Despite it’s big-sounding name, the Pulaski Highway is a little rural road that winds through the black-dirt fields of Orange County. Alongside a creek that forms the boundary between Goshen and Warwick, there is what looks like a country deli — but this is no ordinary store. In fact, it’s renowned for attracting sausage and charcuterie enthusiasts from all over, including such illustrious chefs as Bobby Flay and Anthony Bourdain, both of whom have taped episodes for their TV shows on the premises.
Owner Bobby Matuszewski inherited the store from his Polish immigrant grandparents, who opened it in 1947. He learned a lot from his grandfather, but also formally trained at the Culinary Institute as a garde manger chef, a specialty that makes him an expert at seasoning, curing, drying, smoking, marinating, and otherwise preparing and preserving meats.
Matuszewski says he carries “about 50 different products, just in the meat category.” Among them are hams, bacon, cold cuts, and all kinds of sausages: wursts, franks, chorizo, andouille, and Italian-style, “all made with the highest quality ingredients,” he emphasizes. The number-one seller on the sausage list is the traditional Polish kielbasa. “We go through 500 pounds a week, even on our slowest weeks,” Matuszewski says.
Clockwise, from top left: The Polish platter with stuffed cabbage and pierogies; sausage and pepper sandwich attracts diner Jeff Braunius; smoked kielbasa fresh from the smoker, with Bobby Matuszewski
Then there are salads, pickles, relishes, sauerkraut, slow-cooked baked beans, stuffed mushrooms and — not least — the homemade pierogies, which have a well-earned following of their own.
Cases holding coils of sausages and meats are a highlight in the modest but immaculate setting, where wood floors, knotty pine walls, and oak doors on the big refrigerators give the place a 1940s look. Get there early, nab one of the few tables, and treat yourself to the kielbasa sandwich. Better yet, have the Polish platter: pierogies with sautéed onion, stuffed cabbage, kielbasa, and sauerkraut. Sit and savor, and wonder why such tasty Eastern European food ever got a bum rap. Then buy some kielbasa and pierogies to take home, and you can relive the happy experience at dinner.
» Visit Quaker Creek Store in Goshen, NY
» Go to Quaker Creek Store’s Web site at www.quakercreekstore.com
» Go to the Hudson Valley Restaurants Guide