Being married to a man of Polish descent, I have learned quite a bit about Polish cooking, especially the Polish traditions on Easter Sunday. When my husband's Polish side of the family gets together for Easter, certain foods are expected and highly anticipated at this dinner. A traditional Polish Easter dinner typically includes ham, Kielbasa (Polish sausage) with the accompaniments of horseradish, beet horseradish, and spicy mustard, deviled eggs, Challah bread, and Kalacs (pastry nut roll with walnut or poppy seed). Along with this meal, a starch and vegetables are served as well.
For years, my husband and I have heard rave reviews of the Polish sausage that comes from an authentic smokehouse and meat shop in the Polish neighborhood of Port Richmond in Philadelphia. Opened in the same location since 1938, Czerw's Kielbasy (pronounced "chevs") has been serving its neighborhood and the people of Philadelphia with fresh smoked kielbasa from the same recipe from the man that started it all, Jan Czerw. Jan immigrated to Philadelphia from Mislsi, Poland, bringing his experience of being a butcher to Philadelphia. Mr. Czerw would make kielbasa in his own home for his family but soon the neighbors learned of this and wanted a piece of this delicious sausage as well. As the demands grew, Jan turned a horse stable into a shop and smokehouse for his growing business. Tucked on the small Tilton Street in Port Richmond, you will find this 70 year-old family-owned business that continues to deliver outstanding kielbasa and many other Polish foods to its community.
With such a large Polish population in the city of Philadelphia, it is no surprise that lines trail down the street outside of Czerw's Kielbasy leading up to holidays such as Christmas and of course Easter. People come out of the woodwork to get the best kielbasa and ingredients for their Easter dinner. Knowing about the possibility of long lines right before Easter, my husband and I decided to make our trip to Czerw's today, a full week before Easter. We found this tiny street in the Port Richmond neighborhood with no problems. Walking down the street to the entrance, we could already smell the delicious smoked sausage. The line was about 5 people long but there were so many items in the meat cases and paraphernalia on the walls to check out that our wait went quickly. We saw a large vat of Polish pickles and picked up one of those for later. The butchers and owners, the grandsons of Jan Czerw himself, helped us with our order. They entered into the shop from the smokehouse with giant coils of sausage draped over a large rod. As soon as we saw that, we knew we would need 5 pounds of that for Easter dinner. With the addition of one pound of turkey kielbasa for a healthier option and a jar of prepared beet horseradish, we were ready to go. After sampling a large slice of hot smoked kielbasa from a tray by the register for customers, Easter dinner will surely be a huge success with this flavorful, delicious kielbasa from "The Kielbasy Boys"at Czerw's Kielbasy.
If you have yet to try this Port Richmond gem, then I highly suggest getting out there to stock up on your kielbasa needs for Easter or for any time at all. Kielbasa is certainly the star of Czerw's product menu with Smoked and Fresh Kielbasa, Extra Garlic Kielbasa, Spicy Cajun Kielbasa and Turkey Kielbasa but many other delicious meats are homemade here. Kabonasa (Polish Slim Jim), Hot Kabanosa, Krakowska (Polish lunchroll), Kiszka (Polish liver ring), Bigos (Polish stew) and Golabki (stuffed cabbage) are just some of the Polish foods offered at Czerw's. Other homemade meats include Italian Sausage, Breakfast Sausage, Smoked Bacon Slab, Old Fashion Hot Dogs, Knockwurst, Bratwurst and more. A full homemade pierogi menu is available as well ranging from the classic Potato and Cheese and Sauerkraut to the creative Philly Cheese Steak, Bacon and Cheddar, Pepperoni and Cheese, and Buffalo Chicken. Czerw's BBQ Department serves up pulled pork, pulled chicken, baby back ribs, and hamburger patties. A variety of pickled products are sold such as Gourmet Kapusta (Sauerkraut), "Dilly" Dill Pickles and Extra Garlic Pickles, Spicy Olives and Spicy Marinated Mushrooms. With this extensive menu of Polish treats and much more, there is surely something for everyone at Czerw's even if you aren't Polish!
3370 Tilton Street
Port Richmond, PA 19134