Eva Zaczynski had absolutely no experience running a restaurant when she first opened Eva’s European Sweets in in 1997.
She picked a red brick building on Milton Avenue, just west of Syracuse, because she could afford the rent. As word got out in those pre-internet days, the staff kept written directions by the phone to help lost diners when they called.
She figured if she could make it one year, she'd make it two. And if she could make it two years, she'd survive for five. She did. As of July 2018, Eva Zaczynski has been in business for 21 years. It is truly a family business as both her son and daughter have helped her in the business since they were very young.
In a Syracuse.com article one of the tips Eva shared for keeping a restaurant open for so long was to “expand slowly.” Eva now serves a wide variety of Polish cuisine and European-style desserts, but the menu was not always so vast. She started small, offering a selection of cakes. Over time, she offered more meals. About 10 years ago, Eva turned a back-storage room into a second dining area. Three years ago, she reworked the entry way, adding a bar so customers would have a place to sit and wait.
Since opening in 1997 Eva’s European Sweets has developed a loyal following, becoming the most popular stand at the annual Syracuse Polish Festival. And in August 2013, Eva’s was one of 6 local restaurants visited by the Food Network star Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives. The show, titled "Euro-centric," highlighted owner Eva preparing her recipe for Hungarian Placki.
Director Joan Powers assisted Eva with developing a business plan and finding her location. Eva had tried to secure a couple of places, but they didn’t work out for one reason or another. Joan heard that a Mexican restaurant on Milton Ave. recently closed their doors, so she contacted Eva to see if she would be interested. The rest is history as they say, and Eva credits Joan for her starting her business.
Her food is authentic and delicious. Her desserts are a work of art. Just stop in and see for yourself, she’ll be around!
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Read articles and advice written by our very own Onondaga SBDC Business Advisors!