The Seattle Polish Home Restaurant is unlike any thing I’ve ever experienced. Open one day each week in the Polish Cultural Center, Polish Home’s food is authentic, the atmosphere is homey, and the staff welcoming and friendly.
The Polish Cultural Center (1714 18th Avenue) is located in the middle of a residential neighborhood. In fact, when I was driving up I thought, “Am I lost?” While the center primarily serves paid members (a year membership is $60), the doors are open to the public every Friday evening, 6-10 p.m., for its restaurant offerings. Members can get in for free and non-members have to pay a $1. While it is may not sound like a traditional restaurant, it has all the components of a restaurant– a full menu (in English and Polish), wait service, and even a bar that sells traditional Polish beer (among other adult beverages). Something to note: the Seattle Polish Home Restaurant accepts only cash payment.
I went with a rather large group to celebrate my cousin Zack’s birthday. To optimize our experience at the Seattle Polish Home Restaurant, we ordered family style. That means we pretty much tried everything. Some of the highlights included pickled soup; beet soup; a variety of pierogis including meat, cheese, and blueberry; the Polish Platter which came with cabbage rolls, sausage, and more pierogis; and breaded pork chops. All of it was delicious and home-made.
The first Polish Home opened in Ballard in 1899, acting as a support source for new immigrants. Meetings, celebrations, dances, and festivals were held there. Seattle’s Polish population increased, and in 1920 a new, bigger Seattle Polish Home opened on Capitol Hill, where it still stands.
One of the members told me the Seattle Polish Home wasn’t used very much for a very long time, and was even close to closing its doors a few times. That all changed in the early 2000s. Prior to that time, the Seattle Polish Home Restaurant only made and sold pierogis, which are traditional Polish dumplings. The woman also told me not many people knew the Seattle Polish Home Restaurant existed. In the early 2000s the kitchen got a new head chef who started expanding the menu. Not only did the restaurant start selling a better variety of food, but word got out and now the place is packed with people every Friday night and when I say packed, I mean it. Good luck trying to get a table if you show up early.
I am so thankful the Polish Home has weathered the storm and found its place in Seattle today. Tim is actually Polish and was bummed he could not join us for the night (he had to work). We will be back soon so Tim can experience it himself.
Have you ever visited the Polish House? What did you think? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave your comments below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to eat and drink in the Emerald City!