Parma’s Krakow Foods & Deli keeps the Polish spirit alive in northeast Ohio

PARMA, Ohio — It’s a country that has had a checkered history of domination and division, but its unofficial motto — the first line of its national anthem — also reveals a long legacy of clinging to its identity: “Poland is not yet lost.” .”

Arek and Beata Trybucki, owners of Krakow Polish Foods & Deli in Parma, ensure their homeland’s culture survives and thrives.

“It’s like having Poles in the United States,” Beata said of the Ridge Road store in the heart of Polish Village.

The Trybuckis came from Poland about 20 years ago in search of “a better life,” Beata said, and have been running the shop for 12 years.

Arek Trybucki is a baker, so it was a logical step to offer these products and many other items of Polish and Eastern European origin to their customers.

Stepping through the door, one could imagine being in an establishment in Poland’s venerable capital.

Kielbasi and pierogi, two popular Polish staples, are just the beginning.

They sell out everything Kiska (keesh-ka), a black pudding, too szynka (shing-a), a Polish ham, to Polish sausages and a long list of other delicacies.

“Your smoked fish is to die for,” commented one customer online.

On the shelves are items that come from Poland and other European countries, such as B. a wide range of spices, canned vegetables, cookies and sweets.

Publications in Polish and communion cards are available. The store also serves as a community center, with job openings and other news posted on its bulletin board. Photos illustrate dealers’ support for local sports teams.

Beata learned to cook from her mother and, like most Poles, claims that “mine was the best”. She, in turn, taught her daughter.

“It’s important to keep up with tradition,” she said, especially around the holidays.

Clevelanders know Paczki Day, the day before Ash Wednesday, when delicious filled donuts are scooped up by the dozen. Arek makes his own paczki. But in Poland, this day comes on the Thursday before the start of Lent, Beata explained.

Another much-anticipated celebration of Polish culture is Dyngus Day, which takes place on the Monday after Easter. Cleveland’s big party is April 18th at the Gordon Green on Detroit Road in the west of the city, with food, beer, polka music and a Miss Dyngus Day pageant. Visit www.clevelanddyngus.com for information.

The Polish Constitution Day celebrations – complete with a parade, a tour of the Polish Cultural Center and Gardens and other activities in recognition of the world’s second oldest constitution – will take place from April 29 to May 1 in the Polish village of Parma, the also is home to the Little Polish Diner and Rudy’s Strudel Shop. Visit facebook.com/Cleveland.PolishConstitution for a schedule.

solidarity

The Polish people have a long history in Cleveland, driven by the forces that beat, but did not beat, their homeland.

Poland is an ancient and once powerful nation in Europe. But by the 19th century it had been erased from the map and divided between Prussia, Russia and Austria. But the Polish identity lived on.

The first Poles came to Cleveland in the 1860s and worked in the quarries around Berea. As the century progressed and pressure from neighbors increased, more and more Poles came here, many of whom were employed in the area’s steel mills.

In addition to its many delicacies, Krakow Foods offers a welcoming atmosphere. (John Matuszak, specially for cleveland.com)

This burgeoning population led to the establishment of various Polish neighborhoods and parishes. The first was called Warszawa and was in the parish of St. Stanislaus, established in 1873 in the area later known as Slavic Village, along Fleet Avenue on the east side of Cleveland.

Another large enclave was called Poznan and consisted mostly of Poles from near the Prussian border who settled around East 79th Street and St. Clair/Superior Avenue from the 1880s. The St. Kasimir Church was built in 1918 on Sowinski Allee.

Other neighborhoods sprang up, and by 1930 nearly 37,000 people of Polish descent called Cleveland home. Many families moved to suburbs like Parma and Garfield Heights.

Poland proved its courage by defying the Nazis in World War II and later the Soviet Union.

Polish-Americans in Cleveland also showed their courage. In 2009, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland ordered the closure of St. Casimir’s and other ethnic churches in the city.

But St. Casimir’s parishioners came to the rescue, gathering outside the church every Sunday for 139 weeks to pray for its restoration. Many brought “Solidarność” banners and flags with the Polish eagle.

The Vatican ordered the church to reopen in 2012.

Today, Poland is once again proving its strength and resilience by hosting millions of Ukrainian refugees and sending aid.

Other mottos from Polish history speak to people’s hearts: “For our freedom and yours”, “Nourish and defend them” and “There is no freedom without solidarity”.

The Krakow delicatessen shows its ties to Poland’s beleaguered neighbor by displaying the Ukrainian flag on its counter.

And a large painting on the wall illustrates the warmth and hospitality of the Polish soul: witamywelcome.

“They treat you like family,” gushed one customer.

Krakow Foods is located at 5842 Ridge Road, Parma. The store can be reached at 440-292-0357. See www.polishvillageparma.org/2013/05/23/the-krakow-deli for information.

Read more from the Parma Sun Post.

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