As I am writing this article, I am chewing on a huge bite of Kielbasa Sub with sauerkraut. I absolutely could not wait to get home today and dig into all of my delectables from Krakus Polish Deli and Bakery. Today was truly a day I was happy to be a restaurant reviewer because it brought me to this little gem of a place at 7050 Market Street in Boardman.
Currently, I have seven to go boxes in front of me. One is Stuffed Cabbage (6.50) and it is stuffed with beef, rice and tomato sauce. Another two are Pierogies (3.50 for 1/2 dozen), one with sauerkraut and mushroom and the other your classic potato and cheese. There is the Kielbasa Sub (4.50) that I was so rudely chewing on when I first spoke to you here. There is a box with a variety of smoked kielbasas (5.99-7.49) which they ship in from Chicago. And there are two selections from the bakery, Chrust (12 for 4.25, similar to Italian wands) and Paczi (1.00 a donut, pronounced Punch key) a Polish donut filled with raspberry jelly and topped with powdered sugar.
Let me begin with the Kielbasa Sub. This is a sandwich I would definitely order again. I adore sauerkraut and this combination that they create with what they call Bigos (hunters stew of meats, kielbasa, mushrooms and sauerkraut) is so delicious, it’s making me forget that I just finished a juice fast and I will now be putting on the few pounds that I lost with all of this food. Oh well. Such is life.
Moving on to the Pierogis. Who doesn’t love Pierogis? I have the cheese and potato and the mushroom and kraut. Both amazing. I will be making a trip back to this place for more than just the pierogis but the pierogis alone are worth the trip.
Then we have the Stuffed Cabbage which is so delicate and yet it holds up to the fork, not crumbling away when you dig into it. Perfectly blended within is the beef, rice and tomato sauce. I am not a huge fan of smoked sausages, but if you are, you should get here and fast. They ship them in from Chicago and Marta, the owner is pretty sure that you can’t find any better anywhere close to here.
Last but not least...the treats from the Bakery. I must admit that I popped one of those Chrust’s into my mouth on the drive home. They were staring at me, I had no choice. Delicious and delicate, probably very lovely with a cup of coffee or tea in the morning. I will find out tomorrow. The Paczi, sadly, has been devoured and there is no evidence of it’s existence besides the powdered sugar that is left on the bottom of the to go container. These donuts are so good! If I lived close by and was a donut eater, this would be my new coffee and donut routine. I live twenty five minutes away and I know that I will still make a trip out here and load up on multiple items and hope that most of it survives the drive.
Kudos to Marta, who named the small shop after the Polish Cultural Center that used to be in Boardman, where she met her husband and married him and they both moved here from the East Coast in 2009. Krakus actually means freedom fighter from the town of Krakus, an area in S.W. Poland. Marta moved to the States from Poland in 1981.
And I’m sure that the regulars at Krakus are happy about that. At this shop, you can find these delicious pre-made items but also much more! Cheese, such as farmers cheese, the traditional cheese that you find in Polish Pierogis. As they didn’t have cheddar in Poland, this farmers cheese that Marta used to make herself because she couldn’t initially find it anywhere, is what they use in the cheese and potato pierogis as well as sometimes a “sweet cheese” made of a mix of farmers and ricotta.
I can’t keep writing without mentioning my new friend, Stephanie Brys. She was a beautiful little lady that I met at the counter who had eyes like my grandmother. She spoke very broken English and yet we managed to strike up a conversation. I fell in love with her immediately. There’s something about ethnic grandmothers. They always succeed in feeding you. And Stephanie, who lives in Boardman and has been in America since 1951, gave me a piece of cherry vodka filled chocolate. Because, why wouldn’t she? So lovely. Marta let me know that Stephanie is a regular and a very sweet lady. She was there buying food for herself and her granddaughter, and as she was able to get through to me that she is so appreciative to have this store with food from her homeland especially because she doesn’t cook anymore. In her words, “I like it. I’m glad they have this store here.” Me too, Stephanie, me too.