LOGAN SQUARE — A Colombian-Polish fusion restaurant has introduced what may be the most Chicago dish of all time: the paczki burger.
The restaurant Polombia was started in 2020 by husband and wife Phillipe Sobon and Cynthia Orobio. Sobon’s family is Polish, and Orobio’s is Colombian.
The couple merged their national cuisines to create menu items like emparogis — a cross between empanadas and pierogis — and the kielbasa perro, a play off of a hot dog made with Polish sausage.
After bouncing between a few pop-ups, Polombia has operated since last year at TimeOut Market, 916 W. Fulton St., in the West Loop.
But this summer, the restaurant is selling perhaps its most ambitious dish to date: paczki burgers. They are available every Tuesday evening at Maplewood Brewery, 2717 N. Maplewood Ave.
The paczki burger features the signature Polish pastry as the burger’s bun. Sobon, who makes them, said he typically uses a triple berry or strawberry filling, “something that won’t really overpower the flavor of the burger itself.”
The burger patty comes topped havarti cheese, coleslaw, a sofrito sauce and an aji aoli.
“I feel like having the paczki as a bun is almost like the perfect vehicle for having that perfect burger, that sandwich, because you have that soft bun, you have that filling which which is almost like a jam, so that’s almost like a sauce,” Sobon said. “And then of course you have the sofrito, which has that Colombian spin on it.”
Sobon said he created the sandwich because he knew he needed a burger on Polombia’s menu and wanted something that would stand out. It’s been a hit, he said.
“It can be a a messy burger, but that’s how it’s intended; you want something that’s super big and delicious. From all the people reposting or sending us their stories, just from the customer interaction, they love it. It’s just a lot of flavors going on at the same time, which is a great thing,” Sobon said.
The idea for the burger grew out a collaboration between Polombia and Maplewood earlier this year ahead of Fat Tuesday, also known as Paczki Day, when the restaurant and brewery offered beer and paczki pairings.
“Since we already created paczki and we already did something where we paired with them, it was something that we thought would work great together,” Sobon said.
Sobon grew up on the Northwest Side, where he was immersed in the local Polish community, he said.
Sobon and Orobio eventually hope to open a second location, where he’ll continue to preserve his Polish heritage with a twist, he said.
“There’s not a lot of [Polish restaurants] in the city, and I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do something that will excite people about Polish food and not just have, you know, the same dinner items that you could get at your household,” he said.
Polombia’s West Loop location is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays. The paczki burger is only available at the Maplewood Brewery pop-up.
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