The Polish Boy: A Cleveland Superfood
It’s unfathomable that you’ve never heard of LeBron James and the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Superman, yes, (the original Superman), the bug in the lake, the fumble, the shot. .. OK, now I’m getting negative. Well, anyway, one thing you’ve probably never heard of that Cleveland is famous for is the “Polish kid.”
No, it’s not an Eastern European boy band. A “Polish boy” is a sausage sandwich, usually made with grilled smoked Kielbasa, stuffed on a giant bun and dipped in a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, topped with French fries and creamy fresh coleslaw.
Trust me, it’s good…
Even Esquire magazine has fallen under its spell, calling it “soul on white”…as on white bread. And Wendy Williams has even paid tribute to the majesty of him on the sake of his name show.
As popular as Polish kids are in the city, depending on which part of the city you are in, they can be a bit hard to find. As a kid, we used to get these on our way to Cleveland Indians games from various street vendors in the center of the stadium. These days, your best bet is “Seti’s,” which is a food truck that’s usually parked at Dean Supply, a restaurant supply in town on Woodland Ave. Also, most Soul Food restaurants like B&M’s and Hot Willow Williams will have the original and also put their own spin on the classic.
I know you’re probably thinking, “If they’re so good, how come I haven’t heard of the Polish Boys?
Well, unlike other American cities known as foodie destinations with favorites like:
Philly Cheese Steaks (Philadelphia), Po’ Boys from Nawlins’ (New Orleans), or even Pink’s Hot dogs in Los Angeles. Like just about everything else in Cleveland, there’s very little fanfare and respect for greatness abounds. But those in the know come and enjoy great pleasure, while the snobs and the less sophisticated miss out. Just remember, don’t forget the napkins…lots of napkins!
Are you feeling adventurous? Bring a bit of Cleveland into your home and try to make your own sandwich?
Below are the basic ingredients and instructions for about 4 sandwiches:
* 2 pounds. potatoes, split, washed and peeled, fried in canola oil and salt
* 4 links of boiled smoked meat kielbasa. (Optional): fry them quickly after boiling them
* 4 white bread hoagie rolls
* Coleslaw (either store-bought or homemade)
* BBQ Sauce: (Optional) Using hot sauce will make it authentic.
Oh yeah again, don’t forget the napkins…