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In Downtown Rochester's Polish Restaurant, Owner is Living the American Dream

'It's not fancy,' Two Sisters owner Jenny Nedanovski says — but, oh, the food!

By her own account, owner Jenny Nedanovski is living the American dream.

Perhaps it isn't exactly how she pictured it as a young woman in Macedonia — the work is hard and the streets aren't paved in gold.

But it's a better life and that's all she was looking for.

"We were so poor in our country and there was no work. No jobs, no money, it was a miserable life," Nedanovski said.

With her then-husband and son, Nedanovski made her way to America in 1973. They were part of a wave of Macedonian emigrants who left their country for new lives in the United States, Canada, Australia and other countries in Europe during that time.

She and her family settled in Michigan because a cousin already lived here. Today, according to Census figures, about 20 percent of all Macedonian Americans live in the Detroit area. 

"A lot of restaurants close, but not us"

That first year, without any money and no knowledge yet of the English language, Nedanovski worked in a factory. But she always loved to cook, so she was thrilled to find work in a restaurant — a Polish one.

When she and her husband eventually decided to open their own restaurant it was an easy decision to make it Polish fare.

23 years and counting

Nedanovski and her sister opened Two Sisters in downtown Rochester, Michigan, a suburb about 25 miles north of Detroit, in 1988. Her sister has since retired and a daughter has joined the staff.

But in a business where 59 percent of new restaurants don't make it to their third anniversary, Two Sisters has lasted 23 years without any sign of slowing down: on a downtown Main Street full of restaurants, hers has been one of the mainstays.

"The customers know everything is from scratch and that's why we've been here 23 years," Nedanovski said. "A lot of restaurants close, but not us."

Nedanovski doesn't only hang onto her customers, her staff is like family, too. Waitress Cheryl Krancevik has been at Two Sisters for 22 years.

"When I started here, my kids were in elementary school. Now they're all grown and I have five grandchildren," Krancevik said. "Jenny and I have watched each other's kids grow."

Krancevik still enjoys watching Nedanovski cook. "When she cooks, she cooks big!"

So when you come, come hungry.

Food and Family

Nedanovski starts her day cooking at 6 a.m.

The homemade stuffed cabbage takes four hours to make. The sauerkraut is made from fresh cabbage with bacon and onion and cooks for two hours.

"The pierogies are the hardest to make but everyone loves them," Nedanovski said. They come with three different fillings: cheese, potato and kraut.

Other best-sellers include the crepes and dumpling soup.

"It's not fancy, our restaurant, but the food is so good," Nedanovski said.

With the holidays around the corner, Nedanovski is focused not on her own memories of Christmases past, but on the here and now, and on her own four grandchildren. 

"I have no songs to sing from home," Nedanvoski said. "We came here to have a better life and we do have a better life."

Two Sisters is located at 121 S. Main St. in downtown Rochester. Hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. It is closed Monday. Call 248-656-3092.

You can find more articles from this ongoing series, “Dispatches: The Changing American Dream” from across the country at The Huffington Post.

Mary Lou Gloudemans December 02, 2011 at 04:11 PM
This is where I want tto eat , the next time I come to town. My mouth is watering, just reading about it.. Did you say stuffed cabbage rolls?
Sherry December 02, 2011 at 06:13 PM
oh, Two Sisters is sooooo yummy. The combo platter is so great b/c you can have a little of everything. Even people who don't usually like sauerkraut should try it here-- AMAZING!!
Laura Cassar December 02, 2011 at 08:11 PM
A reader on facebook suggested trying it after Sunday's parade! An excellent idea. Warm comfort food will hit the spot after that!
Marianna December 03, 2011 at 12:04 AM
The pancakes at Two Sisters are great....light not heavy. I also highly recommend the omelets.
Pam Purnell June 10, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Didn't they just announce they were closing due to business dropping off from the construction?
Laura Cassar June 10, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Yes, this story ran December of 2011. Sadly, Two Sisters is closing due to construction and the owner's health issues.

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