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When you order a Polish platter around town, you better be hungry. Expect a heap of deliciousness that could include any combination of potato pancakes, pierogi, kielbasa, stuffed cabbage and a side of kraut. Sour cream and applesauce, too.
Dill pickle soup, melt-in-your-mouth city chicken and crispy potato pancakes. Try a combination plate. (DW)
Polonia Polish Restaurant, Hamtramck
Authentic cuisine, old-world atmosphere and Polish vodkas and beer to boot. It has been in biz for 40 years so you know the food is fantastic. Expand your culinary horizons by trying the smalec ze skwareczkami and pickles (Polish famous bread spread with bacon, bacon crumbs, fried onion and spices). (DD)
Ivanhoe Cafe, home of the Polish Yacht Club, just outside Hamtramck
Wait till you see the plate full of pickles and peppers that comes to the table. A mound of coleslaw pre-meal is also tradition. Sample the pierogi or go right for the kill and inhale several polish sliders: kielbasa, kraut and cheese on a bun. (DD)
Jim’s Place, Dearborn
This quaint family diner whips up delicious Polish fare. Kielbasa and eggs for breakfast, anyone? The meatballs are tender and moist. The stuffed cabbage and cabbage soup are can't-skip items, and don't miss out on a full or half order of the handmade pierogies either. (DW)
Three Brothers, Plymouth
Regulars are quick to recommend the chicken dumpling soup, the kraut pierogies and the nalesniki aka Polish-style crepes. (GN)
Wawel Polish Restaurant, Troy
This eatery is in the Polish American Cultural Center, so be sure to check out the Polish-style goings-on posted on the activities calendar. That's, of course, after you take your fill of the Wawel Platter. They fit so many items on the plate – from kielbasa, kraut and meatballs to pierogi, stuffed cabbage and city chicken. And you cannot leave without sampling the dill pickle soup. Some say it's to die for. (O)
Metro Detroit has a number of stand-alone shops selling their own homemade Polish dumplings by the dozen. Fresh or frozen, ready for you to fry, boil or saute at home and serve.
• Pierogi Gals, Grosse Pointe (DW)
• Jennies Pierogies, Garden City, Warren and Southgate (DW)
• Lila's Pierogi, Livonia (GN)
• Kielbasa Joe, Wyandotte (yes, this is a kielbasa/meat shop, but it sells really good pierogi, too) (DW)
Yes, Hamtramck has awesome bakeries baking up classic Polish sweets. Angel wings (fried dough covered with powdered sugar) and kolacky (flaky pastries filled with fruit, cheese, nut or poppy seed paste).
• New Palace Bakery, Hamtramck (DD)
• New Martha Washington Bakery, Hamtramck (DD)
Suggestion: If you happen to be in town on Fat Tuesday (that's the day before Lent begins, which usually falls sometime in February) get a paczki or three from one of these storefronts. Super dense, jelly filled and meant to sustain your sweet tooth through the 40 days of Lent. Yeah, you can get paczki elsewhere, but a Hamtramck-made paczki is WAY better. Trust us.
The Polish Art Center, Hamtramck
This Hamtramck original is one of the country's premier emporiums of Polish cultural and traditional goods. The selection of authentic souvenirs is unparalleled. The Polish pottery is intricate and colorful. The pisanki eggs and paper chandeliers (pajaki) are magical. And there's a great selection of Polish candy, too. (DD)
Other specialty stores:
Polish Art & Books, Troy (O)
Spend a day at the Hamtramck Public Library. It has a large collection of books in Polish and hosts a variety of educational programs year-round. (DD)
Take the family to the St. Mary's Polish Country Fair. Held Memorial Day weekend (May 22-25, 2015), this classic is Michigan's largest county fair with food, food and food, along with a carnival midway and a Vegas tent. Unique Polish souvenirs. (O)
Mark your calendars for July 10-12, 2015. The American-Polish Century Club in Sterling Heights is hosting the American Polish Festival & Craft Show on its grounds. It features live polka music, Polish dance ensemble performances, a pierogi-eating challenge and a fine selection of crafters. Lots of Polish food. (M)
In town on Labor Day. Attend the annual Polish Day Parade on Jos. Campau in downtown Hamtramck. Considered one of the largest ethnic parades in the state of Michigan. (DD)
“Love the dive bars... Nemo's, the Well, Foran's, the Bronx, Park Bar, Jumbo's, LJ's, PJ's Lager House. Can't think of them all!” – Jake M.
Book a dinner cruise or go for a late-night moonlight party aboard the Detroit Princess. The five-story riverboat is back in action for the season.
Fall is in full swing and that means Detroit Red Wings hockey at The Joe. No ticket? Cobo Joe's is a surefire hot spot on game days.
Watch Discover the D TV to learn all about the hidden gems and history that our city has to offer.