Individuals of Polish-American decent, according to the areas most recent demographic report, largely populate the neighborhood of Port Richmond. Some blocks within the neighborhood hold more traditional value than others. In the area adjacent to Campbell Park lies a small nest of the old world. A small proudly Polish community is nestled here along with establishments that serve that Polish community. Bakeries, a Polish-American Women's Coalition office, along with bars and restaurants dot the en
tire strip up and down East Allegheny Avenue. One business in particular is a favorite among the residents. The New Wave Cafe sits perched on the corner of Allegheny in the neighborhood of Kensington. It is a bar and restaurant that mainly serves as a drinking location for the locals. The Manager, Monica Cizek, greets the patrons and carries on conversations with them in the Polish language. Against the wall, the TV broadcasts popular American shows and news segments also entirely in Polish.
"The Bar," says Cizek, "has been in operation for the last ten years." She has managed the business for the past two. She points to the menu, which lists all the items, all conveniently priced under ten dollars, and mentions that the traditional perogies are still the most popular item served along with the two top selling Polish beers Lech and Zywiiec. I asked Cizek whether the owner of the establishment, Dorota Respond, is a member of the community as well. "No," replies Cizek, "
not any more. She used to live here but lives in Cherry Hill now and commutes to the restaurant every day." I was shocked to find that the owner would go to such lengths of travel every day to come to run an establishment anchored in the Kensington area instead of moving it closer to home. Cizek explained that the main reason for Ms. Respond to settle in Kensington and keep her business there was due to the fact that it has a very large and deeply rooted Polish community.
Looking around outside I saw that there were more places like the New Wave Cafe. In fact there were approximately three other Polish eat-in establishments along the street alone. The restaurant primarily gets busy toward the evening. People will come in looking for something to eat or looking for a place to sit down and enjoy a cold beer. Cizek also explained that the hours around lunchtime are also known for heavy traffic. The restaurant is open to visitors from Monday to Sunday and serves meals until 8:30 p.m.
By Brandie M. Page and Aimee Otis, Port Richmond, Group 07