Golumpkis galore: Deerfield’s BBA Deli Market a popular lunch destination

  • Alina Warzynski and Bozena Giedrowicz serve up the hot bar to lunch the crowd at BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Armand Roberts stops by the BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield every time he is in town making deliveries from Ludlow.

  • Alina Warzynski and Bozena Giedrowicz own the BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Alina Warzynski and Bozena Giedrowicz own the BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Customer leaves BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Alina Warzynski prepare hot foods at the BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Bozena Giedrowicz sauces up some ribs at the BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Lunvh crowd at BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Traditional Polish foods line the shelves at the BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Alina Warzynski makes deviled eggs at the BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Nothing is wasted at BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Bozena Giedrowicz and Alina Warzynski get ready for lunch rush at the BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Cash only at BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Bozena Giedrowicz fries chicken breasts and makes golumpkis at the BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

  • Analog lives at the BBA Polish Deli in South Deerfield.

Recorder Staff
Published: 8/2/2016 2:51:59 PM

During the lunch hour rush, savory smells waft out the doors of the BBA Deli Market, a Polish deli nestled between rows of houses on Thayer Street in Deerfield.

Work boots and high heeled shoes thud and clack on the old wooden floor as customers mill in and out, forming a line at the end of a 20-foot-long display case filled with food. For many, stopping into the BBA Deli is just part of their everyday routine.

According to co-owner Bozena Giedrowicz, golumpkis — a dish of meat and grains wrapped in boiled cabbage — are the deli’s best-selling item.

“The golumpkis are out of this world,” commented Holly Perrea, 48, of Whately.

“We do around 150, 200 daily,” said Co-Owner Alina Warzynski. Golumpkis, she said, and they also take the most time to make, though all of the deli’s dishes pose a challenge.

Pierogies — dumplings stuffed with cabbage, potatoes, or cheese, then boiled and pan-fried — are also highly popular.

“Many times we run out because we can’t keep up,” said Warzynski, 66, of Southampton. The deli offers pre-packaged pierogies too, just in case.

“You just have to go fast, fast, fast to keep up with everything,” Warzynski said of the lunch time rush. “About 10:30 to 3 o’clock, we have to run. There’s no time in the kitchen.”

To make things busier, Giedrowicz and Warzynski are the deli’s only two full-time employees, though Warzynski’s daughter provides part-time help when needed.

Steeped in tradition

Giedrowicz, 59, of Chicopee, and Warzynski opened the deli together back in 1998. Both had immigrated from Poland, Giedrowicz in 1982 and Warzynski in 1970, and had been family friends for some time after settling in Massachusetts.

“Our friends would say ‘You should open a deli because you’re good cooks,’” Warzynski said simply.

While visiting a friend who lived in Deerfield, Warzynski saw the building at 39 Thayer St. was for rent, and the two women’s vision quickly came together.

The name “BBA Deli Market” comes from the first initial of the women’s first names as well as that of another woman who was, at one time, a third co-owner.

All of the recipes used in the deli originate in Poland, with Warzynski and Giedrowicz’s families.

“They come from our grandmothers and our great-grandmothers,” Giedrowicz said. Both women grew up cooking on a daily basis and learning the traditional recipes from their elders.

Giedrowicz said the BBA Deli Market is the only deli she knows selling Polish food. The deli has changed little in its 18-year history, aside from sometimes offering new recipes, Giedrowicz said. But its customer base has continued to grow.

Loyal clientele

“It’s still growing,” Warzynski said. “We’ve seen the same faces everyday for years.”

“The parents come in, the kids come in and now the grandkids come in,” Giedrowicz added.

Not a lot of advertising is needed, Giedrowicz said, although someone did open a Facebook page for the business. “BBA Polish Deli” has over 1,600 likes on Facebook and has received an average rating of 4.8 out of five stars in 80 reviews.

“The people just advertise us,” Giedrowicz said.

Some customers, Warzynski said, come in from New Hampshire and Vermont on a weekly basis.

The traditional Polish foods are often a hit with descendants of Polish immigrants who settled in Deerfield and surrounding towns. However, in many instances, the children did not learn how to make the dishes themselves, and the recipes weren’t passed down as they were in Warzynski and Giedrowicz’s families.

“These are things that they like because their mother used to do it or their grandmother used to do it,” Warzynski said.

Both local and foreign

In addition to the best-selling golumpkis and pierogies, the BBA Deli Market offers kielbasa, sauerkraut and an extensive variety of prepared salads and side dishes. Each day features a different special.

“Deciding is the hardest part,” said Mike Stryszko, 62, of Easthampton, who has been coming to the deli since 2003.

All meals are carry-out, and the deli only accepts cash.

The shop also offers rows of staple ingredients to Polish meals, for those interested in cooking Polish dishes at home. All the items and many of the ingredients for BBA Deli Market’s dishes are ordered from GMI European Food Distributors out of Berlin, Connecticut.

However, some of the deli’s ingredients are grown locally,

“During the summer, we get all the vegetables from the farmers,” Warzynski said, especially cabbage and tomatoes.

The best kind of people

Warzynski is thankful for her customers’ many years of support.

“They’re the best kind of people around,” she said.

David Stowell, 51, of Sunderland said he stops by the deli for lunch at least once a week, sometimes every other day, and is such a familiar face that the staff have memorized his usual order: a chicken cutlet grinder.

“You get a lot of food for the money. One grinder lasts for two lunches,” Stowell said, adding that he has been coming to the deli for 12 years.

A friendly staff also goes a long way in the customers’ eyes.

“When they spotted I had a dog, they’ve been giving me scraps,” Stowell noted.

“It’s all fresh food made that day, and the customer service is great,” said Adam Felton, 26, of Millers Falls, who has been coming to the deli for two years. “You can’t beat it.”

BBA Deli Market is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sunday. To contact BBA Deli Market, call 413-665-9171.

Recipe

Lazy Pierogies

One box of bowtie pasta

One cup of dried porcini mushrooms, chopped

One 8-ounce can of white mushrooms, sliced

Half a stick of butter (or a quarter cup)

One small head of cabbage, chopped

One 30-ounce jar of Polish sauerkraut

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta, followed by cabbage, sauerkraut, both varieties of mushrooms and butter. You will need to drain the porcini mushrooms beforehand if you purchase them in a jar. Add salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Strain.

Warzynski estimates the dish takes about 30 minutes to prepare and cook.

Serve hot. Makes seven or eight servings.

“It’s easy to make,” Warzynski said. “It takes (30) minutes to make instead of five hours to make,” as would be the case with traditional pierogies.


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