Big Frank’s Sausage in East Chicago, Ind., is actually owned by Stan Stefanski. Big Frank is his brother and it’s his recipe for fresh Polish sausage that stocks the freezers at this deli/diner/pub.
Open since about July 2011, Big Frank’s is hitting its stride. The kiełbasa sausage is all-natural and made with no preservatives, that’s why it’s sold frozen. Stefanski discourages boiling the sausage because, he says, all the flavor will leech out. His method is to bake it. Currently, the sausage rings up at $3.99 per pound.
Alongside the housemade fresh Polish sausage (that has been a hit at Pierogi Fest in Whiting, Ind., and other local festivals, and to debut at Taste of Polonia in Chicago this year) are American and Polish deli sandwiches and subs, hot sandwiches, goląbki (stuffed cabbage), potato pancakes, pierogi, stuffed peppers, łazanki (cabbage and noodles), and more.
With parents who were born near Warsaw and Krakow, he knows the authentic food traditions of central and southern Poland and offers those specialties in hearty combination plates. The Warsaw includes fresh or smoked kiełbasa, kraut and two gołabki. The Krakow features two gołabki, three pierogi, kraut and one potato pancake. The Zakopane comes with fresh or smoked kiełbasa, kraut, one gołabki and two potato pancakes.
There are at least two soups offered daily. Recently, I had the potato soup laced with sausage and it was great. The deli case is full of lunchmeats, cheeses, kiszka, head cheese, smoked sausage (from Joe & Frank’s in Illinois), and more. There is an ever-expanding selection of packaged goods, noodles, jams, soup mixes, candies and cookies, imported from Poland, on the shelves.
And, now, with a liquor license for beer and wine, Stefanski is converting part of his establishment into a bar area with stools and large-screen TV. Polish beers like Żywiec and Okocim are available in the bottle along with American brands. Check the website or Facebook for advertised daily specials and scope out the no-cover Super Bowl party at Big Frank’s starting at 2 p.m. Feb. 5, 2012.
Big Frank’s Sausage
Address:1417 Carroll St. (Michigan Street), East Chicago, IN 46312
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays to Fridays; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays; call for Sunday hours
Price: $ to $$