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Slavic Village business owners push back against neighborhood's negative stereotypes

Slavic Village business owners push back against neighborhood's negative stereotypes
Posted at 5:14 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-09 17:22:55-05

CLEVELAND — People in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood are pushing back against negative stereotypes about the place they call home.

Broadway-Slavic Village is bordered to the north by the Central neighborhood, to the east by the Union–Miles Park and Kinsman neighborhoods, Cuyahoga Heights and Newburgh Heights to the west and southwest, and Garfield Heights to the south.

The neighborhood has been getting a bad rep lately with concern about increasing crime and some businesses closing, but community members say that’s only one side of the story and there’s a whole lot of good happening too.

Old favorites stay in Slavic Village with support from longtime customers

“We are a fourth-generation owned business passed down from our great grandfather to his son, then to my mom and now we have it,” said Catherine Murray, who owns R&K Sausage with her two brothers. “So we've been in business since 1917.”

R&K Sausage has been in the neighborhood since it opened, dishing up old favorites.

“We have our smokies which is probably our big seller,” said Chris Archacki, Murray’s brother. “A lot of the old ethnic foods that people can't find anywhere else.”

Murray said the pandemic has been tough for them.

“I actually do the books, so I see what's going on. We're not high on the hog here. We're struggling a little bit, but we're staying in business and that's what's the important part,” Murray said. “Our catering business took a hit. We lost a lot of revenue, but we try to keep up with keeping our ethnic foods on the counter for people to come in and pick up meals for a nightly dinner.”

Murray said support from the community is carrying them through, and its why they’ve stayed in Slavic Village all these years.

“We have customers that this is a tradition for them,” Murray said. “They've come with their grandparents, with their parents. And this is where it all happens. This is the old ethnic neighborhood.”

New businesses welcomed with open arms

Even though their menu is completely different from R&K Sausage’s, the team at Jalapeno Grill has felt that community support too. Nina Petrovets and her husband Moa Moualam opened it last November in the midst of the pandemic.

The restaurant serves Mexican food, including burritos, tacos, and quesadillas. Customers can also create their own burrito bowls from a variety of ingredients, including chicken, beef, shrimp, and even calamari.

“It was risky to open up. We got a lot of response from our community over here,” Moualam said. “And we have great customers over here.”

Moualam said it's been a success and the restaurant has rave reviews already.

“We know people by names now or their orders and they're incredible. They're welcoming and so friendly,” Petrovets said.

Customers can order inside the restaurant, or through third-party apps like DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats.

Positives outweigh the negatives in Slavic Village for residents

Anna Rencz owns Boss K9, a dog training facility on Fleet Avenue that specializes in aggression rehabilitation training.

“So the majority of the dogs that we work with, come in for human aggression, dog aggression, severe separation anxiety, and we rehabilitate them here. We also do puppy training and off-leash training as well,” Rencz said. “We’re definitely a destination here in Slavic Village, and sometimes clients even come from Columbus, Akron, and out of state.”

Boss K9 is going on two years in Slavic Village. Rencz said there are so many positives in the neighborhood that far outweigh the negatives.

“The community is honestly really good to us. They call me little Caesar,” Rencz said. “It definitely feels good to be recognized as a thriving Cleveland business and then also we're representing Slavic Village. So we're really proud of that.”

You can find a list of some Slavic Village businesses below:

R & K Sausage
Boss K9
Daisy's Ice Cream
Red Chimney
Albrecht Design
Brittany's Record Shop
Neighborhood Pets
Jalapeno Grille
J & B Grille
Leonard's Bar & Grille
Philomena Bakery
Andreoli Restoration
MJ'S Café
Indoor Gardens
Vic's Floral
Your Place and Mine
CLE Dog Spa & Social
Belt Publishing
Fleet Bike Shop

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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