Pierogi and the Best of Polish Street Food at a Former Gentleman’s Hotel — Cooking in America
We’re right outside of Detroit in the town
called Hamtramck and we’re going to Polish Village Cafe that’s still holding
on to its heritage. Hello it smells amazing in here How long you cooking in here?
– Ten years because I come in America ten years ago and come here nd this only
– Only here
– Only here You was a teacher in Poland how many –
– How many years, 27
– 27 years you move like how you see your – I did small children
– This is for pierogi for potato pierogi. Make dough. – Later make ball, we cook potato and
make peirogi – And it can be either boiled or fried
This is the famous potato pancake and you make the dough from scratch
– Yes. This is potato this is
eggs, flour, salt, pepper, and mix together it’s dough for pancakes.
– Lots of pepper too
– Yes tastes good! – You put sauce?
– Sour cream. Sour cream or
– There you go my first Polish pancake. My favorite part is this crispy
texture on the outside but inside nice and soft. A ton of pepper that comes through. A
perfect amount of salt and then that sour cream just cuts to the fattiness of
the of it being fried
– One me, one you. – Fast, fast, fast. One more. And, like this – Order up in the window still eat now Polish village cafes is authentic
through and through. There’s not a table that is that is empty in this
place and you guys are busy
– Yes very busy – Your grandparents were the first to
come over from Poland
– Yes they came to the United States of America in 1900s
– They chose Detroit as their spot – Well they originally started off in Ohio
and then migrated to Detroit for jobs I’m guessing during that time Detroit
was hustling and bustling
– Yes yes the auto industry was really taking off so
there was lots of jobs for people – How did Polish Village Cafe come along
– Polish Village started as a gentlemen’s hotel with a dugout basement our family
remodeled it in the 70s and brought in the Polish food.
– What’s a gentlemen’s hotel?
– It was a place for bachelors. They all live together in a common space and
it was so they you know people weren’t as isolated back then. They worked, they came home, they drank a few beers in the dugout bar and they
were kind of a family.
– How did they get the opportunity to take over a place
– The bar was up for sale and my dad remembered it from his youth – he used to
shine shoes here when he was about eight or nine – and you know it
seemed like a good idea – It was always Polish food from the
– Well it started off – he had pizzas originally, a deep-dish pizza
which is sort of a Detroit classic. When the Polish food came in at
lunch time it took off much faster than the pizzas.
– The first thing that we made
was this a potato pancake usually topped off with sour cream
– Yes sour cream or apple sauce.
– What do you prefer – I put both on
– Both! Okay we’re gonna do it that way
-Just to make sure you get all the calories in there.
– Yeah…There’s a ton of
pepper in there I love those crispy edges soft in the middle the sour cream
and the apple sauce gives it that balance of sweet and sour
– These are pierogi and they’re filled with potato and cheese. Well, you can fill
them with anything really. Mushroom’s very popular, sauerkraut, blueberry, strawberry, apple- so they’re good anyway – Again crispy edges nice and soft in the middle
cheesy everything just feels so homey just right in that comfort zone
– No fancy seasonings, all salt and pepper and basic cooking.
– Yeah this is simply boiled and
then topped off with a little bit of butter
– And this is a very classic way to
– You grew up eating this? – Yes, I’ve probably eaten thousands of pierogi
– And this is the one – Hungarian pancake, yeah.
– It’s the same batter here and then top it off with this pork goulash and a little bit of
– This is a popular street dish in Poland but a lot of times
they’ll fold it over so it’s more like potato pancake taco I guess
– Okay! You could see that there’s a carrots in here bell peppers
– Polish people love the
root vegetables there’s hardly a dish that won’t have a carrot in it or a
potato or celery roots just a really homey
goulash over the top you won’t be hungry after that yeah give me a pillow for
sure yeah definitely we’re in Hamtramck and this is a very polish community yes
has it always been majority polish it started off originally I think with
Germans the Polish people were here in the heyday in the 40s and 50s but it’s
always been kind of a port of call for people to start their lives and then
move to the suburbs Detroit was once home to two million plus people
when things went bad a lot of them left but there seems to be a uprising now
it’s a little bit like an underdog City and so I think that that spirit makes
people come together especially Hamtramck which is in the middle of
Detroit is a lot of people’s their beginning so they’d like to come back
and see the city where they their families started into the restaurant
they kind of remember where they came from and remember the the values that
this country really started with growing up as kids and we see the college
burgers and hotdogs and then we couldn’t eat the hamburger because it’s not
hollow our whole play on this was to make classic American