What is Streecha?
Named for the old Ukranian word for 'meeting', Streecha is a restaurant and gathering place on E 7th St, between 2nd and 3rd Ave. It was first conceived four decades ago as a way of raising funds for the nearby St George Ukranian Catholic Church and since then has grown into a community hub.
For those who aren't in the know however it is easy to miss. Tucked away in the basement of a chiropractor's office, one of its only distinguishing features is a blue banner hanging above its external stairway, bearing its name in yellow cyrillic letters. See this and you'll know you'e in the right place. Head on in. It might look like a private gathering but all are very welcome.
What to Expect at Streecha
On entering, you will likely hear the chattering Ukranian voices of the patrons and of the TV newscast. You will be met with communal tables, portraits of Taras Shevchenko, a 19th Century Ukranian poet who was exiled by the Tsar, religious icons and the tantalising scent of traditional Ukranian cooking.
The four staple dishes on offer are usually borscht, vereniki (potato dumplings), holubtsi (rice and pork/mushrooms in braised cabbage leaves) and kovbrasa (Ukranian sausage served with horseradish). On top of this, daily specials include deruny (potato pancakes), kutya (wheat berries with poppy seeds and honey) and khlodets (fish jelly); and, for those with a sweet tooth, expect to find desserts like pompushki (jam doughnuts) and Napoleon cake.
The place is run and staffed by voulnteers, so be sure to do your bit to help out when you visit. Tidy away your own tray and join in with the community!
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