Monday, December 6, 2010

New Polonia

With all the Sturm und Drang about the newly refurbished, "upscaled" Polonia, I had to check it out for myself. Well, it seems the agita has been for nothing. It's basically the same old Polonia it's always been, but with a bit of gild on the lily.



The new owner's idea of upscale is so far just like what happened at Teresa's years ago, when it went from grungy Polish coffee shop to shiny Polish coffee shop. So now there's bossa nova music playing instead of Z100 and ciabatta appears on the menu. The plates are square instead of round and they've added sprinkles of dill to the $3 french fries.

Bottom line: There's still a homey feeling here that has little to do with the hyper-gentrification that is washing over the neighborhood.



At the new Polonia, the same lady in a hairnet (mom?) is scraping the grill and mixing up batches of her delicious Polish chicken noodle soup. The prices might be higher than they used to be, but they remain low; in some cases, below Manhattan coffee shop prices. This place is not going to attract any douchebag crowds anytime soon, so don't fret. When I was there, a homeless man was drinking coffee next to a table full of old-timers enjoying pierogis next to some kids canoodling over chocolate cake.

This isn't ever going to be DBGB, and all the better for it.

15 comments:

AndyPenetrationInc said...

If you like old coffee shop style, check out the one (forgot the name)at the corner of 16th & 3rd. Cheap, friendly. My favorite summer weekend lunch spot. Great place for a BLT break, while reading in Stuyvesant Square Park.

EV Grieve said...

Good to hear!

ShatteredMonocle said...

Glad to hear it. I'll be back for the bigos.

kim said...

Thank goodness. I'm saddened that all the old-schooled eateries are vanishing in our city.

Case in point. A hole in the wall Chinese bakery in CHinatown just had a big renovation. I think the business got passed on, so the new owner brought more florescent light and even 'opened up' the view into the kitchen. The prices, of course, went up as well and sadly, the size of the sponge cake also reduced. One good thing is that it's now open 7 days instead of the previous 6.

I've to go back to Polonia soon. I missed the cabbage salad. :)

Grand St. said...

Andy-

that's the "other" Joe Jr. on 16th & 3rd.

esquared said...

Thanks for the update. That french fries with dill sounds pleasing. I'll check it out soon.

Grade "A" Fancy said...

Good news. Thank you, J.
(Square plates -- _how aughts_!)

Anonymous said...

I remember when Teresa's did that renovation, and had no issue with it. This, as mentioned, seems to be a similar change.

Jeremiah Moss said...

these old-school places really are becoming treasures now. there is no use competing with the newcomers--there are so many newcomers. what makes Polonia special is that it's authentic. i hope they realize that and bank on it, instead of trying to be McNally.

Marty Wombacher said...

That chicken noodle soup looks delicious! I'll definitely check it out! Thanks for the report.

L'Emmerdeur said...

So what we're saying is that either some competitor, likely one of these new, shiny places for the new, shiny people, tried to create some bad buzz for Polonia, or a gaggle of douchebags got annoyed at the higher prices and organized an internet protest of sorts.

Anonymous said...

Theresa's renovation was ridiculous (though predictable at the time). However I was just glad that she was back after leaving 1st Ave to open up in Queens (which didn't work out, as I understand it)
Anyway, I missed the homeyness of the original Theresa's after the renovation, where it felt so relaxing to read a newspaper over coffee and some toasted babka. And breakfast seemed to suffer after the renovation as well. But their other standard Polish fare was still really good. I just always got stuff to go after the renovation.
It's too bad that Polonia can't see the value in maintaining a "diner's diner" type of vibe, and instead wants to project a sort of "fake" upscaling that will make people snicker more than anything. I don't know... maybe they can pull it off... Start serving a $27 plate of perogies.
In any case, I'll give them a shot this time around. i found their food pretty lacking before. And the food is what matters the most. So good luck to them.

Red said...

L'Emm, I think what happened is that the twentysomething owner (son of the old owners) made a few misconstrue-able comments that sent him right into the buzzsaw of the East Village blogosphere. I mean, you can see the whole story right on Grieve's site.

Anonymous said...

The food at Theresa's really tanked after the reno. These renos are really unappealing - like someone went to the Home Depot Lighting Dept and bought some sconces & stuff.

For my money - Ukranian National Home for Goulash & Pierogi. New Poland for Blintzes & Kielbasa. Neptune for eggs, bacon. Stage good for most everything else. Veselka good for nothing.

I like the soup at New Poland, but it's never as good as Theresa's was in its hey day. Best though was the pre-reno Odessa. Ambience & food for only a little more than Leshko's (the absolute cheapest).

Goggla said...

Just thought I'd check in here a few months later...had the eggs Benedict, which was really, really good, and only $7. The applewood-smoked bacon was so good, I wanted to take home several side orders of it. This was Saturday brunch and there were a number of regulars, but none of that usual EV Brunch Crowd nonsense.