Friday, January 19, 2007

Local Food: POL Bistro & Cafe

We tried a new restaurant tonight. I had been driving past it on the way to work for months, and it finally opened on Monday. All I knew about it was the name, "POL BISTRO AND CAFE" but I wanted to check it out. Not because I really like Polish food, but because I really don't know much of anything about Polish food beyond pierogi from the fair. So I had my first experience with a potato pancake wrapped around beef stew. It was really pleasant, simple food, and I've got enough leftovers for two more meals - from the lunch portion! For $9.99!

It is also a new, independent, local restaurant. I like the mom-and-pop places and I like to see them do well. But around here, the chain crap-on-the-wallpelbees type dominates the selection. We have a lot of good independent Asian and Mexican places
: Thai, Indian, Japanese, and dozens of taco/burrito joints. I'd like to see more variety, so getting some European choices is great. If someone opens up an independent American restaurant that ISN'T a sports bar I'd be there, too.

I'm not saying that chain restaurants don't have a place in my heart. I'll go for a focus-group-approved salad from TGI Fridays or the portobello ravioli from Olive Garden when the mood strikes. What I hate is the idea that eventually every establishment in the country will serve the same menu of artichoke-spinach dip, deep fried onion blossom, and Jack Daniels steak. I had a preview of that future in Terre Haute... We did eventually find a few good independent places, but a "city" of that size should have had more, at least in my perfect world.

The best defence against homogenization is to reward the unique places with your patronage. That can get difficult when the sneakier chains try to make themselves seem like non-chains. I've learned to use the power of the Internet to check up on a new place before getting my hopes up. Basically, if it is a chain, and it is named something like "Mike and Jimmy's" you can nearly bet that there has never been a Mike or a Jimmy involved in it. They just call themselves that to seem like they used to be a mom-and-pop place. Grr.

Update on previous post: Bibble did come out with a new version when I was halfway through the processing. It does nifty new stuff. (One of these days I'll write more about Bibble and how I use it.)

1 comment:

  1. Our family goes to Pol Bistro about twice a month for Dinner. Friday or Saturday evening is the best time in my opinion. I agree with you about the mom & pop restaurants like this, we could use more of them and less big chain outfits.

    I took photos of the food at Pol Bistro, including the one you mentioned in the article, my favorite for a hearty meal! See and


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