Having grown up with a great many Polish relatives, a good Polish meal satisfies both my stomach and my soul. Our favorite restaurant in Hamtramck is Polish Village Cafe on Yemans. Enter through the ground level door of this former hotel and make a left down to the basement. Pull the door open to reveal this tiny gem of a space cranking out authentic perogi, golabki (stuffed cabbage), potato pancakes, nalesniki (crepes), and many other dishes. The room exudes charm with it’s dark wood wainscoting, and Polish mementos, miniature lights line the beamed ceiling, the colors change with the season. Ever had dill pickle soup? If not, quiet that voice in your head that just said “pickle”? and try it. The line can be long , afterall, Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II have eaten here, not at the same time of course….A seat at the bar and a nice Polish beer is a great way to wait for a table, recently a second floor was opened so the wait time is shorter. Polish Village Cafe does not make reservations, and only accepts cash. Seriously, try this place!
Joseph Campau is the main street running through Hamtramck, it is lined with restaurants, shops, bakeries, and bars, lots and lots of bars. The Polish Market is a pleasure to browse through, with halogen lighting and wide aisles, it doesn’t feel like your ordinary market. All sorts of Polish food products can be found here, along with other European foods. It’s entertaining to check out brand names you’ve never before seen and probably can’t pronounce !? Fresh produce, baked goods and meats line the perimeter of the store, while groceries are are beautifully lined up on shelves throughout the middle section.
You can’t leave town without visiting a bakery, Martha Washington and New Palace are both located on Joseph Campau. New Palace is larger and specializes in Polish and European style baking, while Martha Washington specializes in cakes for birthdays and weddings. You can find traditional items like Paczki and Chrusciki (angel wings) at both. The interiors look as though they haven’t changed since the doors opened, it is as though time has stood still, and it is a good feeling.