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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Explore Architecture in Buffalo

5. Oddball Day

Since the 1930's, Mazurek's has baked traditional treats for Buffalo's sizable Polish community.  

There’s more to Buffalo than its imposing buildings—steep yourself in its rich Polish-American culture on the East Side, which once held the largest population of Poles outside of the Motherland. Start out on South Park Street with blackberry-jelly-filled doughnuts (79 cents each) at Mazurek's, a Polish bakery opened in 1933. Grab a bag to go of their chrusciki, deep-fried, bow-tie-shaped pastries traditionally served at holidays and weddings ($14 per pound). Drive up Broadway to reach the East Side’s Polonia neighborhood. Shop for homemade traditional foods at Broadway Market (closed Sundays) for hand-grated horseradish and kabonosy, a Polish sausage (the best specimen comes from the Lupas stall). Pull around the block to gawk at the ornate interior and intricate stained glass at St. Stanislaus Church, established in 1873. Then head over to R&L Lounge for lunch. Owned by husband and wife Ronnie and Lottie Pikuzinski since 1969, the bar feels frozen in time. Pop around the corner for a bingo game at Corpus Christi Church, which starts spinning its cage at 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Walk five blocks to the Adam Mickiewicz Center (a.k.a. the Polish Library); still adorned with jaunty 1950s wallpaper, it’s the perfect place to sip a cool Zywiec with locals, or to see what’s playing in the black-box theater, which books everything from avant-garde plays to hardcore bands. End the day with a drive into nearby Cheektowaga and hunker down for a proper meal at Polish Villa. Perch at the bar to gaze up at the carved wood ceilings and order potato pancakes ($4.45) and golabki, the Polish version of stuffed cabbage ($11.95). Close out the meal with a Bloody Mary ($5), even if it’s virgin—it comes with the most Polish garnish imaginable: a hearty chunk of sausage.

Published on Aug 1, 2014 as a web exclusive.