Czechs in the City: The Czech-American Experience in Cleveland

A Night at Marta’s | February 26, 2009

 

Jessica, Mary, Tahnee, and Pete enjoy a Czech dinner at Marta's in Euclid

Jessica, Mary, Tahnee, and Pete enjoy a Czech dinner at Marta's in Euclid

The class enjoyed an evening out last night! We ventured to Euclid, OH to experience Czech cuisine at Marta’s Restaurant and Bar. We dined on potato pancakes, chicken paprikash, pierogies, dumplings, spaetzels and duck. Our intention was to feast and discuss literature reviews, but only a few of us were able to share our new found sources. Nonetheless, it was a pleasant evening.

 

I arrived a bit early and took the opportunity to speak with Marta herself. In 1985, her family of four, her husband and her two sons, “escaped” the Czech Republic to find comfort in America. They worked with immigration services and arrived directly in Cleveland. They came to Euclid because friends of theirs were connected to the local manufacturing facility, so her husband would have employment right away. The president of the company was Czech. Their new home was a rental a few blocks from the plant, which was convenient because they had no money to purchase a car or even pay bus fair. It was easy for them to get around.

The family brought very little with them. Marta mentioned that they really only brought clothes for the trip and the little money that had. She stressed that “when you are escaping” it is hard to think about material things. I didn’t have the chance to pursue what she was escaping from, but her demeanor as she spoke was tense. I asked if she missed “home”. She replied “sometimes”. She has traveled back a few times in the past twenty plus years, but she prefers America much more. She really never thinks about moving back.  Behold opportunity, America.

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Greetings! I hope you find our site engaging. We are working on a Czech-American public history project and trying to find out about as much Czech culture as we can. I am working on this project as a graduate student of Historic Preservation and enjoy uncovering the traditions of past and making the connections to the present. - M.Ogle

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