The Broadway Market was opened in 1888 by a group of citizens on a city-donated parcel at 999 Broadway Avenue. It served as a meeting place for immigrants who were looking to preserve their Eastern European heritage. Over 130 years later, people still flock to the Broadway Market (especially during the Easter season) for a taste of these old-world traditions.
Here are three Polish staples to seek during a visit to the Market.
Placek, Chrusciki Bakery's
“Our bakery was established in 1987 when my parents moved from Poland with two suitcases, $100 and a dream,” said Ania Duchon, owner of Chrusciki Bakery.
Their first-ever retail space in the Broadway Market featured many perfectly Polish recipes. Placek, a fluffy and sweet yeast-based bread made with butter, golden raisins and topped with even more butter in the form of absolutely divine butter crumbs, is one of their best sellers.
“Everyone loves the butter crumbs. People come up to the stand and say, ‘I want the one with as many crumbs as possible,” said Duchon.
It’s a treat that is delicious as is; toasted with butter and jelly; or served with a slice of ham for a little sweet and salty flavor fusion.
Ania’s daughter, Dominique Emer, shared another option that has been picking up steam locally.
“It’s perfect for French toast on Easter morning. You can even find our placek at The Original Pancake House, Iron Kettle in East Aurora and Christy’s in West Seneca as a new twist on the classic breakfast entrée.”
Farmer’s cheese pierogi, Babcia’s Pierogi
With a name that means “grandmother” in Polish, you’re in good hands at Babcia’s Pierogi. Linda Lund and her husband, George, started the business in 2001 as an excuse to make pierogi year-round.
“We have 23 different types of pierogi. My traditional recipes (farmer’s cheese, sweet cheese, sauerkraut, kraut and mushroom, potato and cheese and plum) are all from my grandmother,” said Lund.
From jalapeno potato to stuffed pepper to Buffalo wing, there are not many flavors that Babcia’s hasn’t tried.
“Every pierogi is made from scratch and uses as many locally sourced ingredients as possible,” added Lund.
If you’re looking to keep it traditional, go with the popular farmer’s cheese—but consider branching out. Babcia’s newest flavor is potato mushroom blue, starring potato, caramelized onions, mushrooms, roasted peppers and blue cheese.
Fresh and smoked Polish sausage, Camellia Foods
Camellia Foods was inspired by the founder’s first job at the Broadway Market.
“My great-grandfather, Edmund Cichocki, Sr., founded our company in 1933. He was a butcher for another meat stand in the Broadway Market and decided to start his own business with his family’s recipes from Poland,” said Adam Cichocki, a fourth-generation son of the company.
The company started out on William Street then purchased a retail store and manufacturing plant on Genesee Street, where they’ve been ever since. In 2006, the company opened a second retail location, triumphantly returning to the Broadway Market.
“During the holidays, our most popular item is our fresh and smoked Polish sausage. We use fresh ground pork mixed with our family spice recipe to create a traditional Polish sausage with a nice pop of flavor. Our smoked Polish sausage is smoked with natural hardwood chips, not a liquid smoke, to create a unique and deep flavor.”
Some like it hot
Horseradish is a perennial hailing from the Brassicaceae family of plants, which also includes famous “siblings” mustard, wasabi, broccoli and cabbage. But most Buffalonians will know the root vegetable because of its cameo in Easter and Passover celebrations.
During a seder, horseradish is used as a potent garnish for the matzo, whereas Easter dinner features it as a peppery condiment to complement Polish sausage. In these traditions, horseradish symbolizes the bitter herbs of Passover and the Exodus, signifying the tears shed during those events.
Who doesn’t tear up when consuming horseradish? Zenon Skup of Famous Horseradish says the signature kick comes from the root itself.
“When it comes in from the farms, we wash it, grind it and then add vinegar. That’s it. There’s never any sugar or salt added,” said Skup.
It’s a no-frills approach that produces a taste so strong it will clear your senses and your plate–no matter what you’re serving.
“Though it’s most popular during Easter and Passover, horseradish is a spicy side that goes with just about everything,” added Skup.
We know it’s a great addition to a beef on weck, but try these other hot takes:
- A substitute for wasabi with sushi
- A pinch in your guacamole or hummus
- A spoonful in your coleslaw
- A teaspoon in your salad dressing
- A dollop in your Bloody Mary
- A scoop with your scrambled eggs
Whether you’re looking to stock up for the season or make it a year-round staple, you can find locally made horseradish from Famous Horseradish in the Broadway Market and Miller’s at many local grocers.
Story topics: Food + Drink