3370 Tilton Street
Nothing has changed in almost eighty years. Same huge, smoke blackened and seasoned smokers, same recipes for kielbasa, pierogies, stuffed cabbage and other Polish specialties. Third generation of the same family stoking the smokers and stuffing the kielbasa.
The smoky aroma of smoldering cherry and apple logs hits as soon as you turn onto Tilden Street. Walk into their store and the smoke strikes your eyes. Poke around the corner into the smoking room and it gets thicker still. Open one of the three cast iron smoker doors, and the smoke becomes dangerously enticing, luring you into the smoker, with the temptation to pull the door closed and nestle in until properly barbecued. A tasty way to go.
Along with traditional fresh and smoked kielbasa, Czerw's sells extra garlic, cajun and turkey kielbasa. There is also bacon, hot dogs, smoked pork butt and pulled pork shoulder. Pulled pork? "Is that southern or Polish." John Czerw answered, "Doesn't matter. It's football season and makes a great sandwich."
Czerw's also makes a bunch of pierogies. My first time there I went home with "loaded' pierogies - potato with cheddar cheese and bacon. The also do cheesesteak pierogies along with both potato and sauerkraut pierogies.
Plenty of cooking going on. They cooked up some kapusta or stuffed cabbage. There's Bigos too, a Polish hunters stew with onions and cabbage.
They are proud of the kielbasa - nothing artificial, no scraps, no preservatives. Pork butts with fresh garlic and some seasonings.
Stop by during a weekday and there's no wait. On the weekend, maybe a few people in line. During the week before major holidays, especially Easter and Christmas, there's a line out the door and down the block. Normally that would be bad news. But on Christmas, at least, to keep people warm, they bring the line inside and let folks wait in the smoke room.
As an aside, I came up with my own football watching sandwich, courtesy of Czerw's Kielbasy. Grilled kielbasa, sautéed pierogies, caramelized onions and stone ground mustard. Doing the same next week, but adding some sautéed apple, too.