'Immersed in Ukrainian culture since childhood': how a descendant of the first immigrants feeds borscht and cabbage rolls to the inhabitants of the outback of the USA
Ukrainian borsch and dumplings fell in love even in the American outback. Among the prairies of North Dakota, at 25 km from the nearest village, there is a Ukrainian restaurant. This is stated in the video "Voices of America".
The Chotiri Kuti (Four Corners) cafe is located at the epicenter of Ukrainian emigration in North Dakota. Here, not far from the city of Belfit, the first Ukrainian emigrants settled more than 120 years ago.
The facility is located in the middle of the prairies, along the intercity road. The nearest village is 25 km. Winter comes here early, and the cafe is a great place to hide from the cold.
When it is raining, snowing and piercing wind outside, North Dakota residents in this region come to this cafe to savor and warm themselves with Ukrainian dishes. There is red borsch, dumplings with onions, sausage and cabbage rolls, which are wrapped in grape leaves.
The owner of the cafe, Jesse Romanishin, is a descendant of Ukrainian immigrants. His great-grandfather arrived in North Dakota at the end of the 19th century. from the village of Bezbrody, Lviv region.
“Since childhood, I have been immersed in Ukrainian culture. My grandmother inspired me to study Ukrainian dances, attend Ukrainian master classes, and study Ukrainian art. My grandmother instilled a love for Ukrainian cuisine and the preparation of national dishes ", - says Jesse.
He studied hotel management, worked in fast food, hotels, bars in different cities. Found his vocation in his native North Dakota, now he cooks according to recipes for grandmothers from the Ukrainian church.
“Their grandchildren did not show interest in old Ukrainian recipes, and the women from the church wanted to pass them on to someone - as a result they passed them to me. That’s probably why I’m doing this, ”explains Jesse.
To acquire a cafe, in 2013, he took out a loan of 300 thousand dollars. To decorate his institution, Jesse brought home items with Ukrainian motifs from home.
“I thought: if I work on 80-90 hours a week in this place, then you should bring everything from your home here to make the cafe as comfortable as possible for yourself,” Jesse said.
Oilmen, tourists and locals call here for lunch. Over the six years of its existence, Chotiri Kuti have earned a good reputation and regular visitors.
“North Dakota has retained a lot of ethnicity. People are accustomed to their national cuisine: German, Norwegian, Ukrainian. If we say that there will be Ukrainian dishes, people will come, ”said the visitor Imel Angeluk. According to him, the most popular dishes on the menu are dumplings, sausages, cabbage rolls and, of course, borsch.
Sheriff’s assistant Alan Macle first came to a Ukrainian cafe a few months ago and has been coming here every week since.
“I first tried dumplings a few months ago and immediately got hooked on them. Now I come here every Wednesday. Dumplings with potatoes and cheese are the best, ”MacL shared his impressions.
Tim O'Brian, a man of Irish descent, lives not far away, knows little about Ukrainian cuisine, but still enjoys it with pleasure.
“I love Ukrainian cheese plate (dumplings), they are served with sour cream and butter,” says O'Brien.
On the subject: How a Ukrainian family in Ohio feeds Americans homemade sausages
Assistant Chef Jeffrey Giyong, who is from Norway, was not immediately accustomed to Ukrainian food.
“Borsch was an unexpected dish for me, and I was not sure what it was. But the more I ate it, the more I understood this taste. It’s a food that nourishes, besides healthy food - all this greens and vegetables, ”says Guillong.
When asked what time of the day it is better to eat borsch, Jeffrey replies: “Always. There is no bad time to enjoy borsch. ”
Two women work in the cafe team, they are waitresses, and two men - a cook and his assistant.
The waitress Pat 77 is years old, but she assures that she does not get tired from work all day on her feet ..
“I just turned 77. This is fun, I like to be among people. I have had many managers in my life, but Jess is the kindest of all, ”she said.
Jesse has not yet reached a stable profit. According to him, it is very beneficial to serve mass events.
“A significant part of our profits is catering and good weather, a location near the freeway and public support. We had both better and worse times, but if it wasn’t profitable, would we really do it? ”Jesse muses.
Cooking for him is a pleasure, but Jesse also loves to eat, he says that he will never give up a large portion of dumplings with potatoes.
“Some people joke that we have the best homemade dumplings in the area. Of course, the best, we are the only restaurant, ”the restaurant owner jokes.
Cook Jesse managed to establish a special connection with people using Ukrainian cuisine. It is because of this, local residents say, that they always come back here.
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