Thursday, March 4, 2010

Podhalanka: Cheap Eat of the Day

This restaurant pick is in honor of Pulaski Day. It's a Chicago public holiday held the first Monday in March to honor Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski, a mustachioed Pole who trained the cavalry.

We can only presume Pulaski liked pierogies, and if he was around today he'd tie up his horse at Podhalanka (1549 W. Division St.). Of all the Polish restaurants in town - and there are many, since Chicago has the largest Polish population outside the mother country - Podhalanka ranks among the most authentic.

It's like entering your grandma's kitchen in Krakow circa 1984. There's a bar with red vinyl seats and tables with green vinyl placemats. A picture of Pope John Paul hangs on the wall. The Polish staff take your order, and soon heaping portions of dill-flecked white borscht, tender ribs, crispy potato pancakes, and fat pierogies come out. You'll need a nap by the time they clear the plates.

Main dishes cost $4-9. The restaurant is open 9am-8pm Mon-Sat, 10am-7pm Sun.

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