Olde Polish Deli in Watervliet

olde polish deli deli case

You know they have kielbasa.

By Jessica Pasko

On a recent trip through Watervliet (okay, okay, actually I was lost), I stumbled upon The Olde Polish Deli. And well, finding a cool little ethnic shop I've never been to is one of the best ways to get lost, in my humble opinion.

After my first trip, I was enthralled.

olde polish deli exterior

It's a tiny little place with the focus on the deli counter, of course. Here you'll find a selection of various cured meats: veal roll, several types of kielbasa, Hungarian salami, head cheese and much more. You can also pick up homemade goodies like potato pancakes, pierogi and golabki, a dish comprised of cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and meat in a tomato-y sauce. I bought a couple of those -- at $2.50 a piece -- to take home.

olde polish deli deli board

I also got a pound of the double-smoked kielbasa ($6 a pound), which I really liked -- it was great on the grill and again in the morning with eggs. There's also hunter's bacon, a smoky bacon that's almost more like a Canadian bacon. It's $7.90 a pound and it's best if you ask for it to be sliced extra-thick.

olde polish deli shelves

The rest of the small but fairly comprehensive shop is devoted to a few shelves of other Polish products like several varieties of barscht -- the Poles' version of beet soup -- in instant, canned and jarred varieties. You'll also, of course, find a good selection of pickles -- a number of cucumber ones, but also several other vegetables, including little pattypan/sunburst squash. I wasn't so much a fan of those myself, but I'm curious to try some of the other types.

They even have jarred versions of bigos, the Polish national dish -- a type of sauerkraut stew. I fell in love with it on a trip to Krakow last fall. Of course, the version they have is vegetarian, but add some Hunter's bacon and some chunks of kielbasa, and you've got the right idea.

To top off your experience, pick up some Polish butters, some Polish candy and a jar of plum butter, which the Poles use as a spread and as a flavoring for a million different things, including bigos. I even bought some Polish tonic water to try.

Sadly, the Olde Polish Deli doesn't sell Zubrowka, the Polish bison-grass vodka that until a few years ago was banned in the US. (And the version that is available now is a little controversial with regards to authenticity, but that's another story.)

Oh, and while you're there, you can pick up a few Polish gossip rags. I mean, why not?

Earlier on AOA:
+ Checking out the new Dnipro location
+ Pierogi at Muza Diner
+ Capital Region Ethnic Market Map

Find It

Olde Polish Deli
600 3rd Ave
Watervliet, NY 12189

It's down the street from the Schuyler Bakery.

(518) 326-0943


Thanks for getting lost in Watervliet! This is great to know about.

SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!!! I have hoping for a place like this for ELEVEN YEARS!!! Utica has a great Polish deli that I always stop at when I'm back home because they have the best selection of pierogi on the planet. I will definitely be checking this place out. And soon. Thank you AOA ... and Jessica, you should get lost more often!

Ahhh oh my...

I wonder if this is where in ALB I can finally fill my craving for PÄ…czki before lent next year?

Zubrowka is awesome!

I'm planning a trip to Poland for work next month. It's good to know I'll be able to find authentic food when I get back, in case I fall in love with anything.

Polish deli ... kielbasa ... 'halupki' ... IN WATERVLIET!? No way! Dnipro's move from Cohoes to Central may no longer have an impact on me. Good stuff, thanks for sharing the find!

You can find Zubrowka at Empire Merchants in Kingston. In NYC available at Bobo - W. 10th St.

TM - but is it genuine? Because I've found it at several liquor stores locally but it's a little different than the ones I brought back from Poland. For one thing, it's dyed bright yellow-green here.

Jess: the US version is not the same. The FDA bans importation of Polish Zubrowka since the blade of bison grass in every bottle contains coumarin (benzopyrone). Coumarin is an anticoagulant with the potential for liver and kidney toxicity. Zubrowka obtained (legally) in the States is artifially flavored to try and match the flavor of bison grass.

I'm confused: is it really the blade of grass that's the problem? Regular ol' Baks Zubrowka is not dyed bright and has a blade of bison grass in it. (pic here... looks cloudy in glass because I mixed with lemonade).

Regardless, I have no illusions it's anywhere near something found locally in Poland.

I really can't figure out. I've researched the toxicity of bison grass, and really, I figure it's just U.S. paranoia. I'm okay with taking my chances on something that the Poles have been tossing back for years (esp. with apple juice, on the rocks. Yum!) Besides, I figure there are probably a great number of food additives that are allowed but are actually much worse for us. And really, given the state of our meat industry, (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/health/04meat.html) I find my faith in the FDA rapidly dwindling.

I haven't actually bought any here yet to do a side-by-side comparison with what I brought back from Krakow, but I probably should. It just kills me because a bottle here costs about 3 times what I paid at the tiny little corner shops in Kazimierez. I've only seen the brightly colored ones here -with good ol' FD&C Yellow #5 added; I'll have to keep scouring. That picture of Baks definitely looks far less chartreuse than the bottles I've found locally, I agree.

Jess: US paranoia is alive and well. Check out:
The Conspiracy Reader.

My wife recently visited Poland and brought me a bottle of bison-grass vodka. It is the smoothest vodka i have ever had, perfect for shots. Try the kabanos its delicious, the white kielbasa (fresh kielbasa) can be boiled or smoked, its amazing. Love this shop!

Interesting. Probably this place couldn't open until Dnipro moved -- in terms of whether out-of-town provisioners would supply them. Suspect the deli selections (and similar) have the same source. The garlic ham and smoked bacon are $2 more than Dnipro but likely identical. Will check it out, and will probably use them since it's so much closer for me, but do hope we're not seeing the end of favorable prices on this class of quality goods.


Thank you for posting this. I live just a few blocks away and have been weary to check it out, excited to know it's a good place.

store has closed what a disappointment...

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