One of just three Polish restaurants in the Cleveland area, Ewa's Family Restaurant closed after Ewa retired, noting that the large industrial cooking pots were getting too heavy for her to lift as she got older. Rather than sell the business, she just closed its doors.
Ewa's was a fun place to eat, with Polish music in the house, a portrait of Pope John Paul II on the wall, and in one corner a cardboard fireplace with a rotating lamp to give the effect of a flickering fire. The young bilingual waitresses were lively and often sarcastic with each other, which made for a good show.
The food was memorable — golden, glistening chicken noodle soup, rich paprikash with guilt-inducing dumplings, brisket swimming in gravy and of course pierogi with onions sauteed in butter. I had my first (and last) taste of czarnina there, and while this soup made from duck's blood wasn't quite as awful as I thought it might be, it was not something I wanted to revisit.
Now the restaurant stands empty on East 71st Street, but the prim lace curtains are still in every window.