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A Polish Market Is Coming To Portage Park In Former Szymanski Deli Spot

Polish Farm Market will open in early June in the former spot of Szymanski Deli & Liquors, which closed last year after more than 30 years in the neighborhood.

Polish Farm Market at 6014-6016 W. Irving Park Rd., as seen May 24, 2022, was home to longtime Polish Deli Szymanski Deli & Liquors.
Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
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PORTAGE PARK — Three brothers are revamping a Polish market and plan to reopen the Far Northwest Side staple under a new name.

Co-owner George Herrera is opening Polish Farm Market at 6014-6016 W. Irving Park Road, which was previously home to longtime Polish Deli Szymanski Deli & Liquors. The spot has sat vacant since October, when Szymanski’s went out of business after more than 30 years.

Herrera said he and his brothers want to fill the void from Szymanski’s and offer fresh, locally sourced groceries at affordable prices.

“We are excited and are going to come in strong with good prices because we have worked really hard to” rehab the space, Herrera said. “We want to help out our customers.”

The market will have similar products to the last deli, including locally grown produce, breads, Polish sausages and sandwiches and meats, though it will not sell liquor for now.

The new owners have been remodeling the indoor market and plan to open in two weeks as they await city inspections and business license approval.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
Polish Farm Market at 6014-6016 W. Irving Park Rd., as seen May 24, 2022, was home to longtime Polish Deli Szymanski Deli & Liquors.

Herrera, who lives in suburban Northlake, said they wanted to help the local Polish community and bring back cultural favorites.

“We have a relationship with the Polish community,” he said.

Amie Zander, who lives close to the deli and is president of the Six Corners Association, said there is a neighborhood need for the Polish deli.

“Szymanski’s was always so crowded — whenever I drove by [and went] there, there were long lines,” Zander said. “There’s a lot of business activity going on over there, so it will be great to see it open.”

Zander, who is Polish American and grew up in Portage Park, said Szymanski’s opened when she was a child in the mid-’80s. Her maiden name is Szymanski, so people thought her family owned the shop, she said.

“When I was a kid, this neighborhood was super Polish,” she said. “After second- and third- generations moved away, so did some of the delis … but there is still a huge need for them.”

RELATED: ‘Polish Heritage Corridor’ Along Milwaukee Avenue Would Honor Polish Residents, Businesses From West Town To Niles

Polish immigrants famously began settling in the Wicker Park area in the 1800s, establishing churches, schools and a vibrant business district. Throughout the 20th century, Polish Americans established communities up and down Milwaukee Avenue on the Northwest Side.

But as Polish delis closed or moved to the suburbs, Far Northwest Side Polish grocery stores have dwindled. The addition of the Portage Park market will offer more options for Polish families still living in the city, Zander said.

While many of the store’s former employees plan to return to Polish Farm Market, the owners are hiring cashiers and deli workers. Those interested can call Herrera at 773-574-7808.

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