Russian cuisine here, opening a restaurant seemed like a promising idea. She was right; her choice of slightly Americanized Russian dishes has been well received by Chicagoans, especially the pre-symphony concert crowd. Surprisingly, however, only about 10-percent of the customers are Russian, by Muchnik's estimate. Celebrity diners have included former Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Daniel Barenboim, Julia Roberts and Dustin Hoffman.