there is still something called customer service. At K & K Portage
Market, Lisa Langley and owner Jerry Kolar greet regular customer,
Joyce Barnes of Cleveland, who ordered a roast and a city chicken.
(Photos by Larry Bennet)
& K Portage Market is based on 50-year family tradition
By Cynthia Schuster-Eakin
Published Sept. 27, 2006
In the 1950s,
Yaro Kolar began a 50-year family tradition. He opened a retail
meat shop in the old Hungarian neighborhood at 103rd and Union in
Cleveland. His sons Jerry and Dennis grew up working in the family
Jerry and Dennis
Kolar eventually opened their own K & K Portage Market on Warren
Road. Dennis then branched out in 1979 and established K & K
Meat Shoppe in Maple Heights. In 2001, Dennis Sr. and his son Dennis
Jr. opened a branch in Mantua, Ohio.
and his son Rick continue to run K & K Portage Market, Inc.,
3364 Warren Road, as an old-fashioned retail meat shop with a full-service
deli. They sell chicken, beef, veal and seafood, with an in-store
bakery, and beer and wine. The Kolars celebrate their 35th year
in the Warren Road location next May.
The store reflects
the Kolar's Bohemian and Hungarian heritage, stocking homemade sausage
prepared according to Yaro's family recipes. They offer Sekanice,
a sausage made with veal, ham, pork and chives, and Hurka, a pork
and rice ring. Fresh sausages include Polish kielbasa, Hungarian
kolbaz and Italian sausages. There is a full counter of prepared
foods suited to today's busy lifestyle. Working mothers can still
provide a hot meal for their family, with selections from K &
K Market. Stuffed cabbage, kielbasa and sauerkraut, rigatoni, stuffed
peppers, fried chicken, barbecued ribs and meatloaf are all homemade,
according to Rick Kolar.
tried to adapt to lifestyle changes over the years," he said.
"We still sell sides of beef for families. When I was growing
up, that was my father's main business. Men would work at the Ford
plant and their wives would stay home and raise the children. Today,
we stay open later for mothers who work, and we are open on Sundays."
The Mantua location
has a wood-burning smokehouse where the family prepares smoked goods
that include baby back ribs, beef sticks, jerky and ham. These products
are carried at the Warren Road location, along with specialties
like beef rib roasts, crown pork roasts and party trays.
ham ($4.99 a pound), is boneless, fully cooked and 96 percent fat-free.
It is baked with a special glaze of honey, brown sugar and spices
followed with a topping of pineapple and maraschino cherries. The
store also offers sheet pizzas, and has an extensive bake shop,
with homemade breads, pies, assorted bakery, kolachy and poppy seed
rolls. Cakes are available by the quarter, half or full sheet for
any occasion. Specialty cakes are their new double-layered chocolate
cake with chocolate fudge icing, and casada cake filled with fresh
strawberries and cream. K & K Portage Market offers a variety
of sugar ornaments for baptisms, showers and birthdays.
You can purchase
all of the food and beverages for your next party at K & K Market.
Their expert staff will help with selections and arrangements of
items necessary for a successful occasion. Start with hors d'oeuvres
like Swedish meatballs, Buffalo wings or pumpernickel bread filled
with spinach dip. Party trays are prepared with deli meats, vegetables,
fruit and cheese. They even have beautifully carved melon baskets
filled with seasonal fruits and berries. Customers can order trays
of mini croissant sandwiches, mini Kaiser roll sandwiches, or party
submarine sandwiches. Their subs were voted "Best in Cleveland"
by the readers of Cleveland Magazine. Shrimp platters are garnished
with cocktail sauce, or accompanied by crab and cheese dip and seafood
of fried chicken range in size from 25 to 100 pieces. Side dishes
like garlic mashed redskin potatoes, macaroni and cheese and green
beans with mushrooms can be ordered by the half or full pan.
Rick Kolar noted
that, after so many years in the Warren Road neighborhood, they
know their customers by name and share in the local gossip. He said
people often stop in with recipes for old-fashioned sausages and
ask them to custom-make them. They sell whole goats, pigs and lambs
for ethnic celebrations. He said some people keep exotic animals
and request large bones, or even beef hearts for snapping turtles.
A major lottery
ticket provider, K & K Portage Market had a $7 million winner
three years ago. "The man worked at the Ford plant and was
two years from getting his full pension. So, he continued to work
for two more years, then he and his wife bought a farm in Grafton
and retired," Kolar said.
K & K Portage
Market, Inc. is open seven days a week. Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and 9 a.m. to
2 p.m. Sunday. All major credit cards are honored. Phone (216) 941-MEAT