Planting a Seed at Findlay Market
One of the things we try to explain on The Original Findlay Market Tour is that the market is a perfect place to start a food-related business. The location, the foot traffic, the diversity, and the support from other vendors and connected non-profits give entrepreneurs a leg up on trying to go it alone. For example, Taste of Belgium and The Arepa Place both found initial success at Findlay Market. Taste of Belgium grew from a single waffle iron into a multi-restaurant enterprise looking to expand even farther. The Arepa Place started in a pop-up tent, took advantage of resources offered by the Findlay Kitchen, and opened their own brick-and-mortar restaurant in a relatively short amount of time. In both cases, these businesses not only serve delicious food, but also have introduced an international flavor and a whole new culture to the market.
One of my favorite entrepreneurial success stories grew from seeds planted by Sarah Dworak at Findlay Market. Sarah brought her Ukrainian dumplings to the market in 2014 in the form of Babushka Pierogies. She shared a stall with Gramma Debbie’s Kitchen, grew her business with the help of the Findlay Kitchen, and now cranks out hundreds of pierogies a week for both retail and wholesale distribution.
But for Sarah, that wasn’t enough. She, too, had more of her family’s food and culture to share. Recently, Sarah opened a place of her own called Wodka Bar on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. This unique space is a cozy bar and the perfect stop for an after work cocktail or a late night bite to eat. Sarah has designed a bar that urges you to linger a bit, sample one of over 60 kinds of vodka, chat about Old World culture, or nibble on traditional foods like pierogies found in Slavic cultures. Of course, Sarah’s pierogies are definitely here, but still at Findlay Market as well. Her roots are in the ground at the Market. Her branches continue to spread.