Little Russia resident shares impact of Porubsky’s closing down

“There’s nothing down here but that...”
Porubsky's(WIBW/Eric Ives)
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The iconic Northeast Topeka store, Porubsky’s Deli and Tavern, has been a staple within the ‘Little Russia’ community since 1947.

A nephew, Matthew Porubsky, of store owner Charlie Porubsky told 13 News his uncle’s decision to close was simply because it felt like the right time.

Video taken from the 13 News archives show Charlie Porubsky when they chose their not seeling chili in 1992. That was big news.

“This time tomorrow, you won’t even know that we were even in the chili business, everything will be put away and we’ll have it all put away for another six months,” he said to then 13 News Reporter Russ Ptacek.

The long-time Little Russia go-to shop now is closed.

“Sometimes you just have that feeling, when your family just needs a break,” said Matthew Porubsky. He continued saying Charlie was just ready to “relax and put up his feet.”

Little Russia residents, like Alex Espinoza, were shocked to hear that.

“Just the idea of it not being here is hard enough. It really is, like, I was shocked when you said that because it’s something that you think is always going to be here,” he said.

Espinoza said his parents knew the Porbusky’s when they opened in 1947. The family locked the doors for good on April 30th, 75 years later ending its run of hot pickles, cold plates, and chili season.

“It (pickles) was great and their horseradish sure took your breath away and the chili too, that was something special,” said Espinoza. “Their sandwiches, man they were great. They would always put a lot of meat on it and everything, and it was just nice in there, it was friendly.”

Matthew said Charlie and his sister Cecelia want the community to know they are so thankful for those who came by their store, and found joy and even a home there. He said it was a special place.

Espinoza seconds the sentiment as one of his favorite restaurants is no longer right next door.

“Being in here in Little Russia, there’s nothing down here but that. So for it to be gone, it’s not going to be the same.”

Matthew Porubsky said the future of some of their prized recipes is unknown at this time.

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