The Washington Post – 1/2/2008
Polish sausages are not made at the Kielbasa Factory. Still, the display cases are filled with more than a dozen varieties, such as the garlicky, U-shaped wiejska (ask for “vee-YAY-ska”), made with pork and veal ($5.49 per pound).
“But that is our long-term goal: to one day make our own,” says owner Krystyna Ahrens, a freelance translator from Krakow who opened this Polish deli and grocery in late November. “Until then, we will bring them in from a very good butcher in Chicago.” The favorite, thus far, is the thin, foot-long, air-dried sticks of heavily smoked pork kabanos ($5.99 per pound).
Ahrens’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. (The Washington area has been without a Polish deli since Gourmet Polonez in Silver Spring closed several years ago.) On a recent Saturday, her long, narrow shop was mobbed with customers filling hand baskets to overflowing with packages of frozen cheese pierogi and blueberry blintzes as well as traditional-style pickles, cookies and chocolates.
“Before, people traveled to New Jersey or Baltimore just for the sausages and bread,” says shopper Kasia Gonzelez, 30, who was born in a small town near Warsaw and now lives in Fairfax. “We’re all excited about the store.”
In one refrigerated case, there were pretty chicken aspic salads ($2.99 for eight ounces), with slices of white breast meat, carrot and hard-cooked egg suspended in gelatin. (To serve: Release the salad onto a plate, cut into wedges and drizzle with lemon juice or vinegar.) We liked the vegetable salad ($4.99 for one pound) made of diced carrot, potato, celery root and peas, cooked so all the ingredients still had a bit of crunch, in a mellow, mayonnaise-based dressing.
Substantial sausage, ham or turkey sandwiches on Polish rye bread ($4.49 each), with a choice of assorted cheeses, are composed at the deli counter. While there, don’t overlook the hearty cabbage rolls ($2.99 each) stuffed with well-seasoned rice and ground pork. Reheat them at home with the accompanying light tomato sauce.
For dessert or tea time, there are light and airy tortes. We enjoyed the layered, not-too-sweet poppy seed torte ($8.49, serves eight), which has a thin chocolate layer on top, with a hint of citrus.
— Walter Nicholls
Polish Classic Cooking Post – 1/21/2011
“Good stuff” kielbasa from Kielbasa Factory, Inc., Rockville MD.
Witamy! These days, one can find Polish kielbasa in almost every grocery store, butcher and meat seller in the neighborhood. BUT, there’s mass produced kielbasa and there’s “the good stuff” – and a huge difference between the two. We’ve bought the grocery store links…used it in Bigos (Hunters Stew) or grilled it over charcoal, and it’s been OK – but just OK. Given a choice, we’ll go with “the good stuff” every time.
In most cases the really “good stuff,” with authentic flavors and textures just like you’d get in Poland, is found in Polish or Eastern European delis that buy their links from sausage makers that use authentic Polish recipes and sausage-making processes. Kielbasa Factory, Inc., in Rockville MD is a clear winner for buying kielbasa (and anything else Polish for that matter).
Kielbasa Factory is a deli featuring all kinds of foods and preparations imported from Poland or prepared by Poles within driving distance to the cases, shelves and coolers. From chocolates to soups, from pickles to pierogi, from dried mushrooms to beer, from cookies to cakes, and everything that’s Polish in between. Plus, there are shelves heavy with Polish pottery, glassware, books, videos, greeting cards, magazines, tee shirts, and even a baby’s bib (which we did get recently for our granddaughter that reads” Polish Princess”), and even my Mom’s iconic The Art of Polish Cooking, which is still selling well after 45 years.
But this is about Kielbasa. I didn’t count, but I’ll bet they carry at least 25 different varieties. Some are more lean than others. Some have more garlic than others. Some have more herbs than others. Some are thin and some are fat. In fact, there’s even one that is heart-shaped.
All their flavors are amazing and the aromas circulating through the store are intoxicating. Then suddenly your eyes spot the menu board that lists a few kielbasa sandwiches prepared fresh on the spot and your mouth starts to water and you start smacking your lips as you watch your sandwich being heated on the grill. That’s “good stuff.”
But here’s the big deal (and it is truly a big deal), anyone can buy a pound of shrink-wrapped Polish Kielbasa at big grocery store. They even come in Lite or Turkey versions (OMG). But these links are produced in huge quantities. They have no personality, they are full of preservatives, and nowhere near as flavorful as “the good stuff.”
So find a Polish deli, go try a few varieties of authentic kielbasa – most delis will gladly share samples – and treat yourself to “the good stuff.”
You deserve it.
A husband-and-wife team that has been cooking and eating classic Polish food together for almost forty years.
Where the Beltway Ends – 1/17/2011
The Kielbasa Factory Offers a Taste of Polonia
While Washington, DC doesn’t rank high on the list of cities with a strong Polish immigrant population and influence (à la Cleveland or Pittsburgh), we are nevertheless fortunate enough to be home to a deli and grocery dedicated completely to the culinary whims of the area’s thousands of Poles and Eastern Europeans.
Nestled on the top floor of a strip mall in Rockville, the Kielbasa Factory is small yet offers a comprehensive selection of grocery items and ingredients, frozen and prepared foods (most made in New York, though some in-house), and deli meats and cheeses. This family-owned store has only been open since late 2007, is the only Polish deli in the area, and as far as I can tell one of only two places in DC and its surroundings where you can get Polish food (the other being the restaurant Domku in Petworth).
Of course, the main attraction to the Kielbasa Factory is the kielbasa, and the store features many different varieties of these sausages. Jars of pickles, preserved fish, and canned fruits and vegetables line the walls, along with Polish coffees, candies, wine, and other products that I’m sure must be a delight to find around here.
I took home with me a package of potato and cabbage pierogis, fresh sauerkraut, a couple of Żywiec beers, and Polish chocolate, and cooked up an excellent and hearty meal (though wish I had a “babcia” to make the real deal for me!)
I was disappointed that all of the Polish baked goods had sold out by the time I was there on a Sunday afternoon. Apparently paczki (filled donuts) and other homemade pastries are delivered on Fridays from New York City, and are usually sold out by the end of the weekend. So, my advice: go early on Saturday morning if you’re looking for baked sweet treats! (Meanwhile, watch this great clip about the paczki-making process and how a local Polish bakery in Detroit has become a staple in the community).
Also interesting about the Kielbasa Factory is that it has a shipping and parcel service to make sending packages to Poland and other Eastern European countries easier. In addition, there are a number of Polish newspapers and magazines for sale. It’s clear that the Kielbasa Factory is not just a place to get good food, but is an important part of Rockville and DC’s Polish community.
The Washington Post – 1/28/2009
Recipe Finder – Grown-Up Sausage Bites
Molasses, cocoa powder and Guinness add depth to the dough of these — for lack of a better description — pigs in a blanket. When you wrap the dough around fresh kielbasa or other sausage, the dough and meat finish cooking at the same time. They smell wonderful as they bake.
Good kielbasa (made with pork shoulder, water and spices) is available at the Kielbasa Factory in Rockville (240-453-9090), either made by chef Jamie Stachowski or shipped in from Chicago. Other fresh sausage can be substituted.
Serve with a grainy mustard and/or horseradish cream.
MAKE AHEAD: The dough needs about 2 hours total to rise. It can be formed and left to rise in a covered bowl in the refrigerator overnight.
Makes 40 to 48 pieces (10 to 12 servings)
- 2 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
- 1 3/4 cups rye flour, such as Arrowhead Mills or Bob’s Red Mill brand
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry instant yeast (from two 1/4-ounce packages)
- 1/2 cup warm water (about 100 degrees)
- 1 tablespoon warm melted unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup dark beer or stout, such as Guinness
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- 2 1/2 pounds fresh kielbasa links, at room temperature (may substitute other fresh sausage)
- Kosher pickles, for garnish
For the dough: Combine the bread flour and rye flour, cocoa powder, caraway seeds, salt and flavored powders on a sheet of wax paper.
Combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer; let sit for 5 minutes, then add the butter, beer or stout and molasses; stir to mix well.
Add 1/4 cup of the flour mixture to the bowl. Seat the bowl in the stand mixer and attach a dough hook; beat on low speed for 30 seconds to combine, then stop the motor to add the remaining flour mixture. Beat on low speed until a soft brown dough forms; stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium and beat for several minutes, adding flour as needed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm area of the kitchen for 2 hours or until almost doubled in bulk.
Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly flour a work surface (with bread flour).
Gently punch down the dough, which will be quite soft. Transfer to the work surface and lightly dust with the flour, kneading gently to divide it into 2 portions.
Working with one portion at a time, roll it out to a thickness of 1/4 inch, flouring the surface of the dough as needed to keep it from getting sticky. Cut 1 piece of dough for each link. If you are using large, 8-ounce sausages, cut the dough into sections roughly 9 by 11 inches. If you are using 4- to 6-ounce sausages, cut slightly smaller portions of dough.
Center 1 sausage link on each rolled-out portion of dough; roll to enclose tightly and completely, ending with the seam on the bottom (overlap is preferred). If needed, trim the ends so the sausage can be seen at either end. Place them on the baking sheet, spaced 1 inch apart. Repeat as needed to cover all the sausages; you may have some dough and/or scraps left over. (The dough can be wrapped well and frozen for future use for up to 3 months.)
Brush the tops of the dough-wrapped sausages with a little water, then lightly sprinkle salt on the tops. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the center of the sausage registers 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting crosswise into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces.
Cut a few pickles crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then quarter each slice. Place on top of each sausage bite and secure with a toothpick. Serve warm.
VARIATION: For a lighter-rye dough, omit the cocoa powder. Substitute honey for the molasses.
From Washington chef Jamie Stachowski.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick for The Washington Post.
Journal of the Janus Museum – Panabasis – 1/6/2008
The Holistic Sausage District of Rockville, Maryland
Is there a happier phrase in English than “Kielbasa Factory Grand Opening”? The only phrases that come close, in my opinion, are “Chinese Buffet” and maybe “ALL U CAN EAT”. Come to think of it, though, I also love to whisper “spaghetti carbonara” to myself during times of stress – its mellifluous sound is oddly comforting.
At any rate, I was in a festive mood when I visited the Kielbasa Factory in nearby Rockville, Maryland this afternoon. Even though this Washington Post article had tipped me off that the store’s kielbasi aren’t actually made on the premises – are shipped in from Chicago, though the proprietor hopes to eventually make it locally. Of course, there is still Ostrowski’s in Baltimore. But the Kielbasa Factory’s a nice little deli – I picked up a fine garlicky sausage – brought it home (the auto will reek for weeks, probably), and used it to make a pretty fair choucroute garnie along with hunks of pork loin, a couple of smoked neck bones, and just a touch of hog jowl. Here’s another view of the Kielbasa Factory:
It’s conveniently located next door to a yoga studio, the Dahn Holistic Center – come for the Atha yoganushasanam; stay for the charcuterie.
Express Night Out – 1/2/2008
Out & About: Sausages Galore in Rockville
ON CAPITOL HILL, it is sometimes said that observing legislators at work is kind of like watching sausage being made. On Rockville Pike, however, the new Kielbasa Factory lets its patrons focus more on eating sausages — a far more appetizing prospect.
As The Post’s Walter Nicholls reports, the sausages at the Kielbasa Factory aren’t actually made on-site, although in-house production is a long-term goal. Right now, the meat is prepared by a top butcher in Chicago . But local sausage lovers should still rejoice — we’ve been without a reputable Polish deli for years.
The eatery, owned by Polish native Krystyna Ahrens boasts more than just sausages. Expect pierogies, bread, brined Polish pickles and the Pope Kremowka, the late Pope John Paul II’s favorite puff cake. And if you’re looking for that ultimate of Fat Tuesday treats, the Polish jelly-filled paczki, Ahrens and her crew will have you covered for any gluttony before Lent.
» Kielbasa Factory, 1073 Rockville Pike, Rockville ; 240-453-9090
Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post
Posted By Michael Grass at 3:47 PM on January 2, 2008
eatWashington – 2008
The Kielbasa Factory
At last there’s a replacement for the much missed Polonetz Gourmet – the Kielbasa Factory. And despite its name it sells good Polish doughnuts, a jam-filled denser version of the ones we’re familiar with. Krystyna Ahrens opened the deli just after Thanksgiving in 2007. Now the place, in the Talbott Center and approached from round the back, is packed.
She arrived in Washington in 2001. “I became very active in the Polish community. I noticed we always had big food sales at the Polish church [Church of Our Lady Queen of Poland in Silver Spring] at Easter and Christmas. But there were no Polish markets. The closest one was in Baltimore .” So she opened one herself.
Sausages like makowiec and kabanosy come from a Polish butcher in Chicago , though she hopes to makes her own at some point. There are pierogi and blintzes in the freezer, chocolates, cookies, Rum Babka and poppy seed tortes, as well as jars of pickles and jams. Classic vegetable salads suspended in mayonnaise, chicken salads and others are sold by the pound. Sandwiches are made to order. What you need is patience – the line is long and enthusiastic.
The Kielbasa Factory, 1073 Rockville Pike, Rockville , 240 453 9090.
Rockville Central – 1/7/2008
The Kielbasa Factory: For All Your Sausage Needs And Beyond
When I was growing up in Detroit, there was a large Polish population throughout the city, and most especially in a part of town called Hamtramck . I used to go there a lot because my second favorite punk rock club was located there too. But the whole town was sort of steeped in Polish culture and it was not unusual to see whitebread kids like me listening to the Beer Barrell Polka.
My grandparents, too, had emigrated from Germany long before and often when we visited them down in Indiana we would all pile into the car and take a road trip to Chicago , where the best meat shops were. You can see, I grew up in a culture that appreciated a good lunchmeat and sausage.
While they are getting things in shape to make their own, Chicago — the meat capital of the world — is where Rockville ‘s own Kielbasa Factory gets its Polish sausages.
According to a recent review in the Washington Post, freelance translator (and Kracow native) Krystyna Ahrens opened her shop in November, and:
[Her] efforts have not gone unnoticed. (The Washington area has been without a Polish deli since Gourmet Polonez in Silver Spring closed several years ago.) On a recent Saturday, her long, narrow shop was mobbed with customers filling hand baskets to overflowing with packages of frozen cheese pierogi and blueberry blintzes as well as traditional-style pickles, cookies and chocolates. “Before, people traveled to New Jersey or Baltimore just for the sausages and bread,” says shopper Kasia Gonzelez, 30, who was born in a small town near Warsaw and now lives in Fairfax . “We’re all excited about the store.”
So am I, but I was not able to get to the store this weekend. I was glad that Council Member Piotr Gajewski, a Polish native, was on hand to help me out. He visited the Kielbasa Factory over the weekend and filed this report:
What a treat to have the only Polish deli and grocery in the Washington area based right here in Rockville . The Kielbasa Factory, located at 1073 Rockville Pike, is what Poles and all others with a taste for the Central European delicacies have been waiting for. I visited the cozy little shop for the first time on Saturday, right before the Redskins game. I expected that perhaps because of my timing, the place would be empty. I could not have been more wrong as the place was full of people, vying for the quickly dwindling deli meats sold from behind the counter. Perhaps the Kielbasa Factory did not expect such brisk success!
While my wife managed to secure some tasty sausage, I examined the great variety of Polish foods available. We ended up also purchasing some frozen mushroom and sauerkraut pierogies, unique Polish chocolates, and blackcurrant juice (I have never before seen this Central European staple in any grocery shop in America ). And thanks to the convenient location of the Kielbasa Factory, we made it back home just in time for the football game.
Thank you, Ms. Ahrens, for opening this wonderful shop, and thank you Mr. Gajewski for a fine review!
The Polish Global Village -12/24/2007
Today my mother, my girlfriend & the kids went to the Kielbasa Factory. We wanted to check out the new Polish deli. The place was packed with shoppers. Many of them came straight from the Church of Our Lady Queen of Poland in nearby Silver Spring, where the Mass ended a while earlier. One lady told me that she came to Kielbasa Factory because the priest told all parishioners that a Polish deli has opened for business in Rockville.
Polish Global Village readers who live in other locations may wonder why there is so much commotion about another little Polish store, but the start-up of the Kielbasa Factory continues to be a source of great excitement for many of us here in the Washington metropolitan area because it is the only Polish deli in this area. Some persons in our community still do not know about the new Polish deli (or are confusing it with other store s), so please spread the word!
After a long time of comparing, picking and shopping, Mama and Kasia gave Kielbasa Factory high grades for overall experience, including a wide selection of products (though makowiec and kabanosy were sold out due to unexpectedly high demand), courtesy of service and freshness of products. They said I should not hesitate to recommend the store to people. I can just tell you that the stuff we bought tastes delicious! And it is interesting to see so many Polish food products showcased in one place.
For those readers who cannot visit Kielbasa Factory because you are on another continent, I took a few photographs and posted them at http://polishwashington.com/kielbasafactory/
I am sure that after the holiday season, Kielbasa Factory will quickly restock and regroup, adorn the walls with some Polish themed decorations and create an ambiance to attract regular customers who will not only buy products, but also order sandwiches and coffee. Pani Krystyna said she plans to place a small table and a few chairs in the store, for customers who may want to eat a sandwich — or one of the many sweets such as krowki or Price Polo bars — on the premises. For now, she seems to be extremely busy with an unending flow of new customers, yet she still manages to flash bright smiles and chat with customers, as seen on the photographs.
Polish Library in Washington – December 2007
Polskie wiktualy w Rockville
Polskie wiktualy w Rockville W bibliotecznych Wiadomosciach piszemy zwykle o ksiazkach i kulturze, lecz czymze innym niz kultura sa narodowe tradycje kulinarne. W tym sensie otwarcie w Rockville sklepu z polskimi produktami zasluguje na miano waznego wydarzenia, które czujemy sie w obowiazku na naszych lamach odnotowac.
Kielbasa Faktory, bo tak nazywa sie nowopowstaly sklep, otworzyla swoje progi dla polskich smakoszy 24 listopada, tuz po Thanksgiving. Nasyceni pieczonym indykiem do sklepu licznie przybyli spragnieni bardziej tradycyjnych dla polskiego podniebienia wiktualów rodacy. Mimo niewielkiej powierzchni sklep godnie sie na te okazje przygotowal. Na pólkach w równych rzedach czekaly produkty, które ukoic mogly kazda steskniona polska dusze. A wiec pyszne chleby razowe, barszcze biale i czerwone, grzyby, kisiele, wszelkie slodkosci wedlowskie, sekacze, makowce i seromakowce, paczki, sery (nawet Podlaski!), twarogi i kefiry. Lodówki pelne smalcu, flaczków, sledzi, kielbas niezliczonych, szynek, baleronów, poledwic, pasztetów i pasztetowych, pierogów mrozonych… Zbyt dlugo by opisywac. A za lada milo sie krzatajace i zyczliwe przybylym polskojezyczne ekspedientki. Zagadniety o przyszlosc wspólwlasciciel sklepu obiecywal takze w niedlugiej przyszlosci polskie piwo oraz mozliwosc wysylania paczek do Polski. Nie bedziemy juz musieli jezdzic do Baltimore!
Z prawdziwa przyjemnoscia wspominam wieczorna uczte i rodzinne mlaskanie nad ulubionymi produktami, jakie nastapilo po powrocie do domu. Zamarzyla nam sie jeszcze kiszona kapusta i ogórki z beczki, moze tez mrozone flaki i bigos? Moze kosmetyki Ireny Eris i niezastapione krople zoladkowe? Oby wlasciciele sklepu odniesli sukces, a my mogli cieszyc jego uslugami. Zyczymy im powodzenia zarówno wsród polskiej spolecznosci, jak i amerykanskich wielbicieli „Polska Kielbasa”.