Friday, May 31, 2024

St. George Church reopens a refurbished Streecha Ukrainian Kitchen on 7th Street

Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy

Streecha Ukrainian Kitchen reopens this morning in the basement space it has used for the past 50 years at 33 E. Seventh St. between Second Avenue and Cooper Square. 

The kitchen, which serves as a fundraising arm of St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church on the block, will now be run by a new team of parish volunteers. The space will continue to offer a variety of traditional Ukrainian cuisine as well as coffee and tea.
Yesterday, I met with Rev. Father Johan Lubiv, OSBM, the administrator of St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church for the past four years, to discuss Streecha and what has transpired here recently.

Last week, Dima Kovalenko, who the church hired to be its chef and run the kitchen nine years ago, announced on Instagram that Streecha had closed and that the "property owner" had other plans for the basement space. (Kovalenko, meanwhile, found a backer and will be opening a pop-up space under a new name nearby offering a similar fare.) 

Father Johan explained some of the misunderstandings. "I said to Dima to say, 'I am not working at Streecha, but Streecha continues to function.' This is misleading information that Streecha is closed," Father Johan said. "The name belongs to the parish and the community. Streecha means 'people's meeting place.'" 

He said St. George hired Kovalenko to run Streecha, though he claims he had "turned it into a private business, and that is not what this space is for."

Father Johan talked about his time in the East Village, where he made some changes to St. George Academy, also known as St. George's Ukrainian Catholic School. He also said he is especially interested in helping people from Ukraine who have psychological issues stemming from PTSD from the Russian invasion. 

As for Streecha, he said he wanted to refurbish the community spot on Seventh Street. 

"We received many propositions about how to renovate. We needed renovations," he said. "Last year, I started cleaning, and I have been thinking about these changes for more than a year. I am happy to see the space clean." 

The newly reopened Streecha will be run by three volunteers — women parishioners from the church. It will feature the same menu items and prices, with funds going to St. George.

Father Johan and Deacon Methodius Soroka provided a tour of Streecha yesterday. 

"It took 20 volunteers three days to clean the space," Father Johan said. There are new lights, paint, and equipment with newly arranged tables and chairs.

Streecha will be open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

As in the past 50 years in the East Village, Father Johan said, "We welcome all people."
You can follow Streecha on Instagram here ... or Facebook here.


John Riley said...

Which Streecha has the lovely older Ukrainian women making pierogis?

Lmknyc said...

Ty evgrieve for further investigating and sharing clarity on this situation. Streecha is a staple in our community and I’m glad it will continue!

Carol from East 5th Street said...

The "proof is in the pudding" as they say. I will go anywhere for the sauerkraut they served at the previous venue.

Jest2007 said...

It is so great to hear that Streecha will continue to be an important part of our community. Yes, their saurkraut is the best.

istarin said...

The "cleaned up space" looks much worse then before. :-( I will wait for Dima to open his new place