Port Richmond is known for its prominent Polish and Polish American communities. While younger, newer crowds enter the city and surrounding areas, many continue to try the Polish restaurants, delis and bakeries that the area is celebrated for to taste authentic Polish goods, whether sweet or savory.
Kielbasa at Krakus Market
Krakus Market (pictured above) is a family-owned Polish supermarket offering all kinds of Polish goods, from sweets and breads, to sauerkraut and homemade pierogies. But the real customer favorite here is their natural, smoked homemade kielbasa. From “regular smoked” zwyczajna to kabanosy, or in other words, a Polish Slim Jim, Krakus has all different varieties of kielbasa. Customers can also try their restaurant, Staropolska, which is located right in the front of their store. Manager Sylvia Gardyasz said the top-selling item at Staropolska is the soups.
“We make all of our soups from scratch,” Gardyasz said.
Golabki at Syrenka Luncheonette
Syrenka Luncheonette is an authentic favorite in Port Richmond, which is why many ignore the outdated decor and brightly colored table cloths in favor of traditional Polish dishes. Three photos of a young Robin Williams cooking food back in 1998 at Syrenka hang on the wall, serving as a reminder that the cafeteria-style establishment brings in regulars and tourists alike. Employee Monika Styczynski, above, holds a top-selling dish known as golabki, boiled cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and beef.
Pierogies at Super Delicatessen
A small deli in the middle of bustling Allegheny Avenue, Super Delicattessen is a quick-shop stop for locals. The fridge in the front of the store is stuffed with their famous homemade pierogies and some more unconventional choices, like blueberry pierogies. Also offering sweets, the staff is quick to reassure customers that their desserts are authentic Polish dishes.
“We use real cheese in our cheesecakes,” said employee Ewa Vragan. “We call cream cheese fake cheese.”
Chrusciki at Marian’s Bakery
The smell of freshly baked dough is the staple of Marian’s Bakery. From paczki, deep-fried dough filled with different jelly-like flavors, to babka, a rich, sweet cake, this bakery delivers all of the deliciousness of traditional Polish baked goods. Their most popular dessert is chrusciki, sometimes known as angel wings. These deep-fried, cookie-like sweets are a Polish specialty and popular at weddings and holidays, making Christmas their busiest time of the year. Owner Raymond Dabitz, above, weighs chrusciki.
Bigos at Donna’s Bar
Donna’s Bar is a place for regulars, otherwise referred to by staff as “the good guys.” Bartender and server Irene Hartley said that the nightly crew is usually Polish American men that come in after work. But even at 9 a.m., Donna’s Bar hosts a crowd. Hartley recommends bigos, a “hunter’s stew” of meat and sauerkraut. This bar doesn’t look like much from the outside, but proves to be a comfy go-to place for some warm, perfectly-seasoned stew, friendly service and a chat with local Port Richmond residents.
– Text and images by by Regan Abato and Kerriann Raimo.