The Herdzik family has brought their authentic Polish food to Hillsborough.
Brothers Damian and Paul opened Halinka Polish Deli on Route 206 less than a year ago, with the deli’s namesake – mother Helinka – preparing authentic, fresh, homemade Polish dishes and baked goods.
The family arrived in the U.S. from Poland in 1999, settling in Manville. When Halinka lost her job about a year ago, they decided it was a good opportunity for Halinka to put the cooking skills she had been trained in over the last 25 years to use and for her sons to start their first business.
“Why have the talents at home when you can use it?” laughs Paul, 26.
“That’s how it became Halinka,” adds younger brother Damian, 21.
With Mom in the kitchen, the brothers took charge of the business end of the deli. Paul had studied business administration at Raritan Valley Community College, where Damian is currently studying.
Paul had also worked at Wal-Mart for 5 years, where he gained “a lot of knowledge about selling.” That was followed by 2 years at Bank of America, where he “learned how to work with customers.”
Selecting the Route 206 location was easy for the family.
“Hillsborough never had a Polish deli,” Damian says. “This is the best location. It has been better than we expected.”
Halinka Polish Deli is a combination deli, restaurant and market – all with a focus on Polish food. Customers can order sandwiches, prepare a platter for take-out for eat-in—surprise – there is a good-sized dining room in the back— or shop for Polish items such as soups, teas, chocolates, oils, magazines and even Nutella – “a little bit of everything,” says Paul.
Among the most popular items are pierogi—with different fillings— stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut stew and potato pancakes. In addition to purchasing packaged pierogis to take home, customers can select menu items to make their own platter for $6.49 per pound.
Halinka is also very talented when it comes to baking. The bakery case featured her homemade strawberry rolls, cheese and blueberry blintzes, apple cakes, chrusciki, Polish tiramisu, cheesecake, a chocolate/apple/hazelnut cake made without flour and Snikers, a coffee hazelnut cake.
And if you don’t know Polish, don’t let the Polish names on the menu scare you – Paul and Damian will be glad to walk through it. They are sure that, like the customer whose relatives bought a kielbasa for Mother’s Day and came in to sample things for herself, you will be back for more.