The second string for the win

Every once in a while, I take the family on a culinary trip back to Down Neck Newark in the 1960's with a nice Polish dinner: kielbasi, pierogi, and peas. Grocery shopping for this menu usually takes me to the café and store in the basement of the Saint Stanislaus Church hall on Interstate Avenue.

A visit to "Grandpa's," as that establishment is known, is always a fun trip. I'm usually the only one in there speaking English. The goods are all labeled in Polish, too. But the guy at the counter is bi-lingual, and so I can get what I want without any trouble.

Lately, what with the Covid and all, the café isn't open much, and crowding into that small space doesn't sound too appealing, either. And so on a rare, daring adventure at a big grocery store a couple of weeks ago, I grabbed an Olympia Provisions kielbasa and took it with me to the checkout. Then I asked the Mrs. to pick up some store-bought frozen pierogi and frozen peas from a Kroger store, which she did as part of a parking lot pickup order. It wasn't from the church, but maybe it would do.

Tonight I gave it a whirl, and the dinner turned out just fine. Not quite up to church quality, but only a slight bit behind. Bubbe's sauerkraut anchored the dish. 

I look forward to the day when "Grandpa's" is open every weekend. When you can eat in as well as take out and you're not trying to get out of there as fast as you can to save your life. But let it be known that in the meantime, we roughed it, and it was mighty tasty. Smacznego!


  1. I'm from Trenton, NJ, and I've been going to Grandpa's for decades. Best (only?) placki ziemniaczane in town.


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