The Polish Kid: A Cleveland Superfood

It’s unfathomable you’ve never heard of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers World Champions, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Superman, yeah, (the original Superman), the bug in the lake, the fumble, the shot … Okay, 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, this is not an Eastern European boy band. A “Polish Boy” is a sausage sandwich, usually made with charcoal-grilled smoked Kielbasa stuffed on a giant hot dog roll and drowned in a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, topped with French fries and fresh creamy coleslaw.

Believe me, it’s good …

Even Esquire magazine has fallen under her spell, calling her “soul over white” … as in white bread. And Wendy Williams has even paid tribute to his majesty on her name show.

As popular as Polish guys are in the city, depending on where you are in the city, they can be a bit difficult to find. When I was a kid, we used to take them on the way to Cleveland Indians games from the various downtown street vendors next to the stadium. Today, your best bet is “Seti’s,” which is a food truck that is usually parked at Dean Supply, a restaurant supply in the city of Woodland Ave. Also, most Soul Food restaurants like B & M’s and Hot Sauce Williams will have the original and will 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 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 almost everything else in Cleveland, there is very little fanfare and respect for greatness abounds. But those in the know come and enjoy great pleasure, while snobs and the unsophisticated miss out. Just remember, don’t forget the napkins … lots of napkins!

Are you feeling adventurous? Bring home some Cleveland and try making your own sandwich?

Below are the basic ingredients and instructions for about 4 sandwiches:

Will need:

* 2 pounds. potatoes, sliced, washed and peeled, fried in canola oil and salt

* 4 links of boiled smoked beef kielbasa. (Optional): quickly fry them after boiling

* 4 white bread hoagie rolls

* Coleslaw (store bought or homemade)

* BBQ Sauce: (Optional) Using hot sauce will make it authentic.

Oh yeah again, don’t forget the napkins …

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