From Italy to Poland to Ireland, go around the world in 80 lunches.
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The Pork Store
359 Willett Ave, Port Chester
Sometimes a name just says it all. This purveyor of German and Polish sausage is Westchester’s best in wurst, offering a wide selection of German and Polish specialties in a small store in downtown Port Chester. Basically, it’s the go-to spot for locals of German and Eastern European heritage—though it doesn’t grind its own wurst. It vends Karl Ehmer meats (and PS—there’s a Karl Ehmer store in Yorktown).
Scene: This small joint is graced by a counterman with a comfortingly Z-laden accent; “this” is pronounced “zis” and “wurst” comes out more like “vorsht.” I don’t know about you, but that’s what I want from the guy that sells me German sausages.
Behind the Counter: Sausage, cabbage, potato salad, and more sausage—what more could you want? Expect kielbasa, liverwurst, bratwurst, teaworst, krakaerwurst, jaegerwurst. Basically, if it’s made from a pig and goes well with beer, the Pork Store probably has it.
Don’t Miss: Fat loops of garlicky kielbasa, to grill and serve with beer, or to simply steam in beer (and then serve with still more beer).
1016 McLean Ave, Yonkers
Nestled right next to the (no kidding) U.S. Corleone Club, 22-year-old Avitable Brothers feels a bit like a throwback. Though surrounded by the encroaching Irish neighborhood of McLean Avenue (see Dympna’s on page 77), this bright storefront slings coils of house-made Italian sausages and fresh mozzarella to loyalists that make the pilgrimage from all over the county.
Scene: It’s a bit of Arthur Avenue in Yonkers, with the potent, mouthwatering scent of hanging salumi, prosciutti, and torpedo-shaped provolone in the air. There’s a little Italian import section, so that even if you only drop in for a sandwich, you might leave with a sack full of groceries—though remember to bring cash, ’cause these brothers don’t take plastic.
Behind the Counter: Look for a wall-mounted rack of fresh, locally baked Italian breads being split and layered with “gabbagool” (literally, capicola) or “mootzadell” (mozzarella). Also available are hot wedges, including eggplant and chicken Parmesan, and a variety of salads and pre-made sandwiches for those too antsy to wait.
Don’t Miss: Fat loaves of lightly salted fresh mozzarella, packed in watery waxed paper and plastic bags (and as fully hydrated as fairground goldfish). Also, don’t leave without skinny cheese and parsley sausages, perfect to fry in a bit of olive oil until golden brown and crusted. Sauté onions in their drippings and serve up with Arthur Avenue bread, before (obviously) you drop by the U.S. Corleone Club.
39 Lockwood Ave, Yonkers
This friendly joint is not related to The Polish Deli, and skews more toward butcher shop than deli counter. However, Miasarina operates its own onsite smokehouse and always has a great kielbasa selection. Also, look for six house-made pierogi (potato and cheese, potato and onion, meat, sauerkraut, pot cheese, and prune), and several aisles of Polish groceries. We were especially jazzed by finding kvas, a barely alcoholic fermented “bread drink” made from black rye or rye bread.
Scene: Part deli case/part grocery; the vibe here is welcoming, English-speaking, and slightly maternal. The nice lady who waited on me could not have been more pleasant, instructive, and caring.
Behind the Counter: Besides made-on-premises kielbasa (including fine, coarse, fresh kabanosy, and chabaj), you’ll find blutwurst (blood sausage), pot cheese, pelmeni (Siberean dumplings), pickles, various types of kraut, as well as borscht and tripe soups, beet salads, and dense, brown pumpernickel from Queens. Also, look for Kielbasy King Polish-style mustard—perfect for all those sausages.
Don’t Miss: Skinny kabanosy smoked sausages, described to me by the nice lady as “a little like a Slim Jim.” Let’s just say that one of those suckers didn’t make it all the way home.
Dympna’s (or Dee’s) Deli
977 McLean Ave, Yonkers
Dympna’s Deli, re-christened Dee’s Deli when no one could pronounce the Irish saint’s name (Saint Dymphna is associated with miraculous cures of mental illness, believe it or not), is one of many businesses on McLean Avenue that cater to recently emigrated Irish. The folks inside are pleasant and speak with Emerald Isle accents, and it’s a good source for Anglo-Irish sodas like Lucozade, Ribena, or barley water, if you happen to have a craving.
Scene: Intimate and simple, kind of like an Irish convenience store with food. Besides Anglo-Irish sodas, you’ll find imported Cadbury chocolates, Irish newspapers, Tay-to potato crisps, and imported Irish white and brown bread.
Behind the Counter: Breaded chicken cutlets, hot Irish curries, scones, and golden-crusted Irish sausages.
Don’t Miss: Bangers and mash, or deliciously greasy fried Irish sausages served atop fluffy mounds of mashed potatoes. Both comfort food and hangover cure, bangers and mash is pretty much irresistible.
Julia Sexton is a CRMA-winning blogger, restaurant critic, and food writer. Her Top Ten desert island sandwich is Amerigo’s coppa de testa (hand-made, Bolognese head cheese) on wood-grilled, locally-milled polenta squares. In a pinch, though, she’ll settle for a great pastrami on rye.
Photography by John Fortunato