Red Rock Deli – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Red Rock Deli on Lomas Blvd.

America may be a multicultural melting pot, but thriving within its most populous metropolises are ethnic neighborhoods–pockets of diversity residing in two worlds, retaining many of the cultural and culinary traditions of their motherland while integrating into and pursuing the American dream.  Cities such as Chicago have long realized that these ethnic enclaves offer a treasure trove of cultural and culinary experiences.  Most of these neighborhoods welcome culinary tourism–the opportunity to showcase the cuisine of their homelands. 

One such example is the city of Chicago which boasts of the largest Polish population outside of Warsaw (as many as 183,000 by some estimates) in the world.   Storefronts and restaurants in “Little Poland” on Chicago’s far Northwest side are bedecked in the white and red flag of Poland.  They offer everything from pierogies to kielbasa.  Every Labor Day weekend Chicago celebrates its Polish heritage at the Taste of Polonia festival where Polish cuisine and culture are showcased.

The interior of the Red Rock Deli. Can you tell it was once a Subway Restaurant?

Obviously Albuquerque doesn’t have the population to support a “Chinatown” or a “Little Poland,” but the Duke City does offer multicultural dining diversity.  Although several of the city’s ethnic restaurants are clustered throughout the International District, many others are strewn throughout the metropolitan area where they’ve integrated into the fabric of  neighborhoods which may or may not have an ethnic population base.  

One such restaurant is the Red Rock Deli which opened its doors in October, 2014 in the far Northeast Heights.  Featuring the cuisine of Poland and Eastern Europe, the Red Rock Deli sits on Lomas just west of Tramway.  Situated in a timeworn shopping center, it occupies the easternmost storefront in a complex which also houses the Ali Baba Food Mart.

Ukrainian Borscht

If you’ve ever been blessed with the opportunity to visit Chicago’s Little Poland, the Red Rock Deli will seem very familiar once you step within its doors.  To your immediate right are shelves stocked with comestibles such as red borscht, sauerkraut, jams and so much more.  Make sure to peruse the freezers where savory and sweet pierogies, stuffed cabbage and other items can be purchased.  Other shelves are jam-packed with candy, cookies, beverages and other grocery items not usually found in Duke City stores. 

Owner Mark Toczek spent his formative years in Poland before moving first to Germany then to Chicago (which he visits frequently to stock up on the items which grace his shelves and his deli’s menu).  In 1995, he launched the Red Rock General Store in Blanca, Colorado just outside the Great Sand Dunes National Park about 1.5 hours north of Taos.  The Red Rock General Store has long been TripAdvisor‘s highest rated restaurant in the area. 

Russian Roulette, a mix of six different kinds of pierogi

Mark, who launched the Red Rock Deli in October, 2014, is an effusive and hands-on owner with a high likeability quotient and a welcoming smile for everyone.  In fact, for sheer customer orientation and making all guests feel welcome, he’s in rarefied company with the superb staff at Joe’s Pasta House in Rio Rancho.    Initially he operated the deli with the help of his sweet mother Jadwiga, but she passed away in January, 2015.   

While the walls are papered with imagery depicting New York’s subway system (a remnant from the years in which the store housed a Subway restaurant), the menu is proudly and prominently Chicago and not just the Little Poland section of the Windy City.  Windy City transplants are sure to find several things that will transport them back home to Chicago.

The Polish Polish

Our eyes immediately gravitated on the menu to the Italian Beef sandwich, a Chicago staple.  Also catching our eyes was menudo, a New Mexico favorite among intrepid diners.  The menu has four sections, the first of which lists three Polish sausage options.  Six hot dogs (including Chicago-style and a New Yorker) precede twelve sandwich options (including Angus hamburgers) on the menu.  The “specialties” section of the menu lists the Polish specialties along with the aforementioned menudo as well as blood sausage.

4 April 2015: During our second visit, Mark surprised us with a complimentary bowl of Ukrainian Borscht served piping hot.  The borscht is made by Mark’s talented wife and is as comforting and delicious as any vegetarian soup you’ll find in the Duke City.  A light, savory meatless broth redolent with cabbage and beets (accounting for its reddish hue) includes potatoes, carrots, kidney beans and jut a tinge of salt and pepper.  It’s a wonderful soup!

Pyzy

21 November 2014: It’s not often (if ever) the term Russian Roulette elicits smiles, but at the Red Rock Deli you just might find yourself drooling at the mention.  Russian Roulette is a mix of six different kinds of pierogi (a sweet Russian Roulette option offers six different kinds of pierogi with sweet stuffing) from among the nine variants of savory stuffing available at Red Rock).  For a pittance, you can have the pierogi fried with onions and bacon.  It’s a winning combination. 

21 November 2014: The pierogi are about the size of a Chinese dim sum dumpling or about two bites worth.  They’re served with a generous dollop of sour cream, not that it’s needed when you can scoop them up with crispy bacon and onions fried to a pearlescent sheen.  Among the nine available options with which the pierogi can be stuffed are potato, sauerkraut, ground meat, cabbage and spinach.  All are very good with our very favorite being the spinach stuffing.  In our increasingly cosmopolitan world in which the unusual and unique are embraced, it’s nice to enjoy old-fashioned and traditional pierogi. 

Denuded Chicago-Style Hotdog

4 April 2015:  Pyzy, yet another form of Polish dumplings, may be difficult to pronounce, but they’re delicious to eat.  Unlike the pierogies on the menu whose wrappers could pass for those used on Chinese dumplings, these are most assuredly and unmistakably potato dumplings.  They even look like boiled potatoes with a doughy wrapper made from potatoes and stuffed with meat.  Texturally, they’re soft and pliable as dumpling wrappers tend to be.  The meat stuffing is nicely seasoned and complements the wrappers very well.  Don’t forget to pay the pittance for having them fried with onions and bacon, a combination which improves everything.

21 November 2014: Of the three Polish sausage options, we couldn’t pass up the one anadiplotic name–Polish Polish, a hot dog style sandwich with Polish sausage, brown mustard and pickled jalapeños.  What you’ll notice first about the Polish Polish is the bolillo-style bread which resembles the bread used on Sonoran hot dogs.  Mark procures this bread from Colorado.  It’s so good you’ll want to use it on all your future sausage and hot dogs.  It has a dense and crusty exterior and a soft, pillowy interior.  The Polish sausage nestled within that bread is procured from Chicago and is sliced diagonally.  It’s a coarse, garlicky and smoky sausage with a natural casing that snaps when you bite into it.  The pearlescent onions and pickled jalapeños complement the sausage very well.

Italian Beef

21 November 2014: For my Chicago born-and-bred Kim, only a Chicago-style hot dog would do though by omitting the tomatoes, pickles, jalapeño (normally sport peppers are used) and even the celery salt, you could hardly call it a traditional Chicago hot dog.  Its only claims to Chicago were the neon green relish, mustard and a Vienna Beef hot dog directly from Chicago.  Vienna Beef hot dogs have a natural casing that gives them a discernible snap when you bite into them.   The same delightful buns used on the Polish Polish sheath the hot dog which extends beyond the bun by a good inch on both sides. 

21 November 2014: Among the foods most expatriated Chicagoans tend to miss most–no matter where they may settle–is the uniquely Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich, about which Thrillist wrote “Some cities were built on rock ‘n’ roll, but Chicago was built on big, greasy meat mountains on rolls.”  The Italian Beef sandwich features thinly-sliced, slow-roasted roast beef dripping with homemade Italian gravy on a dense, long Italian-style roll.  There are at least four Duke City eateries now serving Italian Beef sandwiches and (with apologies to Pizza 9)  none of them make a better one than the Red Rock Deli.  Quite simply, it’s got all the elements of an authentic Chicago Italian beef sandwich and can be prepared with your choice of sweet peppers or hot giardiniera (or both). It’s Chicago good!  My friend Larry McGoldrick makes the case that it’s even better than the Italian beef sandwich at Portillo’s.  Who am I to argue?

Lincoln Pork Sandwich

4 April 2015: One of the more interesting items on a very interesting menu has the curious name “Lincoln Pork Sandwich.”  It’s easy for Chicago transplants (and those of us married to them) to assume this sandwich is named for Lincoln Park, a community area in northeast Chicago bordering Lake Michigan.  Instead, Mark will explain, the sandwich has everything to do with the cost of pork.  When pork was a relatively inexpensive meat, he could afford to sell the sandwich for five dollars, the denomination sporting Abe Lincoln’s stoic countenance.  Today the sandwich is priced at just south of eight dollars.  When the rising cost of pork forces a price escalation to ten dollars, the sandwich will be renamed the Hamilton Pork Sandwich.  Alexander Hamilton is the face on the ten dollar bill. 

The Lincoln Pork Sandwich is terrific!  At its essence it’s a breaded pork cutlet nestled on a gilded bun.  If that sounds pretty boring, count on Mark to embellish the sandwich with excitement courtesy of mustard, mayo, pickles, jalapeños and lettuce.  It’s a winning formula.  The pork cutlet is pounded thin and not even Sherlock Holmes would be able to find fat or sinew.  The combination of jalapeños, mustard and mayo provides bold and contrasting flavors while the may adds a touch of richness.  My Kim, who usually has an aversion to breaded anything, enjoyed this delightfully delicious sandwich as much as I did. 

Gyros

4 April 2015:  Chicago’s Greektown district has a distinctive dining and nightlife scene that celebrates the culture and cuisine of the Greek population.  To assume you can find excellent gyros is an understatement.  Some of the very best gyros you’ll ever find in the fruited plain are prepared and served in this area.  Mark imports both the lamb-beef amalgam and the pita bread from Chicago and the quality shows.  That quality is also evident in the thick, sour-tangy Tzatziki with its pronounced yogurt and cucumber flavor profile. The pita is moist and pliable and didn’t dry up and harden as some pita is apt to do.  Just a modicum of hopped onions and tomatoes makes this a sandwich as opposed to a salad with meat.  The gyros is accompanied by baked potato skin chips, my new favorite potato chip.

21 November 2014: Dessert options include the aforementioned sweet pierogi and nalesniki, crepes stuffed with sweet farmer cheese fried in butter and served with sour cream and powdered sugar.  Texturally similar to cottage cheese, farmer cheese is a fresh, dry-curd cheese with a tangy flavor.  Stuffed into crepes topped with powdered sugar, this dessert is rich and delicious without the cloying flavor found on some crepes.

Nalesniki

4 April 2015: The premise of Russian Roulette, a potentially lethal game of chance, is frightening, but at the Red Rock Deli, Russian Roulette may forever change what you think of the term.   Sweet Russian Roulette, a mix of six different types of pierogies stuffed with a sweet filling and topped with sour cream and (usually) powdered sugar is more like a Russian dream.  When available, the sweet pierogies are spritzed with “forest sauce,” a tangy-sweet, light syrupy sauce made from berries which grow in the forest.  The pierogies are stuffed with such delicious fillings as cranberries, plum and farmer’s cheese.  There are few desserts quite as exciting and delicious, especially when forest sauce is drizzled generously.

18 February 2016: It was a given that my friends and fellow gastronomes Larry McGoldrick and Dazzling Deanell would also enjoy the Sweet Russian Roulette as they had its savory counterpart.  What I could not have predicted is that they would introduce savory elements to a dessert entree that needs no amelioration.   Perhaps as a lark,  Larry, the esteemed professor with the perspicacious palate, wondered out loud what the sweet pierogi he described as “OMG delicious” would taste like with the fried bacon and onions used on the savory pierogi.  It turns out the bacon and onion combination goes very well with the sweet pierogi.  Is it any wonder Professor Larry was such an innovative software engineer and oceanographer before sharing his savvy insights online.

Menudo Polish Style

18 February 2016: If there’s one traditional New Mexican dish that has not transcended generations, it’s menudo, the dish constructed from yellowish, spongy, honeycomb-structured “innards” (can you say tripe) and chile.  Young folks (and not just millennials) find the texture, aroma and flavor more than a bit off-putting, a phenomena that generally occurs when you tell them what menudo is a tripe dish.  Even more “seasoned” diners don’t often list menudo as a favorite dish.  We found it very interesting that a Polish restaurant would offer a variation on menudo.  What makes it Polish is the infusion of Hungarian spicy paprika, a seasoning that imparts a pleasantly piquant personality.  Texturally, the tripe is thinner than what you’d find in New Mexican menudo, but it’s just a bit on the chewy side (though not quite rubbery).  This is an interesting variation on a traditional dish not everyone loves.

The Red Rock Deli is a welcome addition to Albuquerque’s increasingly diverse culinary scene. You need not know anything about Polish cuisine. If you love a great hot dog, a terrific sandwich or a Chicago style deli, you’ll be right at home.

Sweet Russian Roulette

Red Rock Deli
13025 Lomas Blvd, N.E., Suite C
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 332-9656 

Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 18 February 2016
1st VISIT: 21 November 2014
# OF VISITS: 3
RATING: 23
COST: $ – $$
BEST BET: Italian Beef Sandwich, Classic Hotdog, Polish Polish, Nalesniki, Russian Roulette (Sweet and Savory Pierogies), Gyros, Lincoln Pork Sandwich

Red Rock Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

19 comments

  • BOTVOLR

    Thank Goodness had reason to be over on that side of town to stop in for a stash of Hungarian Kielbasa!
    Blush! Mark has accessorized the place with some bountiful shelving (vs e.g. Gil’s opening pic) of delectable Yum Yums from various countries of Eastern Europe including more refrigerated stuff. If Y’all don’t know what’s what, he has hired a most Yummy “Clerk”, with a braid that goes on and on, to assist you. Where does he come up with these Chicas? Surprise her ala what I just taught her phonetically: Yak shay mash! She is most hospitable. Speaking of which, I hadn’t met Mark’s, as we might say here as “Vieja”, his would be “Staruszka” which I never knew as a kid till now….hopefully he’ll take it as lovingly slang!!! Anyway, she is a delight in patiently putting up with my bit of Polish humor.
    Bottom line? If you’ve never been cuz ya think it is too far, go to get some canned/packaged delights as well as e.g. some frozen pierogies or pastries to combine with a stop at so so many of Gil’s recommendations per “that” side of town.
    Dobranoc!

  • Mary Kroner

    I just tried the Red Rock Deli today. The food took me right back to my Polish grandmother’s kitchen in Milwaukee. The sausages were fantastic and the house-made sauerkraut and bigos (sauerkraut stew) and potato salad complemented them perfectly. I will return to work my way all through the tantalizing menu.

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  • Gil, it should come as no surprise that I love the combination of sweet and savory. It was you who introduced me to Capirotada at Cecilia’s and El Paragua. ‘-)

    While it’s still Lent, shall we go have some?

  • BOTVOLR

    Just dropped in for my cross town stash of addictive Hungarian Kielbasa and frozen Polish Pierogi. For variety, got meat filled as well as mushroom/kapusta !!! OMG… also this time, I espied some fruited pierogies, but as my Babcia and Ciotki never made them, I couldn’t get into/imagine them yet, but I’ve vowed to get some next time. Checked with my 85 yo uncle who said he never heard of them either, but later I can find “Martha’s (Polish) Mom” making some!
    -RRD continues well stocked with jams, cookies, chocolates, “canned” veggies, etc. from various countries. As before, there were several Folks “dining in”.
    – Addendum re using frozen pierogi: As the package indicates, you will boil them for about 4 minutes (some eat ’em that way). Then drain ’em and saute ’em in melted butter/marg, diced onions, and diced bacon. In lieu of real stuff, I recently upgraded to using a sprinkle of Knorr’s French Onion soup mix as well as McCormick Bac’n Pieces instead! Re the Fruited one’s, I’ve read: “In a large pot, bring water seasoned with salt to a boil. Place a few of the pierogi in the water. Don’t overfill. Stir gently. Once the pierogi rise, cook for an additional 2 minutes to heat the filling. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pierogi to a serving dish. Place dabs of softened butter over the pierogi, drizzle with heavy cream, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.” Martha alludes to some sour cream alternate “toppings”: http://tinyurl.com/o4cvxag
    – (Easy access off Tramway or I-40: http://tinyurl.com/o8uhwms)
    – Unfortunately, Mark was out at the moment.
    Bardzo smaczne!

  • Johnny Sandoval

    oh and also the young man you have working there with the blonde hair and blue eyes I think you guys should give him a raise(:

  • Johnny Sandoval

    wow I cannot believe your guyses customer service and how nice you guys are you guys have the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted and almost everything else inside of there you guys are friendly and nice and you now on my favorite little restaurant to go to whenever I need relaxing

  • BOTVOLR

    This past May 1st, Andrea Lin…a well known Commentator of Restaurant Dining for the Albuquerque Journal, put forth her review of the RRD. As some Folks herein may no longer subscribe, thought Y’all, and Newbies to this Blog, might like to read a confirmation of what Gil has presented: http://tinyurl.com/k3ghayb

    • I had dinner with the lovely Andrea the evening before she visited Red Rock Deli. I told her to set her expectations high, that Mark and his crew would deliver. It was great to see how much she enjoyed her visit. If the Red Rock Deli was any closer, I’d move in and would probably weigh 400 pounds.

  • BOTVOLR

    I recently received word from an expert on things Polish (a classmate from a Polish grammar school) that the plural form of “pierogi” is “pierogi” and not, as I’ve been prone to blabber, “pierogies”. The singular? “pierog”!

  • BOTVOLR

    Whoa! After reading my take on “22”, a friend “back East” chided me about what I was mixing with my Moxie while writing that!!! Whoa…as I couldn’t imagine such a thing given the taste of Moxie, I Googled and found several website offerings including this http://tinyurl.com/klo4lgc which includes one using tequila!!! which, to be PC, one might try calling it a Moxirita when any of Y’all visit this year!!!

  • BOTVOLR

    Whoa re “22 Things…..” So sorry!!! I started writing a response, but saved it in Drafts and, alas, forgot and never finished!!! (Eh…don’t chastize! A ‘Pass’ is a “perk” of aging!!!)
    Per my count re 22 Things: Don’t forget, in terms of your time in MA, t’was eons after mine….LOL
    ~Necco Wafers: Bah! contrary to the author, these were a great treat cuz in contrast to a delicious Clark baah, there were so many of them for a nickel as well! Some kids delighted in using them to practice, albeit sacrilegiously, being priests!!!!
    ~Moxie: Invented in my hometown of all places in 1876!!! originally as a patent medicine. Like one has to be a Manly-Man to eat Menudo in NM, you have to have been the same http://tinyurl.com/p9c7pdr with lots of moxie to drink Moxie. (Whoa! What a coincidence re the menudo reference!!! Ted was 1/2 Mexican!!!) Appreciating Moxie is probably a great example of my harangue about palates being physically different/unique tastewise. Yo, Moxie has survived to this day and is the ‘legal’ State “soda” of Maine!
    ~Friendly’s Buffalo chicken tenders etc. Hadn’t spread to my part of MA till after I left. I’da thunk the Orange Roofed Howard Johnsons which included 28 ice cream flavors since way back when http://tinyurl.com/kqnhfxh would have been more representative of NE.
    ~Coffee Milk…my addiction was indeed Coffee Time Syrup as carried over to favoring White Russians today…LOL Bless my Mom’s soul: she sent me a freekin case my first year off in college in CA!!!
    ~FlufferNutter sandwich…I guess we were richer cuz we added Welsh’s Grape Jelly for a threesome and had a toaster…LOL
    ~Hoodsie Cups: They used to have pics of movie stars under the lid as a “trading card” come-on. A Hoodsie was also slang for a Tween gal who frothed for a teen Guy with a car as she would lean/sit on his car’s hood in provocative adoration.
    ~Wachusett or Cape Cod Potato Chips…Uh, I’m retasting nicely greasily and salted Wise Potato Chips with an owl on the clear cellophane bag was Primo as it is today. Cape Cod just came on the scene circa 1980!!!! A Yuppie thing.
    ~Frappes: “This is what we call milkshakes, except something about calling them “frappes” makes them taste better.” Again I question the author’s firsthand experience vs reading things off the internet!: Milkshakes were milk, ice cream, and syrup (vanilla, choc. etc.) mixed briefly with this http://tinyurl.com/l59877t. They are a thick mush usually to be eaten with a spoon. A Frappe was blended more vigorously whereby it had an aerated quality and could be readily sipped including through a straw. If you tilted a glass thereof and tapped part of the bottom edge on the counter, it gave a unique vibration feel.
    ~ Ocean Spray Cran-everything: Still can recall my embarrassment watching a college classmate’s CA (enuf said) Mom open a bag of ‘berries’, from the bogs of southern MA of all places, and not open a can from which to “slice” cranberry sauce for a Thanksgiving dinner…LOL
    ~Lobster Rolls: Again, this author is out of it! Look at that roll and this specially made one with its “shaved” side to be butterily-grilled http://tinyurl.com/lvcv5ms including the mayoed contents!!
    ~American chop suey (ACS): Of course, my first intro to Chinese Chop Suey! I love coincidences: Just yesterday my Sis said she had to pick up some “home made” ACS for just one of the 3 G-daughters they’ll be child-caring for this week, when they pick up their own supply of Rochette’s (i.e. note not Baahstan) Bean’s for their own Saturday night ritual. Who says The Chains are the destroyer of the neighborhood store? This one’s been around 100 years in a neighborhood of The Irish and Greeks, then the Canucks, then the PRs, and now southeast Asians through its savvy of offering what people want and value. http://tinyurl.com/kfa6alm Of course having a mega parking lot (and especially during New England snow falls), doesn’t hurt!!!! http://tinyurl.com/kyqd7e5 Aaah yes….Beans, Beans, the magical fruit, the more ya eat, the more ya……toot!
    ~~~ Again, pardon, Thanks for indulging me rattling on, but to hopefully promote a visit to my historic hometown for some of Y’all who may be planning vacations to Baahstan and New England this summaah, let alone Fall for Leaf-Peeping!!! http://www.yankeemagazine.com/
    “Chow!”
    PS…Ooops: Tip o da Day! When I was going to saute up some of the frozen pierogies Mark offers therein, i.e. after letting them thaw out, I forgot to get an onion to mix with the butter. Eh! for me, sprinkling in some contents from a pouch of Lipton Onion Soup was a great quick fix!!! In the meantime, got to get me some Bac-Os! LOL

  • Thank you so much for spreading the word about Polish food available at Red Rock Deli!
    Ania from New Mexico Polonia blog 🙂

  • BOTVOLR

    Finally…made it! As a kid I did not, unfortunately, learn about the nuances of what Polish food had to offer, so was a bit awed by the variety of imported stuff Mark is stocking…including a Concha from Bimbo’s …LOL. Besides what Gil noted, much of it is imported from Poland like chocolate…sorry, am drooling per a bit of dark with a cherry center am eating right now. I also picked up a Blackcurrent nectar from a 1936 company which I’m chilling as I’m out of vodka. (Oh! lest not known, vodka was invented in Poland, not Russia as is stereotyped.)(99 wrds Marker…LOL…Sorry!)
    Pardon, am back….had to slice off a couple of slivers of (addictive) kielbasa. Bot a “stick” of Hungarian, one of 4 samples tried, vs an “original”. Mark suggested my choice might be due to my now acculturated New Mexican palate…Hmm. Per recent heads up by my 85 yr old Uncle, I’m thinking my exposure to kielbasa was that of ‘smoked’ per how my Dziadzu made his in the cellar of his tiny meat market.

    For in house, ordered the Russian Roulette Pierogies. Alas, while 3/4 the size my Babcia (c=ch) made, I’d say the gestalt was similar, especially as I asked Mark to fry ’em up in the buttery onion/bacon mix. Whoa, am outta shape as I couldn’t eat my six…i.e. per their rich-stick-to-the-ribs quality…..altho I did plan to save a couple for the Golumpki (l=w) (rice/hamburg stuffed cabbage leaf) ‘plate’ I ordered to go.

    Alas, can’t report more on Mark as other folks kept coming in per the Sat. noon hour. Was fun however in chatting with a transplanted Pole from Milwaukee per being a 90 yr old WW II Vet and then a Pani (by marriage) from NY out visiting her son. Bottom line: while it might give the appearance of being a ‘fast food’ restaurant, it is not. It’s a place to ‘chill out’ just a few moments while Mark sautes up your Pierogi or preps your Golumpki or other dishes!!! That day he was also breaking-in a clean cut Manzano High (ROTC) teen.

    While it may seem a trip, I think it’s worth it being only “a hop, skip” (not even a jump) west off Tramway which, besides it’s swift MPH, offers a chance for Grande views of the Valle to enjoy. Oh, in addition…for variety of tastes…it’s next to the Ali Baba’s which I’ve not tried. Who doesn’t remember “O p e n Sesame!!!”??

    Indeed, while I can’t claim exuberance over the physical ambiance either (albeit it is clean/tidy), the human ambiance of Mark overcomes that. While I often bemoan decor, I will not be encouraging an ‘investement’ of money in order he doesn’t feel anchored preventing moving closer in!!! In the meantime, he gets A+ for the food I’ve had so far and his work ethic, e.g. driving to sources in Chicago from the 3 to the 8th Dec. to replenish supplies. Hopefully, he may bring back a few pieces of Oplatek for those in the know. In the meantime, I’ll ruminate about the possibility of green chile stew stuffed pierogies or chile infused stuffed golumpkies! Wesołych Świąt!!!

  • Ken

    Strip mall food joints are not unusual, but this one is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum. My concern when up a few more notches when I took in the interior which can best be described as in need of serious renovation.

    That said, major kudos to the owner. While I was waiting for my Italian Beef sandwich, he pulled a big pot of sweet peppers off the stove top and showed me that he didn’t use canned ingredients. He also wanted me to sample his sausages! The sandwich was great.

    Apparently, he is making another run up to Chicago, so the store will be closed this week.

  • john baldwin

    We would never have heard of this place because we live on the west side. We tried it today and will definitely return. My wife had the Russian roulette (pirogues) and I had the Polish plate. It consisted of a Polish sausage with potato salad. The owner also let me taste the sauerkraut and the sauerkraut stew. Both were quite good. I agree with Gil’s review.

  • Julia

    Great review Gil! Love the pictures! What restaurant have you had the best hotdogs? Remember to add it to your Besty List! http://www.thebesty.com/gilgarduno

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