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Clifton, Garfield, Wallington butcher shops


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#1 Rail Paul

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 06:51 PM

I took a quick pass through the northeast corner of Clfton, and the adjacent suburbs of Garfield and Wallington this morning. It's an ethnically diverse area, with a large Polish population, and substantial Slovak, Hungarian, and Latino presence, too. For this excursion, I relied on Amy Kuperinsky's excellent piece in the Record, and the suggestions of a good friend who grew up in Garfield.

First stop was Stefan's Meat Market at 246 Dayton Street in Clifton's Botany Village section. Unlike much of the surrounding area, this section looked like it could have been in Mayberry, with people sitting outside stores, a small green space as Dayton and Parker converged, and lots of parking spaces. The store was immaculate, perfectly clean.

I was greeted in Polish, then in English. Two customers were ordering in Polish. A huge array of smoked sausages, probably 20 different kinds on rods. Many different varieties of head cheese, cabbage preps, breads (Banas among them). I ordered a coarsely ground, smoked kielbasy "Hungarian style" which meant lots of paprika and garlic. That was $4.99 a pound. There were two people working the counter, two more visible in a prep area to the back of the store, and several more people visible in the back.

One guy asked for a specific "German style sausage" and was told it would be available after 12.30. There was a huge wood pile alongside the back of the property, fuel for the smokehouse behind the store. I understand that tours can be arranged, but the day before Fourth of July didn't seem like a good day to push that request. Great smells from the smokehouse.

Stefan's sausage was excellent. Peppery, good crunch on the casing, significant level of moisture. A bargain at $4.99.

A half block down Parker Street was The Hungarian Meat Store. A smaller selection of sausages, but a much stronger smell of meat and spices. I ordered a thick, short sausage (Csabai). Although described as HOT, I found it to have a less spicy taste than the Stefan sausage. The other sausage was longer and much thinner, about the diameter of a quarter. I liked this a lot. Definite paprika taste, and fennel, garlic, etc. These were each $8 a pound.

The neighborhood changes in the block below The Hungarian Meat Store, becoming more Latino. Store signs changed from Polish and Hungarian to Spanish. If you stay on Parker, it dead ends into NJ 21. You can turn left, go under the freeway, and east on Monroe into Garfield.

The Polish Kitchen is diagonally opposite the bridge, at 324 River Drive. Restaurant, groceries, and maybe a tavern.

If you take a left onto River Drive, Piast is about a mile and a half on your right, in a strip mall. To the left is an enormous selection of Polish butters (prob 10-12 varieties), several margarines and yougurts, Polish sodas, etc. Straight ahead is the meat department, which wraps around the interior.

They prepare sandwiches to order (Polish name in large letters, English in small letters). The butcher case includes veal hearts, lots of tripe, tripe sausages, what might be lungs, etc. The place was jammed, so I didn't have the luxury of inspecting and note taking. This was a very extensive offering of meats.

South on River Drive, past the Polish Kitchen, and you get into Wallington, where the road becomes Main Avenue. Past the Slavic Exchange, make a slight right turn to stay on Main. Wallington Ave is the second or third right turn, Banas Bakery is about three blocks up, toward the river.

If you've remained on Main, Maple is the third or fourth left onto Maple and Adam's Meat market is on the third corner at 168. Very small place, but a lot of smoked sausage, and a case of Polish cold cuts and pierogi. Also, a good selection of Polonia Bakery (Passaic) breads.

Other places I'd like to check out include Golden Eagle Provisions, Kiszka Meats, Banas, and Polonia. By this time, the rain was pretty intense, and I had enough sausage.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#2 ghostrider

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 07:44 PM

Sounds enticing. I need to try some of those places.

Only thing I can add is that Naleczowianka sparkling mineral water is common in the area, even making it into the local Stop & Shop and Food Basics supermarkets where I do the vast majority of my grocery shopping. It's become my fave, both because it tastes good & because it's $1.39 / 1.5 L. I refer to it as "the other Poland spring water."
It was hard to avoid the feeling that somebody, somewhere, was missing the point. I couldn't even be sure that it wasn't me. - Douglas Adams

Please come visit my rock concert blog: Tantalized.

#3 ghostrider

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 05:31 PM

On my way back from the dermatologist yesterday, I finally stopped into Polonia Meat Market (785 Van Houten Ave., couple blocks below Clifton Ave.). Lovely selection of hams. I went for their most expensive - $7.89 lb. - a nice, mildly smoked ham. Several others I must go back & try. Nice sausages & meats too.

Enticing selection of hot foods to go. I got 3 huge stuffed peppers for just under $7. Dinner! Braised short ribs, potato pancakes, veal & mushrooms in cream sauce all sitting there steaming.

I'd parked in this "lot" next door in front of a big house - wasn't sure whether it was attached to the store or not. On my way out, I was sitting in my car strapping on my seat belt when this huge guy walks out of the house & over to my car & starts talking at me through my closed window. I figure he's yelling at me for parking in his front yard but I roll down the window. He was asking me how the food was. I said "beautiful." He then revealed that he's one of the owners of Polonia & recommended some sausages for grilling.

Traffic on the single-lane Van Houten is usually insane between my town & Clifton, but I'm going to have to brave it more often.

There's a place called Korona Meat Market further down (east?) Van Houten that looks similar. Big sign out front "Dinner $6.89." Should probably look in there too.

Coincidentally, Polonia was just mentioned in an article at the NorthJersey.com website on Sunday. So I must have met one of the Kwolek brothers.
It was hard to avoid the feeling that somebody, somewhere, was missing the point. I couldn't even be sure that it wasn't me. - Douglas Adams

Please come visit my rock concert blog: Tantalized.

#4 marauder

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 02:09 AM

Korona is good. There smoker is ALWAYS going. I like Polonia better. I like Stefan's--on the other side of town--even better than polonia. Korona has lots of smoked meats, but is more of a grocery operation than Polonia is. Stefans hams, bone in slab bacon and coarse ground kilbosa is the cream of the crop.

#5 Rail Paul

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Posted 25 September 2009 - 06:40 PM

Excellent bacon from Stefan's Butcher shop. Smoked, very lean, cooked wonderfully.

$8 a pound, but worth it.

Stefan's meats are available at the Saturday Farmers Markets in Montclair and Boonton, as well as the Friday markets in Little Falls and Rutgers - New Brunswick

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#6 ghostrider

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 03:38 PM

Now that it's fall & I'm back in my cardiac rehab exercise program, I finally figured out that I'm already halfway to Polonia when I'm over at the facility. So I went the rest of the way afterwards & bought dinner from their prepared foods counter. Smoked & stewed beef in something like a hunter sauce, roasted new potatoes & a nice cabbage in light cream sauce with dill: around 2.5 lbs of food, a hearty amount for two, for a little over $8. This is one of the best bargains in my part of the world.

Found a new brown rye bread from J&J Bakery while I was there.

After I ordered, I discovered that they were in the midst of bringing out several fresh trays of food. A platter of fabulous-looking roast pork showed up, & then a tray of sliced chicken with tomatoes, peppers & onions. Not sure how Polish the latter is but it looked very good.

I think I'll make this trip again.
It was hard to avoid the feeling that somebody, somewhere, was missing the point. I couldn't even be sure that it wasn't me. - Douglas Adams

Please come visit my rock concert blog: Tantalized.

#7 Rail Paul

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 08:43 PM

Bill Pitcher observes that Piast has moved into larger space in the same complex

Larger space

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#8 ghostrider

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Posted 02 December 2009 - 10:25 PM

That reminds me - I have hit Polonia & Korona several times. I still really enjoy their prepared foods, & their hams are a nice change of pace, but, for my tastes, I have yet to find a ham that equals Thumann's Black Forest - itself another fine Jersey product, smoked right up the road in Carlstadt. smile.gif

The Thumann's Black Forest is hard to find, even at shops that carry Thumann's. This isn't their Tavern or Virginia ham, which some shops will give you when you ask for Black Forest; the real thing is a smaller cut that's more heavily smoked. Fortunately for me, it's sold at the Forest Deli right here in Rutherford.

I've found the smoke flavor at Polonia & Korona sort of one-dimensional. The Thumann's isn't quite as strong & it seems more complex. Clearly I still have to try Stefan's hams based on the comments above.


It was hard to avoid the feeling that somebody, somewhere, was missing the point. I couldn't even be sure that it wasn't me. - Douglas Adams

Please come visit my rock concert blog: Tantalized.

#9 marauder

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 03:26 PM

Stefan's usually has traditional Black Forest hams around Easter. Stop in or call for availability other times.

#10 Rail Paul

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 09:41 PM

I stopped by Polonia today, on my way home from Corrado's market. It was quite busy, even in the early afternoon. I was impressed that several customers were ordering and conversing with the staff in Polish.

Since I already had my dinner planned out, and nothing really excited me, I moved on. But, the smells were very impressive. And, there was a lot of bread from local bakeries.

I'm sure I'll be back soon.

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#11 marauder

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 10:44 PM

Polonia's prepared food is not much to get excited about. Stick with the cured and smoked meats and other Polish groceries. For example, that have lots of mustards and prepared horseradishes that are from Eastern Europe and are excellent.

#12 Rail Paul

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 10:26 PM

Stopped by Stefan's in Clifton today. The smoker was going full blast, and was extremely fragrant, or very polluting. Take your pick.

Picked up a few of their home made pork hot dogs. Four to a pound, $4.99 a pound. Probably cook them tomorrow. And, a pound of their medium smoked kielbasy. I sliced off a piece, and it's great, as usual. I didn't see any smoked bacon.

They also had a Polish mustard that I hadn't seen before. Musztarda Krakowska, Lagodna z Mioderm which translates as Krakow mild mustard with honey. Nice, slightly sweet taste to it. $2.49 for a small jar.

I drove over to Banas Bakery (85 Wallington Avenue in Wallington). An onion and salt roll that looked a little like a crescent. Dry and unpalatable. A 30 oz light rye bread, which was also dry. In the past, their rye breads have been more dense and more moist May have been an off day. I usually prefer the other Polonia Bakery in Passaic (200 block of Monroe, just off NJ 21) for their rye breads and pumpernickels.

Maybe it was the crystal clear day, but I was moved by the number of churches and mosques in this old mill town. A Russian Orthodox cathedral. A Byzantine Eparchate. A Magyar RC church, per the sign out front. A Slovenski cornerstone on a well kept stone church. An Islamic center with a crescent as a wind vane. Maybe I'll consider a Sunday morning walk in the area.


“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#13 marauder

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 02:00 AM

Funny you mention Banas. I picked up a Rye from them at Stefan's for Easter. The Rye was excellent. I also picked up a poppy seed "roll" which is a traditional desert item. For those not familiar, think buttery dough with a lot of moderately sweet poppysed filling rolled into a jelly roll shape and brushed with egg was prior to baking. It was TERRIBLE.

Too bad about no smoked bacon. It is my favorite Stefan's treat. Gotta get it with the riblets still attached. I slice them off and broil them separately. Mighty fine snack for the chef. lol.

#14 ghostrider

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 03:24 PM

On a whim, I went by Banas Bakery yesterday for another loaf of rye. While it's still a bit lighter than my preference, I'm reminded again what a really great crust they turn out. They're nice to have in the area for a spot of variety, for sure.

I forgot again to specify that I wanted an unsliced loaf. I keep assuming that it's the default option and it's not.

On the way there, I noticed a place called Super Deli for the first time, with much smaller lettering saying "A Polish-American grocery." Wthout the signs, you'd think the place was a sleazy cocktail lounge. Makes you wonder what they have inside there.


It was hard to avoid the feeling that somebody, somewhere, was missing the point. I couldn't even be sure that it wasn't me. - Douglas Adams

Please come visit my rock concert blog: Tantalized.

#15 Rail Paul

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 04:50 PM

QUOTE(ghostrider @ Jun 2 2010, 11:24 AM) View Post
(snip)

On the way there, I noticed a place called Super Deli for the first time, with much smaller lettering saying "A Polish-American grocery." Wthout the signs, you'd think the place was a sleazy cocktail lounge. Makes you wonder what they have inside there.



It turns out the Munchmobile visited in 2007. They produced a video starring a young woman named Zofie. The Super Deli is in Wallingon, it says here

Kilebas for Americans, pierogi, golumpke (?) for the Poles


YouTube

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman