A Taste of Slavic Village: Cleveland

“Polish spoken here!” announce the storefronts along Fleet Avenue in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood. Homemade pierogi, freshly-ground kielbasa, and just-out-of-the-oven potato bread beckon. But, you don’t have to be Polish to enjoy the wonderful tastes and sights of the growing number of sausage shops, restaurants, and delis here. Slavic Village, just south of downtown Cleveland, was originally settled by Czech and Polish immigrants who arrived to work in the steel factories and woolen mills here. The customs, culture, and recipes they brought with them still thrive and are served daily throughout Slavic Village.

Paczki are the specialty of the season at The Europa Deli on Slavic

Village’s main street, Fleet Avenue. These fluffy, fruit-filled doughnuts sprinkled generously with powdered sugar are a Polish Lenten tradition. Owners, Maria and Kazimierz Chruscik, offer a wide array of cured and fresh sausages, imported Eastern European jellies, jams, canned meats, sodas, candies ,freshly-baked breads, and pastry. Polish language music, dvds, newspapers, and glossy magazines give the store a truly Eastern European flavor. Tables are available both inside and outside the deli; no need to wait to enjoy your purchases.

Across the street, behind delicate lace curtains, is the recently-opened Seven Roses Deli and CafÃ?©. The shop’s restored tin ceiling, floor-to-ceiling walnut shelves complete with a ten-foot library ladder, and bistro tables make this an inviting place to enjoy a freshly-made pastry or sandwich. The Seven Roses offers a full array of meats and cheeses, breads, pastries, and Polish canned goods and sodas. Some of the merchandise is labeled only in Polish, but the staff couldn’t be friendlier in helping you translate.

Kielbasa, smoked polish sausage, bratwurst, and knockwurst are made fresh daily at Krusinski’s Market, just off 65th St on Heisley Avenue. People travel from all sides of Cleveland and beyond for this corner grocery store’s sausages and house-made pierogi – the scrumptious Polish dumplings stuffed with sauerkraut, potato, or cheese. In fact, if you enjoy pierogi at other restaurants in Cleveland, there’s a good chance they were made right here at Krusinski’s.

The aroma of freshly-baked bread, doughnuts, and fruit and cream-filled pies greets you as you enter Gertrude’s Bakery on Gertrude Avenue, one block south of Fleet Ave on E 65th St. The last survivor of over twenty bakeries once thriving in the neighborhood, Gertrude’s Bakery is the quintessential corner bakery. Immaculate display cases surround you packed with cookies, breads, doughnuts, cakes, and rolls. All offerings are tasty and affordable, so feel free to indulge.

Eggs, sausage, toast and home fries – the “Chimney breakfast” – are just $2.19 every day (until 11:00 am) at The Red Chimney Restaurant. Housed in a wooden Bavarian-style two-story chalet at 65th St and Fleet Ave, The Red Chimney is a great place to meet the people who live and work in Slavic Village. Pick up a complimentary copy of the Neighborhood News and enjoy a delicious, hearty breakfast. Although well-known for its breakfasts, The Red Chimney also serves tasty and affordable lunches and dinners. Try the weinerschnitzel and the chicken paprikash.

Slavic Village celebrates its heritage annually at The Harvest Festival held the last Saturday and Sunday of August. Over 75,000 visitors flock annually to Fleet Avenue, closed to traffic during the festival, to enjoy potato pancakes and stuffed cabbage, polka dance bands, and free-flowing beer. Lolly-the-Trolly, Cleveland’s bright red vintage trolley car, carries visitors in style to neighborhood showcased houses and gardens.

Easily accessible from all sides of Cleveland, a trip to Slavic Village is perfect for a leisurely afternoon stroll or a Sunday excursion. (All of the stores mentioned are open on Sundays.) If you are visiting from out of town, there are several reasonably-priced accommodations just south of Slavic Village at I-77 and Rockside Rd.

Smacznego! (Bon Appetit!)

“A Taste of Slavic Village” (sidebar)

Gertrude Bakery

6506 Gertrude Ave.

Cleveland, OH 44105

216 641-7582

Open: Wednesdays and Thursdays – 6:30 am to 4:30 pm

Fridays – 6:30 am to 5:00 pm

Saturdays – 6:30 am to 4:00 pm

Sundays – 7:00 am to 2:00 pm

Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays

The Red Chimney

6501 Fleet Ave.

Cleveland, OH 44105

216 441-0053

Open: 5:00 am to 9:00 pm daily

Krusinski’s Finest Meat Products

6300 Heisley Ave.

Cleveland, OH 44105

216 441-0100

Open: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays – 8:00 am to 5:45 pm Saturdays – 7:30 am to 5:00 pm

Closed on Wednesdays and Sundays

Seven Roses Delicatessen

6301 Fleet Ave.

Cleveland, OH 44105

216 641-5789

Open: Monday thru Saturday – 9:00 am to 8:00 pm

Sundays – 10:30 am to 3:00 pm

Europa Deli

6308 Fleet Ave.

Cleveland, OH 44105

216 271-5822

Open: Monday thru Friday – 9:00 am to 8:00 pm

Saturdays – 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

Sundays – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

To learn more about Slavic Village, visit:

Slavic Village Historical Society

8404 Webb Terrace

Cleveland, OH 44127

216 271-9300

www.slavicvillagehistory.org

Open: Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm

Monday through Friday by appointment

(216 429-1182×116)

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