Friday, December 3, 2010

More on the future of Polonia



On Monday, we posted an interview 22-year-old Paul Jurczyk, who bought Polonia from his parents. With a new chef, Jurczyk has been modernizing the traditional Polish eatery on First Avenue...

The post elicited many negative comments from readers... Jurczyk followed up with a comment of his own that I thought was worth making a separate post...

Hi everyone, I feel like most of you have misunderstood what I was trying to say. I have no plans, whatsoever, of trying to scare off Polonia's long time patrons. I have become very well acquainted with many of them and would be sad to see them not come back. I have been frequenting Polonia since before I could walk. Many of these patrons have watched me grow up.

Everyone seems to be focusing on my "hoping that the old customers which really enjoy to nag and complain will find somewhere more suitable to their liking" comment. I did not mean to say that the older customers are naggers and would rather not have any of the older customers come in anymore. What I meant was that I have some customers (not all or even majority) which have been coming to Polonia for decades and prefer it the way it was before and make a point to tell not only myself but all my servers how much they dislike the changes.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If you do not like what I am doing that is fine — I do like the changes that I am making and most of my customers also like the changes. What doesn't make sense to me is why these patrons keep coming back and keep complaining. I won't be changing Polonia back to a diner. If you enjoy eating at diners (which I don't mind once in a while) then go eat at a diner, but please don't come in and tell me that you rather have Polonia as a diner. Its frustrating to have to listen to these complaints and frankly I find them to be a bit rude. I promise I am not changing things around just to annoy the long time customers.

Also, I in no way meant to criticize the original owners, my parents. What they did was great. They came here without a penny and created a business that was able to put my sisters and me through school. I know more than any of you how much time, work and hardships it took my parents to do what they did. My father worked seven days a week for fifteen years — I barely saw him. They did all this for my sisters and me and believe me, I appreciate all of it.

I am trying to make sure that Polonia stays afloat and doesn't disappear entirely like the many of the local spots have. Whether you like the changes or not depends on your taste and each person is allowed their own opinion. Hopefully you can all stay a bit open minded — maybe you'll find that you like Polonia better now than before.

10 comments:

Melanie said...

I can appreciate what you are doing and applaud you for being an entrepreneur. Keep the breakfast special and those wonderful peasant Polish food items too. Pirogis rock wherever you go.

Anonymous said...

FINALLY ! Someone as tactless as Carl Paladino that the EV can call it's own !

May your kielbasa find a suitable place to rest while I find an affordable "diner" to actually enjoy a meal.

blue glass said...

i don't care what you call it as long as it has tasty, clean and affordable food.

Anonymous said...

Good for you! I applaud your efforts and I'm looking forward to trying Polonia with all the updates. Everyone on this blog wants to support longtime business owners and people who grew up in the east village, and that's exactly what you are. What your parents (and now you) are accomplishing is great. Good luck!

anonymoose said...

I also felt that the other thread had become a little unnecessarily cruel and was filled with a bit of a kneejerk backlash. I never got a chance to eat at Polonia in its hey-day, but with an owner that does seem well meaning I will definitely check it out going forward.

Jeremiah Moss said...

of course people are complaining.

Polonia was one of the last affordable, accessible places to eat in that part of the neighborhood. it has a long history. elderly people would sit over breakfast drinking "glass tea" and talking about their ailments and hospital visits. people connected and shared information about the community. when you take that away, people will naturally be hurt and angry, they will feel powerless and they will grieve.

and remember that this is happening constantly, all over the city, like an unstoppable wave. many of us have watched one "regular place" after another disappear. people are tired of being pushed away, again and again.

Goggla said...

The only way to be fair is to give it a try, so I promise to do so...for breakfast...in the next few days. I've always enjoyed my meals there, so this time I will go with an open mind. Kielbasa and coffee will need to be part of this meal...

marjorie said...

Dude is 22. Let's hope his comment about "the old customers which [sic] really enjoy to nag and complain will find somewhere more suitable to their liking" was just an ill-chosen aside from someone who hasn't yet learned to moderate his words (hey, I'm 43 and STILL working on it!) or talk to the media. Let's give him a chance. I hope the whippersnapper's right and he can bring in a new clientele while also continuing to cater to the regulars his parents brought in.

Anonymous said...

Come on, New York has always been in constant change and flux. I would have imagined that NY natives would be used to that. Good things are always coming and going, that's the essence of the city.

cat said...

It's true what jeremiah said there was something about sitting there where you felt connected to others in some way unlike most restaurants where things are so stiff and formal and expensive that you just don't. Tho' I never felt the wait staff was incredibly friendly (and I am Polish but don't speak it).

I felt very sure of myself also at 22 but at 22 I don't know if you can appreciate continuity and community and keeping something affordable in the same way esp if you are trying to put your own mark on things and change something that you are admitting was successful.

I would disagree that parents should do something for their children that means the parents never see them! That just seems backwards. And I wonder if it has something to do with what's going on now - the changes.