Northeast Minneapolis is distinct from the rest of the city. It was settled by successive waves of Eastern Europeans, often immigrating from a particular Ukrainian, Russian, or Polish village en masse, setting up as a sort of American version of that far-off village, arranged around a particular church that echoed one from the homeland. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren frequently moved out of the neighborhood, and over the years the number of Eastern European butcher shops have dwindled, leaving one king of the neighborhood behind: Kramarczuk.
Founded by Wasyl Kramarczuk, who fled the Ukraine in advance of the Nazis, the butcher shop is famous across the Midwest for making their own old-world sausages and charcuterie—from head cheese to pale Ukrainian sausages and firecracker red Polish. They also have a fantastic Soviet-style counter-service restaurant that feels about a mile long and offers rib-sticking options like Szegedin (goulash), holubets (stuffed cabbage), and varenyky (stuffed dumplings, like pierogi.) On many evenings, Ukrainian or Russian church bands play as you eat your goulash, for that particularly balalaika-inspired feeling. For anyone seeking a taste of the rest of Eastern Europe, a taste of great sausage, or a simple taste of living Minnesota history, Kramarczuk can’t be beat.