Old World Fare at Old-Time Prices

Simple Glenwood Springs eatery serves affordable Polish food

P1020818Polanka serves authentic, generously portioned Eastern European fare at prices so reasonable they’ll make you blink in disbelief. Located in the heart of Glenwood Springs at the turn from the short stretch between Interstate 70 access and the Grand Avenue Bridge, thousands of people pass it every day including many en route up-valley to Aspen. The lucky ones stop at the frill-free strip mall eatery, and the smart ones keep coming back for what I think is the best, inexpensive food in the Roaring Fork Valley — or at least the gateway to the valley.

Polanka is super-simple and whistle-clean. The food iks ample, inexpensive and good.
Polanka is super-simple and whistle-clean. The food is ample, inexpensive and good.

The walls are so spare that customers can’t miss the two framed 9/11 posters on a short wall beside the front door. I found them to be an unexpected theme in the middle of Colorado, so I asked. Across from the posters is the open galley kitchen where grandmother Irene and grandson Pat, whose last name(s) I don’t know, were working. Pat told me that Irene used to run a Polish restaurant, also called Polanka, in Woodbridge, New Jersey — relatively close to the Twin Towers. She moved to Colorado, became bored and opened a Polanka in Glenwood Springs — and like the original, everything is scratch-made on the spot. Her grandson came out to help.

Pat and Irene prepare and serve Polish specialties.
Pat and Irene prepare and serve Polish specialties.

My husband and I stopped there for a late, light lunch, but “light” and “Polish food” don’t belong in the same sentence — but we did the best we could. I vacillated between pierogies, which I love, and potato pancakes, which I also love. My husband settled on a sandwich.

Three crisp potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce.
Three crisp potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce. Those with heartier appetites can order five pancakes.
Humongous pieces of boneless, breaded and fried on marble rye with cabbage, tomato and mayo.
Humongous pieces of boneless chicken, breaded, fried crisp and placed between thick slices of marble rye with cabbage, sliced tomato and mayo.

Price check: Everything is under $10 — most well under $10.

Polanka on Urbanspoon

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