After 283 days in Richmond, I’ve finally found a place to get a big ol’ plate of perogies, cabbage rolls, and garlic sausage. I couldn’t be happier. Thanks for putting me on to the Ukrainian Community Society of Ivan Franko, Lulu Lady!
On the third week of every month, the society hosts Friday Night Family Suppers at their community hall on Francis Road, and they are popular.
Here’s how it works: diners can show up anytime between 5pm and 7:30pm, and are given a menu with a variety of dinner options with varying amounts of perogies, cabbage rolls, sausage, Chef’s Special (which changes monthly), borscht, salad, and dessert. There are also a number of kids’ options for $5 or $5.75.
Once you’ve made your decision, a volunteer will highlight your choices on a menu, which you’ll take to the cash table and pay (cash only). Next you’ll head to the serving station, where more volunteers are dishing up the food.
Then, with your dinner in hand, Fran (the society’s volunteer coordinator and Friday Supper hostess) will help you find a seat.
Tables are communal, so you’re likely to end up chatting with some friendly folks from the neighbourhood, just as I did. I sat with Karen and Wes, a lovely couple who live in Steveston.
I opted for the Regular Supper with Chef’s Choice ($9.50); it had five perogies, 2 cabbage rolls, the Chef’s Choice (which last night was meatballs in gravy), and I added on a piece of garlic sausage for $2.50, just so I could give everything a try. I asked for my meal in a to-go container since I knew I’d likely take some home, and helped myself to sour cream, mustard, pickles, and pickled beets.
They also offer homemade dessert (last night’s were apple crumble and bumbleberry pie) for $2.50, and have a bar service with wine and beer for 3 bucks a pop. What! A! Deal!
This meal was just the hearty, comforting kind of food I needed on a rainy Friday night. The perogies and cabbage rolls were fantastic,
as were the meatballs in a super-savoury, mushroom gravy.
I wasn’t even terribly hungry when I began eating, yet I ended up finishing most of it. Because I’d helped myself to one too many cinnamon buns earlier in the day, I held off on the dessert. Karen let me take a picture of her bumbleberry pie, however, which was served with freshly whipped cream and looked wonderful.
The society also has a lending library, puts on Ukrainian dance lessons, organizes a variety of annual events, and each weekend hosts their popular “Saturday Sales” at which they sell their homemade perogies and cabbage rolls. These two classic Ukrainian foods are prepared each Tuesday (perogies) and Thursday (cabbage rolls) by volunteers, and everything is done from scratch. Penny, who has just recently stepped down after several decades of running the society’s kitchen, told me they make the dough; peel, boil, and mash the potatoes, use real cheddar, and seal every last perogie by hand.
I was very curious to know what kind of quantities they need to produce in order to feed one Friday Night Supper crowd, which can be as big as 300 people, or even more on an especially busy night. Penny told me they make 200 dozen perogies (that’s 2400) and 540 cabbage rolls – that is A LOT of dough, potatoes, cheddar, cabbage, and rice.
Thank you to all the people at the community hall last night who made me feel so welcome, and to the staff and volunteers who put on such a spectacular meal!
This is food doing good things – bringing the community together, helping raise funds, and filling hungry bellies. As if wishing to join in on the convivial spirit, the sky even behaved itself while I was having supper, and I was treated to this rain-free, warmly orange sky as I made my way home.
Sour cream-covered perogies make everything better.
The 3rd Friday of every month
5311 Francis Road, Richmond BC
Vegetarian options available