If, in your meanderings through the Strip, you long to hear Polish spoken as you gather up haluski, Vegeta and Ptasie Mleczko, head to S&D Polish Deli on Penn Avenue. (If you long to hear English, those are cabbage and noodles; a spice used in soups and casseroles; and Bird's Milk, a chocolate-covered marshmallow candy.)
The deli, which opened shortly before the holidays, offers hard-to-find staples of Polish cooking, Polish newspapers and magazines, and a daily hot-lunch special, made with care by owner Dorota Pyszkowska. (Her husband, Slamomir, is the S in S&D.)
"Polish people come for what we have in the store," she says. "American people come for lunch."
Each day, you can find a soup, haluski, perogi, hunter's stew and a rotating special. "I try to add something every day," Pyszkowska says. "I'll try to follow whatever people are requesting."
The couple moved to the States seven years ago in search of better opportunities for themselves and their six kids. After attending a monthly Polish Mass on the North Side, Pyszkowska says they felt a store offering Polish specialties -- available locally, instead of from suppliers in New York, Chicago and New Jersey -- would be a great asset to the local Polish population.
"Maybe if no one else wants to do it, we'll try," Pyszkowska says. So, the couple opened up the shop with things they missed – newspapers and candy were high on that list.
"I went through communist times," she explains, "and we didn't have any candy. When you had that on the table, you knew it was a special time."
Also important are holiday items. There will be zurek, or white borscht, for Easter. For the recent holiday season, Pyszkowska says she had several requests for blood soup, a festive dish made with duck's blood, but she couldn't track down the special concentrate needed for it. She hopes to have it for this year's holidays.
Advertising so far has been mostly word of mouth, though the distinctive red-and-white sign and the location in the high-traffic Strip District certainly helps. They also plan on getting the word out in Polish churches.
In addition to spices, compotes, pastas, teas and hair products, there is, of course, plenty of Polish Steelers gear. Na zdrowie!
2204 Penn Ave., Strip District. 412-281-2906. Closed Sundays.