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'Come in and eat here': Lenten lunches return to UCI in Dickinson

The UCI are pleased to announce their return for 2021, with the next lenten lunch taking place on Mar. 5, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Last year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, seemingly every community event faced cancellations — including the Ukrainian Culture Institute’s much-beloved and 20-year running program of lenten lunches. The UCI are pleased to announce their return for 2021, with the next lenten lunch taking place on Mar. 5, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Office Manager, Kate Kessel said last year, after only three lunches the institute was forced to cancel further events due to the outbreak. However, according to The City of Dickinson’s website, lenten lunches are back.

The lunches, Kessel said, will be in person and patrons will be able to come in from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday, through Mar. 26 to receive what Kessel said she believes to be authentic Ukrainian lenten lunches. Lenten lunches, according to Kessel, are by definition in-person lunches.

“Lenten lunches (are)...you come in and eat here,” Kessel said.

Lunches are typically set-up buffet style, in that patrons will be able to dish out some of their plates themselves. Menu items include pierogies, all you can eat at no extra charge, fried or baked cod and various sides including green beans, garlic beans, dill pickles, beet pickles and deviled eggs.

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As mentioned in a previously published article , the pierogi are made fresh at the institute and include flavors such as potato, sauerkraut and cottage cheese.

Kessel said if patrons would like another piece of either fried or baked cod, it will cost extra. A meal with fish, Kessel said will cost $13, however, one without fish will cost around $11.

As for desserts, Kessel said it depends upon what is brought into the institute.

“We never know what anybody’s going to (bring),” Kessel said.

Kessel said that patrons may call ahead for carryout meals as well.

Despite the return of the well-beloved meals, Kessel said the institute’s Board of Directors have decided to not allow the institute to be filled to capacity, which Kessel estimated to be around 70 people.

“We have less seating in house, but this year a lot of people are calling for their take outs,” Kessel said.

Beyond capacity restrictions due to social distancing requirements, Kessel said no further restrictions or changes to the program are in place — but noted that masks will be left up to each individual patron.

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A sample of desserts from the 2019 lunches.(Kayla Henson / The Dickinson Press)

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