Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Off the Beaten Path. This Week: New Britain Superior Court

Places to Go During Court Recess. Have a little down time while visiting New Britain Superior Court? There are a lot of great places to eat near the courthouse. Here are a few that you may or may not be aware of. For example, did you know New Britain has an official "Little Poland" district located on Broad Street. (You can follow Main Street right into Broad).


LITTLE POLAND
After struggling through an economic downturn in the 90s, Broad Street has quietly rebounded into a nice place to visit. It is no longer the Broad Street of a few years ago. It's much better. Primarily Polish since the 1890s, the area is rather unique. It has been visited by Pope John Paul II, President Nixon and various other notables. With approx 300,000 Polish people living in the state, the neighborhood enjoys heavy foot traffic resembling a NYC borough. During the Fall of 2008, the city officially designated the area as Little Poland. It is currently undergoing renovations that will hopefully be completed within 2 years. So take out your passport and pay Little Poland a visit. Some points of interest:


Staropolska Restaurant 
Looking for a bite to eat during court recess, Staropolska might be a nice place to visit for a client lunch. With outdoor seating, imported Polish beers and a reasonably priced menu, the restaurant is a popular hang out for local politicians, lawyers and judges. Staropolska Restaurant and Nozewski's Meat Market (say that three times fast) have both been featured by the Discovery Channel's "Taste of America." Broad Street also boasts several other restaurants which also include Willys BBQ for Spanish fare, Cracovia Restaurant, Kuchnia Helenki, a pizza place, Chinese food and the Varsovita Bistro and Deli. My personal favorite is the Yummy Kebab stand. With outdoor seating, the stand has outdoor table seating and is only open during Spring and Summer months. You can find oversize Turkish kebabs at 16 Broad Street in the Falcon Club parking lot. 


Polmart Polmart is located in the former American Saving Bank building. It has since been transformed into a "Polish Mall" featuring imported meats, cheeses, kielbasa, pierogi and other goods for sale. You can buy Polish magazines, leather goods, slippers and glassware. The second floor features a day spa with a wonderful water massage machine to ease the stress of those particularly tough days in court. It also has a beauty salon and a United States Post Office branch. I imagine it is the only branch in the US that has the word "Poczta" written on the outside. (Polish for post office). The area features stores, delis, restaurants and other professional services. 


European Cafe Sick of commercial places like Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks, the European Cafe offers old world charm. Visitors will often see locals discussing literature, politics and can listen to local musicians strumming their guitars. 


Quo Vadis This unique bookstore has Polish music and books as well as various imported items from Poland. You can buy popular Polish stoneware and imported Christmas ornaments at well below the price you would find at retailers like Lord & Taylor.



Podorowsky Thompson & Baron Founded in 1940, the Hartford based law office opened a branch on Broad Street in 2008. The inside of the office is decorated with high ceilings, Victorian style furniture, artwork by local Polish artists and sculptures. Inside clients can even find the latest Polish magazines and newspapers in the waiting room. The exterior, although currently going through renovations, includes signs in both Polish and English. It is one of only a handful of law firms in Connecticut that can offer legal consultations entirely in Polish. OK, so it was a shameless plug. It is also the home office of yours truly. 


Some additional venues:
Capitol Lunch On the border of Little Poland, you will find the venerable Capitol Lunch, a favorite since 1929. Oddly enough, the eatery started as a shoe shine shop that offered hot dogs to attract customers. In order to accommodate the growing customer base, Capitol Lunch moved to its current location at 510 Main Street. The business still remains in the same family. Today, you can get the same hot dog for a bargain at $1.60…loaded with a slab of yellow mustard, a mound of chopped raw onions, and their Famous Sauce. The interior has great photos of rock legends in concert on the walls.



Vito's From walking distance from the courthouse you may also want to try the Vito's Pizzeria. In the early 1920s, escape artist Harry Houdini performed tricks on top of the building that houses the Tavern. To celebrate their grand opening escape artist Nick Cegelka wowed onlookers when he recreated a feat accomplished by Houdini in 1931. Cegelka, a New Britain resident and rope artist with Middletown-based Odd Child Uprising Circus, hung upside down from the fifth floor of the Andrews Building above the Tavern. They are located at 136 Main Street. 


Great Taste: is not your standard Chinese eatery. Zagat Survey has rated it as the "No.1 Chinese/Asian" restaurant in Connecticut" Located at 597 West Main Street, the interior is a nice place for client lunches with a menu that includes Sea Bass, Lobster, Curry Chicken as well as standard favorites. Nice setting with friendly staff. 



Eastside Restaurant Maybe your in the mood for German food. Another fun place to grab lunch is the Eastside Restaurant located at 131 Dwight Street in New Britain. With accordian players, waitresses dressed as traditional German frauleins, over size beer steins and chants, it is not your standard lunch stop.The accordian player will play requests ranging from "I Don't Want Her You Can Have Her, She's Too Fat for Me", the Beer Barrel Polka to even MC Hammer's "Can't Touch This"


NEW BRITAIN MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART Of course, you can always clear your mind with a quick visit to the New Britain Museum of American Art. Located at 56 Lexington Street, it is only a hop, skip and a jump from the courthouse. (We recommend consulting with your doctor before hopping, skipping or jumping. Always check for oncoming traffic). With the warm weather, you can now enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace at the museum's Café on the Park. The restaurant overlooks historic Walnut Hill Park and offers visitors meals prepared by award-winning Jordan Caterers of Cheshire.
According to the museum's website, the Café on the Park features bistro-style seating near floor-to-ceiling windows that allow diners to take in magnificent views of the Park. The menu is ever-changing, seasonal and eclectic and features Connecticut-grown products whenever available. It features gourmet sandwiches and wraps, savory soups, salads, homemade desserts and an array of beverages including local favorite Avery’s brand soda. Suggest your own places to go near your favorite CT courthouse email nutmeg@ptblegal.com

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Adrian,

Whether or not you've got time between court appearances, Staro Polska is the place to go. The food is amazing and the prices are more than reasonable. My oldest son has turned his friends on to their food and they go as a group most Sundays. Mmmmmm, I can taste those pierogis now!

Anonymous said...

Great Taste in New Britain is a great place for lunch. Quick, affordable, tasty.

Anonymous said...

Took your advice on StaroPolska. Loved it. I even went to the Polish "mall" to buy some kielbasa for a cookout. Thanks for the tip. Nice surprise. Never even knew this type of neighborhood existed in Connecticut.

Astrid said...

Thanks - it's been a long time since I've been to New Britain to visit my Polish grandmother, but will be there near Thanksgiving. Great tips - I'm really looking forward to Polmart :)
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