While Greenpoint is still a bastion of Polish food, community, and culture, there was a time when pierogi purveyors were more ubiquitous than banks and drug stores, longtime neighborhood resident Richard Humann recalls. In the 1980s, the large population of single Polish men working for the American dollar made for a pierogi paradise, with bare-bones cafeterias selling the dumplings for cents at seemingly every street corner. The combination of gentrification and more opportunities to make money following the fall of communism led to the departure of many of the Polish men and the resultant closure of many pierogi vendors.
In 2018, there’s still cause for indecision when picking a pierogi spot in Greenpoint, even if the dumplings today are a bit pricier and a bit more infrequent. Below, a guide to the best local pierogis.
Opened by Krakow native and restaurant namesake Krystyna Dura in 1993, Christina’s is known for its no-frills food in a charming, but tacky diner-like space. The table service is speedy and the plates will reliably fill you up faster than you think. Sour cream will cost you 50 cents extra.
While the pierogi options at Karczma are limited, what they do have delivers. The waitresses are all dressed in traditional outfits or school uniforms and the restaurant itself feels from another era. The borscht bread bowl isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s worth a second trip back to experience it.
The pierogi here qualify more for their price and location than quality, although they’re certainly tasty too. In the back of Krajan, a Polish bodega of sorts, fridges sit full of soup, milk, meat and boxes of pierogi, $8.99 for 12, meat or cheese. Nab some cow caramels on your way out: a medium-sized bag filled with them will run you just $2.99.
Commonly known as some variation of “The Knights” due to the armored figures guarding its entrance and the hard to pronounce name, Krolewskie Jadlo is a neighborhood landmark. It earned this status not only through its memorable front but also its authentic atmosphere, hearty food, and warm environment.
The name and homey but chic decor make Polka Dot seem a bit out of place with the neighborhood’s food scene at first glance. A look at the prices and offerings will show you otherwise. If you’ve got room post pierogi, try the zucchini pancakes – like a lighter latka.
This cafeteria-style eatery hasn’t been updated in decades, prices included. The atmosphere alone is worth a visit. Don’t get too comfortable while you wait for your order – it’ll be called out in Polish when its ready for pickup at the counter.
I remember the time that I first noticed Polka Dot. I was walking down Manhattan Avenue, undoubtedly heading toward Peter Pan to satisfy my apple crumb donut addiction. Thankfully, I spotted the happy script across the street that was this little Polish cafe’s new sign. Many of you may not know that Polka Dot is in fact the reimagining of what was once the Polski Meat Market. Opened in 1996 by Marzena Parys and her husband, it’s evolved with the neighborhood into the gem that it is today. Continue reading →
They say 90% of success is showing up. Or is it 80%? Either way, Greenpoint Democratic district leader Linda Minucci is being taken to task by people who admittedly have a vested interest in seeing her challenger best her.
In their effort to educate us on all things food and drink, the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) in Williamsburg recently launched a new series of talks hoping to “preserve and promote” the culinary history and foodways surrounding specific New York City neighborhoods as a part of their MOFAD City project. Each panel takes place in that specific neighborhood with community leaders joining the discussion. After the first talk, which focused on Crown Heights, they came “back home” for “Tracing North Brooklyn’s Polish Food Heritage” Thursday May 19th in their MOFAD Lab exhibit design studio at 62 Bayard Street. The panel involved Gastropolis: Food and New York City author and Brooklyn Mompost founder, Annie Hauck-Lawson; Busy Bee Food Exchange owner, Andrew Konopka; and urban anthropologist, Filip Stabrowski.
Taste, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the new Greenpointers food series Gastronaut. Its continuing mission: to explore strange, new ingredients; to seek out new flavors and new techniques; to boldly go where no food has gone before.
Grilling season is upon us and, since Greenpoint is home to at least seven meat markets, it’s high time you upped your grilling game.
Walking into a Polish meat market can be a bit overwhelming. For starters, most, if not all, of the signage is in Polish and, at least in my experience, not everyone behind the counter speaks English. Don’t be discouraged. With a little patience and this decoder key, you’ll be the star of your summer bbq or picnic in the park. Continue reading →
Today, February 27th, is Fat Thursday (Tłusty czwartek) and according to Polish-American tradition, it’s the one day a year that every bakery and pastry shop in town sell Paczki (pronounced “poch-key”). The desert is meant to be eaten the week before Ash Wednesday, a binge snack before the fast of Lent. I asked the Polish waitresses at Peter Pan why this is and they answered simply, “tradition.” The girls explained that Paczki is eaten all year ’round in the home country, but this is the only day you can get it here. You have until 8pm tonight, or you’ll have to wait until next year.
So run, don’t walk to your nearest Polski food provider; most likely, they will be selling these doughy nuggets of joy today. Continue reading →