Date of Visit: 4-01-2012
Time of Visit: 9:10 AM
Two Poles immigrated to America. On their first day in New York City, they spotted a hot dog vendor in the street. "Do they eat dogs in America?" one asked the other. "I dunno." "Well, we're going to live here, so we might as well learn to do as they do." So they each bought a hot dog wrapped up and sat down to eat them on a nearby park bench. One Pole looked at his hot dog, then over at the other Pole and asked, "What part did you get?"
So, I am stomping on my brakes and typing this quite a bit slower than I normally would. Why? Well, if you have to ask, than I'm writing this for you. I, thought, I, would, put, in, an, extra, comma, now, and, then, to, slow, the, pace,, but, that, just, makes, me, look, like, I, am, part, of, the, "in", crowd.
There is a misconception that Poles are from Poland, but, as a matter of fact, they come from either the North or the South. Despite the prejudice that surrounds Poles, they are responsible for a variety of inventions and discoveries that have all but dispelled the notion that they can't change a light bulb without ensuing hilarity or that they are easily coaxed out of a tree. Reality about Poles is quite contrary to popular beliefs: Poles are famous for their vaults and their beans; it was a Pole that won the first auto racing time trials; Presidents have relied on their systems to become elected; and Poles were instrumental with the delivery of electricity to rural areas of the country.
We, as Americans, are familiar with many great slogans that have become the icons of this great nation. Slogans like: "Only you can prevent forest fires.", "Take a bite out of crime.", "A mind is a terrible thing to waste.", and "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.", are all shining examples of the intellectual minds at work within our marketing borders. Poles are in no way less than masters of the slogan. In fact, Pole masters have come up with a great new tag line that is one of the best I've ever encountered: "Poles, helping dancers pay their bills one dollar at a time!"
Food is another area where Poles excel, and although Pole masters have not come up with a slogan that epitomizes their strudel, kielbasa or pierogi, their eating establishments found throughout Wisconsin are typically a crap-shoot of mediocrity or fabulousness. Of the establishments I have encountered, the Polonia Cafe bullseyes more towards the fabulousness than the mediocrity.
This little cafe in the middle of Polish America is a buzz with all of the locals and passers-by alike. I have had the pleasure of dining here on a couple of occasions and have never been disappointed with either the service or the food. Becky, our server on this Sunday morning, was pleasant and could take and dish out a bit of sass which gained her high marks in my book! The decor was laden with Packer paraphernalia (surprise!) but also displayed the pride and history of the town in the many vintage photographs that were scattered throughout. Perhaps the only downside to the atmosphere and feel of yesteryear, was the constant staccato sounds of tubas and accordions that blurted out from the little white discs from hell mounted on the ceiling.
This place is small and can get quite busy during prime meal hours, so if you don't like patrons that are waiting for a seat to salivate all over themselves while watching you eat your homemade meal, you may want to take a seat on the edges of the dining room or come in just before or after prime times.
You can judge the quality of the ingredients used in an establishment by the quality of the condiments on the tables. Polonia Cafe not only has the Smucker's jams and jellies, but they also provide the flavored International Delights creamers right at the table. The food that was delivered reflects the quality ingredients that are used and was perfectly cooked and quite flavorful with a hint of a seasoned cast iron. No salt was needed and I enjoyed every bite!
I hope everyone that reads this post (both of you, thanks) will give this little gem in the midst of Portage County and the Polish Heritage Highway a try to help support the local Polish community. Perhaps, together, we can finally put to rest the playground like bullying that has suppressed these great people and the Poles can finally stand erect. With a little work and a stroke of luck, there can be an erect Pole in all of us!