Those of us who have never traveled to Europe no longer need to worry about our lack of sophistication. Stepping into the Euro Cafe on Main St. is like walking along the streets of Warsaw. One cannot help but notice the gorgeous photos of the Polish city’s historical district that line the walls of the main seating area. Taken by one of the restaurant’s two owners, Margaret Zdzieszymski and Krystyna Skrzypek, these pictures serve as a reminder of home. Both of the proprietors came with their families to the United States as political refugees in 1986 and 1991, respectively. Zdzieszymski and Skrzypek founded the Euro Cafe several years ago, when accidental timing brought them together to establish the eatery. Zdzieszymski—who moved to Geneseo from Syracuse, New York when her husband took a job at Alfred University—was nursing her longtime dream of opening a restaurant that served Polish and Eastern European food.
While in the midst of changing jobs, Zdzieszymski met Skrzypek, who had recently lost her job. The two quickly realized that the time was right to take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime. Rather than continue to look for alternative employment, they went into business together.
Euro Cafe came from humble beginnings in more ways than one. Its original location at 116 Main St. in Geneseo sat only five tables, which meant long wait times and lines for customers. Almost immediately, the pair began looking to expand their business, waiting for a larger location to become available.
As soon as 82 Main St. opened up, the two women once again seized the opportunity at hand and switched locations. After enduring a week and a half of the chaos that came with moving, they undertook a complete renovation of their new building, which lasted over a month.
Everything is prepared fresh at the time that a customer orders it, with homemade soups posing as one of the most popular choices. Stuffed cabbage and crepes both make an appearance on the menu, as does a huge selection of pierogis, which are prepared in its larger kitchen facility in Rochester.
Interestingly, the menu also includes a few entrees from Western cuisine, most notably wienerschnitzel. Zdzieszymski, who spent time in Vienna studying with some of the city’s best chefs, now prepares this specialty in her cafe with pride.
True to the motto of the state—which they have made their home—Zdzieszymski and Skrzypek continue to strive upward with even more plans for their elegant yet welcoming restaurant. According to Zdzieszymski, they would like to gradually stabilize their menu, which is rather large in proportion to the relatively small size of their kitchen and venue. The women hope to figure out the most popular dishes so an emphasis can be placed on them and so that weekend specials—such as potato pancakes with goulash—can be offered.
The women, who are completely open to the idea of hiring Geneseo students, anticipate taking on a full-time cook so that they can dedicate more time to other aspects of their restaurant. While currently open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., they hope to expand these hours to include either Tuesday or Sunday.
The next time you’re in town and hungry for a bite to eat, I highly recommend you dine at this Eastern European eatery and experience authentic cuisine unlike any you’ve ever seen in Geneseo.