CLEVELAND — Fresh off his nomination as a finalist for a James Beard Award, which gets decided in early June, chef Brandon Chrostowski has undertaken a charitable endeavor. With the aim of shoring up support for the Polish American Cultural Center in Slavic Village, an organization dedicated to the promotion of Polish culture in the area, Chrostowski has launched a weekly pop-up to drum up attention and support.
To say that it has succeeded is an understatement.
Bar Mleczny’s, as the pop-up is called, takes its cues from the milk bars that opened up in post-war Poland that subsisted on government-subsidized milk and egg products. The restaurant pops up in a charming lower-level bar at the center with an eastern European vibe.
Visitors to Bar Mleczny’s dig into dishes like pickled herring with potato salad, duck rillette-filled pierogi, Polish-style sour rye soup, dill and cucumber salad, pork schnitzel, potato pancakes with ghoulash, hunter's stew and stuffed cabbage. For dessert, there are sweet crepes and Napoleon-style cream pies.
Every week since its debut, Bar Mleczny's has been sold out, say organizers. Not only is this a boon for the center, but it also helps to fill the void left by the recent closures of cultural icons like Sokolowski’s and Seven Roses. Following this week’s service, Chrostowski and the rest of the team will take a pause, regroup, and likely return in June.
“The opening of Bar Mleczny is not only a boon for our Center but also for Cleveland and the revitalization of the historic Slavic Village," adds president Andy Bajda. "All are welcome and encouraged to visit our Heritage Museum and cultural garden while soaking in the friendly ethnic hospitality of our center."