Hubert’s Polish Kitchen Serves up Palate-Pleasing Pierogi, Kielbasa and More
A North Market staple for 14 years, Hubert’s remains one of the city’s only spots for traditional Polish fare.
The owner of Hubert’s Polish Kitchen, Hubert Wilamowski, started working at the market 20 years ago, soon after arriving in Columbus from Poland, where he was both a farmer and a disco bar owner.
The first several years he was living in the United States, his daughter would visit him every summer and dreamed of opening a Polish restaurant with him. When she died at the age of 14, Wilamowski decided to open Hubert’s Polish Kitchen to carry on her memory. And for the past 14 years, Hubert’s has been serving classic Polish fare to North Market guests, making him one of the longest-running vendors in the market.
Aside from portion sizes (which have grown over the years), Wilamowski says not much has changed with the appetites of his clientele. Most of his customers are friendly, he says, many of them regulars.
Open for lunch and early dinner six days a week, Hubert’s remains an excellent place to receive a hearty meal for a reasonable price.
Most lunch entrées come with a generous side: one of two traditional tomato-based Polish stews that can double as a sauce. Bigos (translated as “hunter’s stew”) boasts organic turkey, sauerkraut and cabbage, while leczo is a spicier stew with pieces of sliced kielbasa, pickles and peppers.
Cheese lovers will enjoy mielone ($8), a sizable chicken, cheese and sauerkraut meatball that’s rolled in a layer of panko breadcrumbs before being pan-fried. While the dish itself is a little dry, the leczo helps round out the meal.
The cabbage roll ($11) is one of Hubert’s most popular offerings. Anise-kissed, tangy ground beef is mixed with basmati rice and wrapped in a few giant, soft cabbage leaves. Again, one of the stews poured over the roll completes the dish.
One of the easiest options to eat is the pork and beef kielbasa ($8). Served either on a bed of stew or in a bun (for an additional dollar), this large and savory sausage is incredibly satisfying. The kielbasa comes with a variety of options, including choices of unadorned sauerkraut and a tangy onion and tomato salad.
Finally, Hubert’s pierogi ($3 each) are not to be missed. The hand-folded dumplings, a Polish staple, are filled with peppered mashed potatoes and cream cheese, with a tiny hint of caramelized onion. They do beg for a side of sour cream, but again, the stew will do.
It’s possible that Hubert’s has been so long-lasting because he’s one of the only Polish games in town. Why is this niche so small? “It’s simple,” Wilamowski says. “There aren’t too many Polish people here. There are second- and third-generation Polish, and they don’t speak my language, but they remember our simple foods.”
North Market, 59 Spruce St., Short North
This story is from the November 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.