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WHY SO FEW POLISH RESTAURANTS IN AMERICA?


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
22 Jan 2009 /  #1
Nobody can expect there to be more Polish restaurants in America than Hispanic, Italian or Oriental ones, but why does the number of Polish restaurants not even come close to proportionately reflecting the 9-10 million proportion of Poles in American? Polish Americans love Polish food. Non-Polonians who have sampled do also.

And a side-query: if backed by a major mega-buck promotional campaign, do you think Polish food would take off in America?
DN  
24 Jan 2009 /  #2
There are several reasons I don't think it would work
First, a LOT of our food is akin to other national foods in the region... mostly because Poland is at EU's center... and thus other nations have taken food common to our countries as their own. Other foods (kotlety) are uniform throughout the region and also assimilated into classic american cooking, thus wouldn't amaze anyone in the states to have 'chicken fried steak' and beef stroganoff (bitki) as dishes... one being too common, the other filed under Russian food to the average Joe.

Also, and I'm somewhat sad to say, most of our food does not present as well as other ethnic foods. The dishes that are more unique to Poland are included in this, even though I'd take gołombki over sushi (which we all know looks too interesting to NOT try at some point in our lives) anyday. This is further compounded by our food's odd descriptions. It takes a 'honest, you'll love it' to get most americans I've dealt with to take a second look at bigos (though most do eventually admit to liking it), especially if they've been told it's basically cabbage and different sausages and meats, etc.

Pierogi are also filed under 'Russian food' to most americans... and before their appearance were best described as ravioli or boiled potstickers with different fillings. Again, not original enough to peak great US interest. Tell them that instead of meat or cheese there's buckwheat or pickled cabbage in them, and you'll have them opting for the familiar versions.

So basically, too many Polish dishes have already been labeled as foods from other lands (french creps = polish naleśniki, italian nioki= kopytka, the earlier examples, etc) or are visually unappealing. Oh, and though americans will eat many of our dishes, there are more than a few that I've had friends politely put aside.
David_18 68 | 982  
24 Jan 2009 /  #3
I guess the polish food is to healthy for the Americans.

Americans prefer a nice Italian pizza or a Spanish burito, and of course they can't resist their own American Hamburger with extra cheese.

Why should they eat sucha things like Bigos, zurek etc. When they can grow fat on cheaper food and die earlier by a stroke or something.

American way of living. PEACE!!
BubbaWoo 33 | 3,510  
24 Jan 2009 /  #4
And a side-query: if backed by a major mega-buck promotional campaign, do you think Polish food would take off in America?

contrary to popular opinion on the forum there is nothing overly exciting or unique about polish cuisine - as DN says, its largely just the same old stuff that many other european countries offer... more often than not, better.

yes, its ok to eat polish food every once in a while but at the end of the day it is just peasent slop, tastey at times, but slop nonetheless. when it comes to food the poles are largely unrefined,happily insisting that theirs is the best there is and with very limited choice to build their opinions on.

americans on the other hand have a much wider choice of food available to them and, as a result, have a much maturer approach when it comes to putting food in their mouths. as do other europeans who live in more open, progressive societies
Krakowianka 1 | 243  
25 Jan 2009 /  #5
Pierogi are also filed under 'Russian food' to most americans... and before their appearance were best described as ravioli or boiled potstickers with different fillings.

You must be kidding me, Pierogi are the most known polish food to Americans... NOT RUSSIANS! They do not describe them as ravioli (italian), they know pierogi, are just that pierogi. They are so popular, they are in nearly every American food store. Many American companies make the frozen varieties.

The reason there arent that many Polish restaurants, is because Americans always think of the "polish buffet" and have negative ideas in their head. Who wants to eat a whole bunch of mixed dishes that have been sitting out for a while, may have been sneezed on or whatever.

The few polish places that actually offer a normal course meal are rather pricey, compared to say what you get at an italian restaurant, a burritto place (more fast food than dinner meal). Poles in the US dont go out and dine often at polish restaurants, cause why? They can make the same thing at home, nothing special.

And contrary to belief, polish food is not that healthy. Every meal has a ton of fat & calories. The serving of potatoes itself would fill up a normal person, then there's the fried meat to help in your saturated fat content.
Rakky 9 | 217  
25 Jan 2009 /  #6
I have a Polish restaurant within a couple of miles from my home, and I rarely go there. When I do, I enjoy the pierogi and potato pancakes, but feel guilty for eating them and then a main course as well. I also have a couple of polish delicatessans within a few miles of me - I prefer to buy the ingredients there and make the meals at home.

I think Polish food lends itself nicely to more of a fast food venue because you can make and sell it pretty cheaply. I've ofen wondered if a "take home dinner" business at high-traffic commuter places would do well - a Polish platter can be VERY tempting to someone coming off of the train who just doesn't have the energy to prepare a meal when they get home, and it beats the heck out of a bucket of chicken or a bag of those disgusting things they call hamburgers that the chains sell.
Shawn_H  
25 Jan 2009 /  #7
It is a conspiracy.

I think that Polish Bakeries would do better. The Poles make nice sweets.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
25 Jan 2009 /  #8
Yeah, best get paranoid ;)

Peasant slop, LOL. Gotta love the candidness of BW :)
Davey 13 | 388  
25 Jan 2009 /  #9
Poles in the US dont go out and dine often at polish restaurants, cause why? They can make the same thing at home,

Yep exactly.
kosiol  
25 Jan 2009 /  #10
THere are dozens upon dozens of polish reataurants in Chicago, not including grocery,
clothing, bookstores and clubs etc. Not much else besides a handfull in Michigan or N.J.

Poles stay with thier own kind, perhaps thier afraid to make it on thier own in this country.

Polish food is very fattening and unhealthy, as Bubbawoo said "slop"

peirogi are ok, if they are made right
Rakky 9 | 217  
25 Jan 2009 /  #11
Polish food is very fattening and unhealthy, as Bubbawoo said "slop"

I think the unnecessarily derogatory word "slop" is entirely inaccurate. As for the healthiness of it - my grandfather, who emigrated from Jaslo County in 1892, lived to be 90 years old. My father is nearly 85, lives on a steady diet that regularly includes meals he was taught to prepare by his parents, and is in terrific shape.
Lir  
25 Jan 2009 /  #12
it is just peasent slop, tastey at times, but slop nonetheless. when it comes to food the poles are largely unrefined,happily insisting that theirs is the best there is and with very limited choice to build their opinions on.

I totally disagree !

Why ? Well I was raised on Polish food in the UK and English food was so unhealthy. Fish and chips, pie and chips, chips with everything and always swimming in grease too. Or heavy gravies.

Polish food on the whole uses less processed ingredients and more natural ingredients <with the odd exception of maybe some modern adapted variations i.e. Tesco imported so called Polish processed foods>

You may call them 'slop' but I think British food is more of a 'slop' to be truthful.

English foods can be high in a fat and sugar content Highly processed and masses of convenience <plastic> type food. Uninspiring too ! Mostly the food here in the UK lacks imagination. The supermarkets are extremely well stocked here, it is true. But, look at the amount of processed food British people rely on.
TheWho?  
25 Jan 2009 /  #13
Polish food is crap. It's all fried pork, potatoes and cabbage. It's unhealthy and bland.
Davey 13 | 388  
25 Jan 2009 /  #14
I personally love Polish food, especially before and after drinking
beckski 12 | 1,617  
25 Jan 2009 /  #15
do you think Polish food would take off in America?

I'd kill to have a great Polish restaurant close to home. Unfortunately, there's a lack of Poles and Polish restaurants in Southern California.
plk123 8 | 4,150  
25 Jan 2009 /  #16
happily insisting that theirs is the best there is and with very limited choice to build their opinions on.

but it is man. i've had food from all over and PL food is still the best. i have faves from other cuisines but PL food is the tits. when i cook, people never can get enough.

americans on the other hand have a much wider choice of food available to them and, as a result,have a much maturer approach when it comes to putting food in their mouths. as do other europeans who live in more open, progressive societies

i completely disagree on that. american or americanized ethnic (which most of ethnic food here is ethnic like) food pretty much suck in the usa. americans are not discerning in their tastes. i'm sorry, that is not what i see on daily bases here. ask an average yank what ceviche is. lol even if you find one who may know what it is, i bet they find it gross even without trying. lol

german,

dude, about 75% of their menu is polish food too. as said before.

It's unhealthy and bland.

you must be joking if you're comparing this to brit or yank foods. or maybe you have no taste buds.

Polish food on the whole uses less processed ingredients and more natural ingredients

i don't think you can convince them.

my bp is so low they always check it twice. it is not from eating american slop, i assure you. i eat predominantly polish foods.

sometime, compare heart attack or diabetes stats. they tell the truth.
Lotnik767 3 | 145  
26 Jan 2009 /  #17
Americans like Junk food that is why there isn’t a lot of Polish Restaurants. And the other thing is that Mexican, Italian food advertises them self’s every day!! Then funny thing is that Americans think Budweiser Beer is best in the world lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!
osiol 55 | 3,922  
26 Jan 2009 /  #18
English foods can be high in a fat and sugar content Highly processed and masses of convenience <plastic> type food. Uninspiring too ! Mostly the food here in the UK lacks imagination. The supermarkets are extremely well stocked here, it is true. But, look at the amount of processed food British people rely on.

This isn't about processed food versus home cooked food. Just because America is supposed to be the land of junk food and fast food, with the UK close behind, it doesn't mean they are our respective national dishes. I find the popular Polish kotlety with mashed potato particularly uninspiring, just as much British food is also uninspiring. That doesn't mean neither country can't come up with some absolutely splendid dishes. Lir, you were raised in a Polish family, so you never had good quality British food, so just being raised in this country doesn't make you an expert, I am sorry to say.

Surely there is plenty of good food and good restaurants in the US. You might just have to look a little harder to find them lurking behind all the fast food outlets that not every American actually eats in.
Lir  
26 Jan 2009 /  #19
Dont be so daft Osiol of course I have eaten British food. I live in the UK,what do you think I eat here ?

I think you are comparing my lifestyle with the few Polish families you have maybe dined with. Sorry for short reply am on iPhone :)

I don't live in a Polish family LOL I enjoy Polish food and a non processed fresh, healthy food style courtesy of Waitrose, Sainsburys , my local fish and veg shop.:)
osiol 55 | 3,922  
26 Jan 2009 /  #20
I live in the UK,what do you think I eat here ?

You've never eaten any of my fine cooking!

I just get fed [sic] up with people making derisory remarks about British food, when all they do is talk about processed food and this-and-that with chips. I never cook chips, only occasionally have chips from the chippy. I never eat processed food, but other than the faux-Mediterranean things I cook, everything I do make in my kitchen is English, none of it with chips, very little of it slop.

I've eaten loads of delicious Polish food, but much of this on special occasions. After a while, the basic day-to-day fayre is not particularly interesting, although I do appreciate how many good recipes have survived the years.

I had haggis, swede and mashed potato this evening, served without whisky, but with a whisky-based sauce. Tomorrow I will probably have roast pheasant, with moussaka or some sort of pasta-with-bolognese, maybe a quiche or something later in the week.

I WANT MY FISH FINGERS AND CHIPS! My Osiol!
Elssha - | 123  
29 Jan 2009 /  #21
You must be kidding me, Pierogi are the most known polish food to Americans... NOT RUSSIANS! They do not describe them as ravioli (italian), they know pierogi, are just that pierogi. They are so popular, they are in nearly every American food store. Many American companies make the frozen varieties.

Depends where. If you live in a neighborhood with a polish community larger than the russian one, pierogi will be polish. Before there was a relatively recent influx of russian immigrants I did have to explain pierogi via Italian or Chinese equivalents... cuz when I said 'pierogi' I got the WTF looks or blank stares.

I live in socal. Not only are pierogi russian, imported ham (polska polędwica and kabanosy) is also in a pile known as the 'russian deli meats' in stores that even bother having said imports. Do you honestly think store owners will bother figuring out what's what? Please.

Ethnic stores have things labeled more correctly, but they are few and far between. Dad has to drive over an hour to Hollywood to go to a (I think it's) Hungarian store that sells his beloved polish beers, wherein we also find most of our polish food stuffs.

I'd kill to have a great Polish restaurant close to home. Unfortunately, there's a lack of Poles and Polish restaurants in Southern California.

Where in socal? I know there's a whole parafia in Hollywood and apparently some other one around San Diego. I know of 2 restaurants and have been warned away from them...

Just because America is supposed to be the land of junk food and fast food, with the UK close behind, it doesn't mean they are our respective national dishes.

Name a healthy (if you can't even a non-fastfood will do) national American dish...

Unless you are familiar with Native American stuff, I assume you're running through quite a short list, trying to find something that wasn't imported or imported and slightly altered...

there's a good reason for that ^_^
JoannaAsia - | 3  
29 Jan 2009 /  #22
I was just reading through all of these posts, and I to wish for a great polish restaurant. Or atleast more of them, around here. I live in Chicago, and so many Polish people live here, but the number of polish cuisine doesn't even come close to the number of polish people we have in Chicago. the only two, that are actually good and most popular are Jolly-In, which doesn't primarily serve only polish food, but atleast some. And Barbakan, which provides great and delicious, home cooked, right on the spot, polish food. But I live about 40 minutes away and don't feel like going there a lot. Atleast when I do, the food is cheap yet fresh, and good.

And as someone else stated above me a few posts earlier, American's prefer fast food, like hamburgers, or McDonald's. even though there are plenty in Poland, alot of polish people don't eat it a lot, and actually have home cooked meals. I guess our food is considered to formal for some, as it is not fried, and fast.
Elssha - | 123  
29 Jan 2009 /  #23
I guess our food is considered to formal for some, as it is not fried, and fast.

I think it's more of a 'takes too damn long' problem than a formality thing. I love to make polish food but often turn to making asian because it's just so much faster. Plus, Polish food is hard to make in small portions. It's meant for family, so making it for just yourself makes it hard (golombki, pierogi, etc) as it takes almost as much work to do a full family portion as it does making just enough for one.
JoannaAsia - | 3  
29 Jan 2009 /  #24
it takes almost as much work to do a full family portion as it does making just enough for one.

T
That I must agree on. Polish food does take longer in most cases, and sometimes even I don't have the patience to make it for one or two people. That is when Grandma's used to come in handy in Poland, they always loved cooking. Or, atleast, mine did. :p

Sometimes it's worth it though, but if I really don't feel like cooking, the take out, or ordering does come in handy. And as much as it is unhealthy, it just takes faster to order, than actually cook.

It's meant for family

Not in all cases, but usually, when Polish dinners are made, usually it is for a family. Which most likely consist of 3-6 people at least.
Elssha - | 123  
30 Jan 2009 /  #25
Grandma's used to come in handy in Poland, they always loved cooking.

I think that's part of granny's job description, and yeah, they're awesome for always making stuff ^_^
GottaBeef?  
2 Feb 2009 /  #26
I just got back from visiting Poland for the first time. I have never left the US to travel and after going to see my girlfriend in Poland I must say anyone that says Polish food is "slop" doesn't have taste buds or a brain. The quality of food alone surpasses our food. Where can you go to the grocery store in the US buy some meat and eat it raw? They left their juices and milk outside of the fridge! Our food here in the US is so processed and low quality that its obvious...take a look in the mirror. Take the high quality and natural standards in Poland with serious woman hours in the kitchen and Polish cuisine takes meals to another level. I never respond to these forums but just had to stand up for the Polish woman that cook all day and pass recipes down from the ages.
Guest  
23 Apr 2009 /  #27
There is nice website: polishplate.com where you can find polish restaurants and grocery stores. Good Luck!
freebird 3 | 532  
23 Apr 2009 /  #28
yes, its ok to eat polish food every once in a while but at the end of the day it is just peasent slop, tastey at times, but slop nonetheless.

thank you man, no one could express it any better :-)
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
23 Apr 2009 /  #29
Too bad that so much of the allegedly sophisticated delicacies
that cutting-edge Americans and West European put into their mouths is chemically treated, and "nature-idnetical" (lab-produced) fake-food!!!
Sasha 2 | 1,083  
23 Apr 2009 /  #30
You're certainly right Polonius. The US has not too much of Polish or in general Slavic restaurant. I believe that is because the Slavic food and cuisine is not really "fast". You have to spend some time to cook a nice borsch or polish pierogi. I was looking for Polish and Russian restaurants in my area and didn't really find any worthy.

As for Polish "pierogi" (Russian "vareniki") and Russian "pierozhki" this kinda false friend. I know that some Americans don't always know what they mean under the certain word.

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