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“When Bill Clinton was president, his people called ahead to let them know he was on his way. A witness said he ordered the dill pickle soup (best in town). And if that wasn't enough that "Bam!" guy from the food channel, Emerial Lagasse, filmed an episode of his show there. That's two pretty big notches on the ol' ego belt, for sure. The Polish Village is pretty much a basement, but not in the traditional musty, storing boxes sense. It's packed with an unparalleled Polish ambiance that only Hamtramck could produce. The servers wear traditional garb, save for maybe their athletic support shoes. The area is filled with square, shaky, uneven tables that lend a sense of authenticity to the place. And the huge goblets of beer force you to stay and enjoy the cozy, rectangular space. The menu, both in Polish and English, offers daily specials that won't steer you the wrong way. Look out for the Hungarian Pancake, though, if you're not accustomed to spicy food you might want to invest in some antacid.
Favorites are the pierogi (fried over boiled), the dill pickle soup, and the Polish plate that offers a little taste of everything.”
5. Polish Village
“Bill Clinton ate at the Polish Village. Emeril Lagasse did a show from there. And generations of Poles pack the place to the gills every Sunday after church. The restaurant is doing something right, that’s for sure. A few steps below street level and maybe even a few steps back in time, the feeling of the place is thoroughly Polish. Authentic is the word here, from the décor, to the waitresses’ traditional costumes, to the aroma of the food. You can’t go wrong with the menu, but here are a few things to keep in mind: Watch out for the Hungarian pancake (it packs a punch), fried pierogi are always better than boiled, and everything on the menu tastes better with a Zywiec. The Polish Plate here is a must — at least once in your lifetime. 2990 Yemans; 313-874-5726.”
Source: Hour Magazine’s “Hungry in Hamtown”
“Walk down a few steps from the sidewalk into a quaint vintage rathskeller setting. The little structure with a colorful folk mural painted on the side was built in 1925 as a 31-room hotel with a beer garden in the cellar, for the tradesmen and merchants coming to the city of Hamtramck.
The cellar became a restaurant in 1976, and it was known as Zosia’s for the head cook who turned out the city chicken, boiled ribs, meatballs and mushroom cutlets.
Zosia left, but many of her helpers stayed, and there are still two left who worked with her in the open kitchen in the back of the long, narrow room with a sturdy wood bar with stained glass panels on one side and closely packed tables on the other.
The room has a festive feeling, partly because so many of the customers are regulars who know one another and the staff, and also because Carolyn , who runs the restaurant along with her father, Ted, decorates for every changing season or holiday.
Garden party lanterns bob overhead currently, and Carolyn apologizes that she hasn’t gotten around to putting up the autumn trappings.
She has been part of the Polish Village since she was a 3-year-old who came with her parents to the restaurant they began running in the early ‘80s.
Now she’s the one in charge of the dining room and the busy kitchen, where the cooking is all from scratch just as it has always been. While a couple of cooks can be glimpsed at any time in the kitchen, there are actually 12 on the staff, mashing potatoes and making brown gravy and soups such as the beet or cabbage and potato or the classic czarnina (duck’s blood).
The menu is familiar to anyone who knows old Hamtramck. Meat or potato-stuffed dumplings (pierogi), potato pans, breaded and pan-fried pork chops, and daily specials that stay the same: meatballs with noodles or stuffed green peppers on Monday; boiled chicken on Tuesday; stuffed peppers again on Wednesday; goulash on Thursday; and on Friday, of course, pan-fried pickerel or perch, as well as pork loin with red cabbage. The latter also turns up on Saturday, when there are five specials leading up to Sunday’s Warsaw chicken, half a chicken baked in mushrooms and onions.
The heaping plates of food are brought to the tables by a friendly, bilingual staff, and while the napkins are paper and there are few frills, this restaurant delivers remarkable value and an atmosphere that recalls earlier times.
When I walked in early this week, I thought I had stumbled onto a private party. Happily, it’s a party we’re all invited to.”