J. Betski's - German/Polish

by Elliot Acosta

Inside of the train station formerly known as Seaboard Station, perched next to William Peace University is a celebrated Raleigh restaurant that takes you to the kitchen of the Polish grandmother you never knew you had. Doing his heritage proud, owner John Korzekwinski's union of German-Polish cuisine with N.C. ingredients bring the tastes, traditions, and memories of his eastern European roots into the new soil of the South.

Occupying the menu at J. Betski's are foods from the old world, time-tested recipes that cultures have perfected for generations. The pierogies are among the old world dishes that bonds itself to the flavors of the "new South" with constantly changing fillings to match the season, as seen in the fall offerings of pumpkin pierogies. Korzekwinski's schnitzel takes a similar approach.

A staple of Austrian cuisine that traditionally consisted of tenderized, breaded, and fried veal instead is substituted for N.C.'s top protein: pork. Teamed together with lingonberry preserves and dill potato and cucumber salad, J. Betski's pork schnitzel represents the techniques from Eastern Europe renewed in the South.

From a family recipe that had been handed down to Korzekwinski from his Brooklyn butcher uncle, J. Betski's kielbasa is freshly made by hand in the restaurant. Homemade is a common theme in the J. Betski's kitchen, from the collections of homemade sausages to the sauerkraut that is served alongside of it.

Anything plated by J. Betski's is likely handcrafted in-house.

10 W. Franklin St., Raleigh; 919.833.7999; www.jbetskis.com.