Since 1917

How The Sausage is Made

Our September spotlight features R&K Sausage, a family-owned business since 1917 that specializes in ethnic Polish cuisine. R&K is famous for its TV smokies, selling 10,000 pounds a week! The company’s earliest days were spent in a building that consisted of two homes assembled into one space. They spent 85 years at this location until the great-grandchildren transitioned to a larger facility on Harvard Avenue. Based on our interview, it’s clear that R&K is serious about its sausage making and its heritage in Slavic Village. Their operations have grown over the past few decades as production has boomed for wholesale and catering. If you’re looking for an authentic experience in local cuisine, R&K Sausage delivers all your culinary needs.

R&K Sausage

The interview

How long have you been business owners in Slavic Village?

Chris, Cathy, and Marty’s great grandfather Joseph Archacki started the family business in 1917. The great-grandchildren took it over in 1990.

Can you describe the history of R&K sausage?

    • After establishing the business, Joseph passed it down to his two sons, Casey and Chester. Joseph’s granddaughter, Mary V., the self-appointed “Chairman of the Board,” then inherited the business until her three children took it over.
    • The original R&K location resided at E 64th and Lansing, but the building faced severe deterioration after decades in the 3,500 square foot space. Great-grandpa Joe had taken two homes and turned them into the site for the shop, which served them well for decades until the family was running out of room to facilitate their growing enterprise.
    • Luckily, one of the brothers discovered an excellent spot for relocating the business, located on Harvard Avenue. The building previously housed an industrial floor covering company with 8,000 square footage of space, an ideal location to fit R&K’s growing wholesale production.
    • After gutting and updating the plumbing, sprinklers, drainage, and other systems to fit code, R&K was ready to reopen its doors at its new facility in 2001.

What role does Family and Polish culture have on Your business?

    • Family is at the heart of R&K’s entire business. “All our kids have worked here, our friends have worked here. Its given people opportunities through the years before they start their careers. It’s the stepping stone for all of the families.”
Yum, Pierogi

If you could describe your mission in a few Sentences. What would it be?

    • “Carry on the family legacy.”
    • “R&K has a following, and we have people that come in every year at Christmas and Easter, and they tell us stories, how their grandparents served kielbasy and the smokies when they were younger. And then their parents served it, and they come after they have gone and carry on the tradition in their families.”
    • R&K indeed strives to carry on its cultural traditions through the generations. Their customers care equally about these valuable traditions as they return yearly for the local Polish delicacies. 

What services do you offer?

    • Historically, R&K has focused most of its efforts on retail; however, over the past few decades, the wholesale side of the business has taken off, selling over 10,000 pounds of smokies a week.
    • Their catering arm has also been successful; despite many places shutting down during COVID, the wheels are turning again. They find themselves catering to a variety of events and occasions.
    • “We’ve always stayed open with our retail. We have cooked ready-to-eat foods and sell our smokies and kielbasy up front. “
R&K 2
Our Employees

Whom do you service? Can you describe your clientele?

    • R&K sells to other wholesalers who distribute their products to bars, gas stations, and convenience stores. Their products are also sold at trade shows, the Cleveland auto show, and county fairs. In addition to the large percentage of wholesale business, a strong group of regular clientele comes in weekly for smokies and cooked food.
    • Additionally, catering has done well for the family business. They specialize in party trays of smoked meats that are sure to be a hit no matter the occasion.

What’s your favorite thing about your business? Do you have a fun fact?

    • “When we hire somebody, we plan on making you part of our family.”
    • It’s clear that R&K takes that same passion for family and translates it to their employees, ensuring everyone enjoys their time there. Some employees have been with the business for upwards of 30 years; others have relatives who join the team because of the security and close-knit attitude at R&K.
    • Cathy affectionately says, “Everyone’s personal life is more important to them than this business. You got to take care of yourself.”
    • “You come in, you get your job done, nobody is watching you, everyone’s on their own time here, and you leave when you’re done with your job. Sometimes, our packagers can get in at 8 and be gone by 11 if there are only four trucks. That’s their day and they’re happy with it; I’m happy they did their job, and they have the whole afternoon. Other times they have eight trucks, and they don’t get out of here until 4 o’clock. It works out, and they like their schedule; it’s like a flex schedule for them. “
    • “Our retail is basically run by women who have families, and there are times they’ll ask to bring their daughter in because she doesn’t have school; as long as she’s okay with it, we don’t care. It helps the women because they still have to work, but they have children to care for, so it helps them out and doesn’t bother us.”
    • “Years ago, mom (Mary V) brought us to the store when she worked for her dad; nothing’s changed.”

What do you enjoy most about or your favorite feature of the neighborhood of Slavic village?

    • Slavic Village has seen its fair share of changes since 1917, and the Archacki family has been around for generations to experience it first-hand. Growing up, some of their fondest memories included running around the neighborhood with friends, visiting aunts and uncles on Hosmer and Gertrude, Church at Sacred Heart with their grandma, and visiting the local penny stores.
    • R&K’s favorite thing about the neighborhood is its clientele that still comes in after years of living outside the City.
    • “To have them come back and say, oh yeah, my grandfather used to come here, my dad shopped here. Some people don’t realize we’re still open after moving locations, and they come in and tell us we didn’t know you were here; this is great; we’re going to tell our family.”

What do you enjoy most about or your favorite feature of the neighborhood of Slavic village?

    • Potential, Tradition, and Trust in younger generations.
How the sausage is made

How do you envision the future of the business community in Slavic village?

    • R&K envisions the business community as growing. They are eager to welcome new entrepreneurs and developers into the neighborhood to increase commerce, build housing, and create more jobs to help sustain and liven up the area. They are hoping for vibrant restaurants and other service-related businesses to spark creative endeavors that would put Slavic Village on the map.

How do you envision the future of the business community in Slavic village?

    • COVID was tough for this family business. Like many others, R&K is still trying to recover all the lost ground from the past two years. Despite the setbacks, production is back in full swing, and the positive trend of their wholesale business has remained successful. Their smokies are now sold at Heinen’s and Giant Eagle, hoping to expand to Acme Foods and larger markets.
    Our Family


    Get IN touch


    (216) 341-1251

    7700 Harvard Ave. Cleveland, OH 44105

    Visit Us

    Conveniently located in the heart of Cleveland’s Slavic Village

    Store Hours

    Mon-Wed: 8am – 4pm
    Thu-Fri: 8am – 5pm            Sat: 8am – 4pm
    Sun: Closed