It was a family decision to create Taste of Ukraine to share the rich Ukrainian heritage that we grew up with and learned to nurture and love. Food is a central component of the Ukrainian experience. Ukrainian hospitality revolves around good food and plenty of it. Our doors of hospitality officially opened October 15, 2004 in Edmonton. We were quite comfortably happy in our original location on Jasper Ave. for 7 years, but fate plays its hand when least expected and we were asked to vacate the premises to make room for progress. Our building was slated for demolition and we were forced to look for a new home. Edmonton’s loss turns out to be St. Albert’s gain. We opened our new Taste of Ukraine Restaurant in St. Albert November 10, 2011. In the combined locations, we have now celebrated 17 years of business — how quickly the time has passed! It is undeniable that times have been particularly tough for the restaurant industry since the Covid 19 pandemic has hit us. We continue to strive and struggle to keep our doors open for service in spite of all the obstacles the pandemic presents.
Since childhood we have known that at the heart of all entertaining was what ‘mama’ prepared in the kitchen. We have not one ‘mama’ in our kitchen at Taste of Ukraine but an entire team of proud surrogate ‘mamas’ who pledge to bring to your table the most authentic, fresh and tasty Ukrainian dishes possible.
George (a.k.a. Yuriy) and Orysia ( a.k.a. Odarka) and son Andriy, daughter Natalka and her husband, Aaron Sorochan are at the heart of Taste of Ukraine and its success. Every item of decor and every item on the menu has been carefully planned out, discussed and approved by the family group. The entire restaurant has been a family project from the start and every member of the family holds a key role in the mechanics of the daily operation. 2021 marks the 17th Anniversary since launching Taste of Ukraine in the original downtown Edmonton location on Jasper Avenue and now continuing in the new St. Albert location. Andriy is our longest ‘fulltime guy’ since opening in 2004. George and Orysia have now been retired from teaching for 14 years and are eager to slow down and pass the operation over to the ‘youngsters’. Fortunately, Natalka has also chosen to join the family at Taste of Ukraine on a full time basis since graduating from university. Eleven years ago Natalka married her soul mate, Aaron Sorochan, who has fallen in love not only with “the girl” but also “the restaurant”. Consequently, Aaron is now a welcome addition to the family restaurant scene. There is seldom an evening when you will not see them all at the restaurant. All five of us still make all the varenyky (perogies) in weekly work bees but everyone has a unique talent to offer in our restaurant formula. Orysia makes the borsch and pickles, creates all the special feature menus and over-sees the quality control of the menu items, while George is the ‘go-to’ man for all the answers– the Master ‘Mr. Fix-It’ of the operation. Andriy, Natalka and Aaron are the ‘front of house’ experts, serving up the great food and visiting with customers while keeping up with behind the scenes duties and routines in between. All three are eager ‘students’ of every aspect of the business as they ease into being the next in line as George & Orysia plan for more retirement days ahead. Most recently, the duties have already been slightly modified with the addition of precious grandchildren to our growing little family– Petra, our oldest, her younger brother, Leo and most recently we have welcomed baby brother #2, little Georgie. With 3 kids in tow, Natalka is now working all her Super Mom ‘shifts’ at home with no time for the restaurant. And the arrival of the new baby means good news for George & Orysia who are getting rather expert at practicing their Baba & Dido skills. Andriy’s wife of ten years, Kara, also plays a vital role in the success of the business with her patience during Andriy’s long and late hours at the restaurant. Recently Kara has taken on the role of ‘drop in helping hand gal’. During busy times, she is indispensable for those little extra jobs where a ‘third hand’ is so helpful. As the family expands and we grow with our 17 years of business experience, Taste of Ukraine just keeps getting better with the introduction of new perspectives and new energy. This restaurant is more than a business for the Wozniaks. It is a family labor of love—a dream come true.
We hope that Taste of Ukraine makes every person of Ukrainian heritage proud to bring guests to dine here. We hope that for anyone whose first experience with Ukrainian cuisine is Taste of Ukraine that it is a positive and memorable event.