International market offers Polish, Russian delicacies close to home

Topics Newspapers

Slaviansky's Bazar offers various types of Eastern European cheese and salami. --

Slaviansky's Bazar, 12540 N. Meridian St., Carmel

INDIANAPOLIS -- Slaviansky's Bazar, a Russian delicatessen on North Meridian Street, is a tribute to the international food market in Vitebsk, Belarus, said co-owner Tatiana Melnichak.

Melnichak, who along with co-owner Dave Scherb opened the restaurant in May 2005, is originally from Belarus. She moved to the United States five years ago. She started the restaurant in Carmel because it's a safe community and her 11-year-old son can attend a great school, she said.

Slaviansky's Bazar is a deli with a small lunch area, but Melnichak is developing a menu to begin offering sandwiches of fresh salami, sausage and spreads, she said.

The deli features typical foods that Melnichak had as a child in Belarus. They include 15 different types of cheese, including Havarti, mild, sweet and sharp and fresh bread such as rye and pumpernickel. Slaviansky's is also known in the community as one of the few kosher establishments in Indiana and for personally bringing fresh goods directly back from a Polish manufacturer in Chicago, she said.

"Polish customers are crazy about (the deli) because they don't have to go all the way to Chicago," Melnichak said.

Every Thursday, Melnichak's husband Vladimir drives to Chicago to pick up goods, such as fresh salami and kielbasa, which sells for $2.89 per pound. The deli offers horseradish mayonnaise, horseradish mustard or a vegetable spread made of eggplant or zucchini.

"Our sausages have no preserves, keep longer and taste more natural. Our candies and juices do not have sugar . . . we have a great variety of them," she said.

The deli has frozen Russian-style ravioli, which has more fillings and contains less dough than Italian-style ravioli. It is more like a pirogue, she said. For sides, she suggests a Russian-style potato salad, coleslaw or Russian-style sauerkraut. The deli also offers marinated peppers, small onions, garlic, tomatoes and pickles, as well as grilled eggplants in a spicy sauce and a sweet-and-sour marinade over cherry tomatoes.

For dessert, Slaviansky's sells $5 ice cream cakes that are large enough to feed seven to eight people. The deli also has one of the largest selections of Eastern European beer.

Hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call (317) 566-9422.

Melnichak spoke with Topics staff writer Melinda Cooper about Slaviansky's Bazar.

Q What are the prices of some of the main items?

A Our meat products are $2.59-$7.99 per pound. Bread is $1.69 for a half loaf and $3.69 for a full loaf. Cheeses range from $3.99-$7.99 per pound, with most less than $6 per pound. Teas are offered from $2.29-$6.99

Q Why did you choose to come to the United States?

A I was a lawyer in Belarus who wanted a green card and I heard about the lottery for one. I ended up winning. I left a lot in my country. My dad was upset since I was the youngest and most successful daughter. Also, because I had gone to college, had a good job and was moving to the United States. I had heard good things about the United States. I think every country has its pluses and minuses. It was a venture and we took it.

Q What do you bring to the deli?

A The business is hard work and I usually work seven days a week, but I know in my heart that in a couple more years, it will be easier. Every part of my store is through my soul. My cashier always says how customers love to listen to me. I like to go around with customers and have them sample the foods and decide what to get. My deli is not a supermarket, I will go with you to the shelf and show you what you can make a meal out of. I love to cook and know recipes from my head. I want to talk to customers and host culinary classes one day when the store gets more help and is easier.