The Muliaroviys’ Family Restaurant

Culture defines the fundamental principles of worldviews at the level of entire countries, regions or local communities. It also teaches one to perceive and respect themselves and others regardless of ethnic, social, economic or religious differences. Our team has been working on the idea of creating an institution that would combine the best traditions of Ukrainian culture, transmitting our values far beyond the city of Ivano-Frankivsk and the whole Hutsul region. “That’s how the Muliaroviys’ Family Restaurant came about. Here we learn to understand each other through art, traditions and local cuisine, even when we speak different languages. ” – Iryna Fishchuk, owner of the Muliaroviys’ Restaurant The restaurant was founded in 1909 combines a catering facility with a museum of Hutsul culture. Our team is convinced that the kitchen is a part of intangible cultural heritage and that the way to the heart is through a delicious table. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of tourists in the world in the first half of 2020 decreased by 65% (UNWTO). For Verkhovyna Amalgamated Community the experience is much worse, being the youngest to come of he decentralization reform and as such is acutely in need of external sources of revenue and has not yet had the opportunity to develop its tourism potential. As a result of declining demand, the most affected industries were tourism, HoReCa and small producers. The ability of small companies to finance marketing activities has significantly decreased as many small businesses have found themselves on the brink of extinction and could not spend the last resources on promotion or other elements of advertising their services. In the catering segment, only establishments with a “convenient and understandable product for delivery” such as pizza or sushi were able to resume business as usual. Establishments that work with traditional dishes and products were in a losing situation, and setting up a delivery service was simply


Fig. 1. Collection of Hutsul pottery, has 600 Hutsul antiquities, 289 of which are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Muliaroviys’ Restaurant

not a sufficient solution. In the mountainous areas where the infrastructure is limited and is hard for tourists to access under normal circumstances, the pandemic restrictions have been a critical time for all small businesses, local producers and cultural institutions. Prior to the pandemic, our Restaurant was already working on achieving of SDGs No 5, 12 and 8, with among our highest values were our people, and their right for a proper salary, but in early 2020, our owners had a choice – to close the institution (following the example of many others) or to join and intensify efforts with other businesses around another goal, namely SDG No 11 – to support community development, among which the Hutsul communities centered in Verkhovyna region and the measures for the conservation of their cultural heritage are key. We had the task of developing solutions that will help us get out of the crisis as soon as possible, ensuring the highest security indicators and guided by the principles of sustainable development. ur first anti-crisis solution was to bring together local producers and buyers on a single platform without intermediaries. To accomplish this, the owners of the Restaurant became co-founders of an NGO “Road of Taste of Prykarpattia”. An association was rapidly set up including farms, representatives of the green tourism cluster and local restaurants. The purpose of the union was the implementation of gastronomic routes, following the example of cheese routes in France, wine routes in Italy, olive routes in Greece… Later, in 2021, we have already developed and implemented our first cultural and gastronomic route “Gastrotour in the footsteps of Ukrainian writers” (the everyday life of the project is here). To implement it, we united 16 local businesses including participants of the “Road of Taste of Prykarpattia”. These were small farmers, producers of local products, cheesemakers, rural estates, museums far from common tourist routes, and restaurants, which largely use the products of local farms in their menu, and are carriers of historical and cultural heritage of the region. Fig. 2. Cultural and gastronomic route “Gastrotour in the footsteps of Ukrainian writers” Thus, the “Gastrotour” leads tourists to different locations – cafes, museums, attractions, which together represent a great package for tourists and are convenient to visit from a logistical and financial point of view. For example, Ivan Franko’s favorite drink is “three-story coffee”, which can now be tasted at the “Muliaroviys’ Kneipp”. The healing water Lesya Ukrainka loved, can be tasted at “Burkut Springs” (more details are available here). The traditional covered cabbage, which was served by Mrs. Dzvonkovskaya, a friend of Ivan Franko – in a cozy restaurant “Tradition”, and there is also a visit to a real cheese factory with histories of banush, white borsch… By combining businesses around interesting literary and cultural content, we saw even greater potential and were able to form an application for the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation (UKF). “Our product is recognized as innovative and truly unique!” As a result, we received funding from the UKF to promote the cultural and gastronomic route (Figure 2). (Routes are available here, promotional videos can be viewed here and here). The tourist route “Gastrotour” and the related product “GastroExcursion” were recognized as the best in Ivano-Frankivsk, and thanks to the support of UKF we were able to present the route at the tourist exhibition and mark it. According to estimates by the NGO “Hutsulyky”, after the publishing of the “Gastrotour’s” description on the Verkhovyna village council’s website the viewings on the site increased by at least 12%. Also learning about it on social networks, users were actively asking for more details. As a result of the introduction of the “Gastrotour”, sales figures of small producers have also increased, and some cultural monuments have started to see demand for product sales in the form of souvenirs. For example, local cheese has appeared in museums, and its sales have increased by 30%. It is expected that the volume of the tourism based income of Verkhovyna Amalgamated Community will increase to 30% as a result of the project, but official data will be published only in 2022. Entrepreneurs participating in the “Gastrotour”, received significant promotion for their own businesses and, seeing the result, became even more interested in the culture and history of their region, integrating it as a permanent fixture of their business activities. We also see a demand among young people – free tours are organized for pupils and students. The official promotion was held in October 2021 and since, the tour was visited by more than 60 participants (high school and university students). Thanks to the successful implementation of the project, we now have a plan to scale the experience to other Amalgamated Communities, such as Kolomyia and Dolyna communities of Ivano-Frankivsk region.

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