I first wrote this on a cold autumn evening in Jezyce, Poznan and shared it on Medium. I thought I would share it again today. Enjoy and smacznego!
Dinner theater. I really enjoy the Bar Mleczny and utilitarian experience it provides. Decent, reasonably priced delicious food while serving up a nice slice of history and timeless nostalgic atmosphere at the same time. In my neighborhood, I especially enjoy sitting in this window bathed in neon and watching the passersby making their way to someplace warm.
There is nothing special about the interior or the exterior of the cafeteria, but somehow the entire package commands being “special” and your attention. In every plate of food are hidden the special ingredients of history and decades of selfless service these places have afforded to countless folks in every corner of Poland. I do not frequent these places, but I am frequently here and when I need a reminder of time and the history of my surroundings, then this is where I spend those moments.
When I first arrived in Poland, the intimidation factor of ordering and then receiving anything at the Bar Mleczny was through the roof and my initial impression was one of dread, but from the first actual experience my impression had shifted to wonder. It is a no nonsense style of dining that doesn’t bend to the will of the consumer or your personal needs. You order. You receive. No changes. No bullshit and certainly not much humor. Yet, the entire process is to me, slightly humorous and never short of cinematic or at least the Polish version of a Seinfeld episode. Coming from a lifelong history and work experience in the hospitality industry, I deeply appreciate and adore this. I could even sit here all day, watching the comings and goings of the locals and travelers making for a plethora of interesting stories coming through the door.
The food here is all comfort, hearty and classic. Prepared by Moms. Served by Moms. Enjoyed by all. If you are finding yourself in Poland, please do stop in to one and have something to eat, sit for a while, watch and soak in the rich history of life served up on a plate. You will not regret it and the experience of all of this will be a highlight to look back on for years to come. I promise.
My neighborhood Bar, as seen above, serves up nostalgia in the form of neon reaching from across the street revealing the entry to one of the oldest theaters in Poznan, Kino Rialto. The sign itself is famous as anyone who knows the city, has probably been bathed in the red glow emanating from it. Sitting here, enjoying my food, I am reminded of a large television or movie screen that allows one to appreciate the cinema of life wandering by while partaking in the scene of one already unfolding. Again, I love this.
And for the curious….I enjoyed a plate of Pierogi ruskie and shared some Naleśniki z jabłkami. Fantastic!