"Polish Wednesday" at the State Street Station

train diner lunch

Mniam mniam.

By Akum Norder

Doug Cath, by his own admission, is "only a little bit" Polish.

So in some sense it follows that his diner, the State Street Station in Schenectady, offers "only a little bit" of Polish food -- only one day out of seven.

We dropped in recently for Polish Wednesday at the State Street Station.

station diner exterior

station diner basement The State Street Station has been open a little more than a year. The name is a nod to the fact that the diner started life as a train dining car, though that might not be immediately obvious, what with the siding on the outside and the fact that the interior is way too wide. The structure was expanded years ago to make room for an extra row of tables. The basement, Doug said, is only as wide as the original car. He took my camera down to the basement and photographed the ceiling to show me how parts of the train car's undercarriage are still visible. Black-and-white train photos decorate the walls and the glass diner counter. And yes, there's a model train on a ceiling-level track.

And the Stratton bobblehead? The mayor brought it to them personally. Apparently, he's a regular.

diner stratton

A theme diner, I think, works best if the place doesn't take itself too seriously. And that's just the vibe you get here.

Doug Cath, the co-owner, wears an engineer's cap. Not many people could get away with that, but Doug? Yeah, it works. He owns the diner along with his daughter, Jen, and her boyfriend, Ryan Justin. Jen waited our table with contagious good humor.

The Station offers Polish specials for lunch and dinner on Wednesdays. There's lazanki, golumpki, kapusta, and kielbasa of course. (And yes, I had to google most of those things to find out what they were.) I don't know much about Polish food. I do love me some pierogi, though. They didn't have a la carte pierogi on the specials board, but I asked for them and they were happy to oblige. I got potato pancakes with sour cream *and* applesauce, because I'm crazy like that. And I ordered the kapusta, which was a new one for me.

The kapusta was a kind of sauerkraut, warm, vinegary, and dotted with bacon. An unexpected combination, one that gave me more happiness than I usually expect with a bowl of cabbage. As Jen says, "Bacon makes everything good. It really does." And she couldn't be more right.

The Station also offers a full range of sandwiches, with potato salad, cole slaw, and all the other sides you look for in a diner lunch. My husband's turkey reuben was packed with meat, and he declared it delicious.

They offer traditional diner breakfasts -- I imagine it'd be hard to beat the early-bird special of two eggs, toast and bacon for $2.99.

station diner interior

During lunch Doug makes the rounds, checking in at all the tables and telling stories. And when, grinning, he produces a wooden train whistle, gives it two blasts and sends the model train around its track, it actually made us laugh out loud. It's just good to see people having fun. If I'm eating good food while it happens, so much the better.

Find It

The State Street Station
1579 State St.
Schenectady, NY 12304


Now if only they had bigos and Polish vodka....

The Blessed Virgin Mary of Czestochowa church (www.bvmc.org) near Wolf Road has eat-in and take out Polish meals/foods every Thursday too. You can also order pierogies, bigos, golumbki and other delights frozen to stock up on.

Golden Krust Bagels in Latham was also doing Polish nights on Thursdays for awhile but I'm not sure if they still do.

Obviously I'm pretty up on my local Polish cuisine, hahah.

Now I'm hungry. The State Street Station sounds great and I will check it out real soon. Also good to know about the Polish church near Wolf Road. My wife is Russian so the food she loves (that I love, too) is pretty similar. May I also suggest a visit to Big Boy's Slow Foods and Catering in Sheridan Plaza in Schenectady (Gerling St. off Rosa Road). I had a Polish sub (kielbasa with homemade sauerkraut and fried pierogis and brown mustard on a huge, delicious sub roll). The sub and the accompanying fries were excellent!

There is a new Polish Market in Latham named Euro Deli and Market in the Target Plaza at the other end near Aspen Dental. Homemade Bigas, and they have many types of jarred/canned foods as well as smoked meats, deli selections and other goodies!

Wish they were in Albany.
Have to try it!
Love Bacon, saurekraut, sour cream,cheese blintzes, noodle pudding,snitzles,pierogis.
Do they deliver to Albany?

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