The links at Zavotski Custom Meats & Deli are made with Polish pride
If there is one thing you must know about Dave and Kim Zawacki, it is this: they are the anti-pink slime.
Meat is a finicky topic of late. What we admitted carnivores used to tear into with forks, knives and teeth with nary a second thought now brings us pause, and the Zawackis aren't just conscious of this change — it's the whole reason they went into the business. They found love for each other in the supermarket chain deli (each has decades of experience managing one), but they also discovered low-grade beef and how people behind the counter were told to find any way to cut corners to make it cheaper, faster and easier. “In big business, things get so filtered and watered down,” Dave says.
Moving on and up
So they left, and started Zavotski Custom Meats & Deli in 2007. Dave holds up the links of kielbasa he makes the way other people hold their children. He and Kim survey the window view of their homemade, old-fashioned German hot dogs, chicken sausages and cuts of beef with the pride of two parents looking upon a family photo. Zavotski Custom Meats & Deli is a second home for these meat connoisseurs — if you’re a vegetarian, you may want to stop reading now — and the idea of any kind of slime, pink or otherwise, makes them shudder.
“Everything that we do is old-school here,” says Dave. “Everything you see out there is made here. We’re just an old-fashioned meat market done the way it started.” The Zawackis spent their childhoods in food-loving Polish families. “I remember my grandma making pierogi [cheese-stuffed dumplings], and going to the butcher on Lagrange St. with my grandfather,” Dave says. Polish delicacies sit on shelves and in refrigerator cases throughout their store — kielbasa Dave and Kim make themselves, fresh pierogi brought in from Michigan’s Polish enclave Hamtramck (“These people are off the boat!” Dave boasts) and golabki (stuffed cabbage). They take their status as purveyors of quality seriously; one can find Dave on their website’s opening page wielding a pair of knives in his signature Zavotski red shirt. There’s even a slab of marbled meat shaped in a heart. (They’re not kidding — they really do love meat).
Their pride is just one of the things that makes them so charming. “[We’re an] American meat market with a strong Polish heritage,” Dave says. “[And] we're really big on authenticity.”
Zavotski Custom Meats & Deli,
2600 W. Sylvania Ave. 419-720-5225.