Pierogi. Kielbasa. Placek.
If you recognize these names, you’re probably a Broadway Market regular.
Open year-round, the Market, located at 999 Broadway on Buffalo’s East Side, is best known for its meat stands, fresh produce, bakery items and restaurants. But at Easter, festival season kicks into high gear and Buffalonians migrate to the market stock up on holiday favorites. My first time there, to say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. The market is swirling with sights, sounds and aromas, so I did what any curious newbie should do and asked Broadway Market veterans what they can’t leave without. Here’s what I heard:
1. Kielbasa: It’s on nearly everyone’s shopping list and it’s certainly plentiful. Camellia Meats and Lupas are two of the vendors on-site selling impressive amounts of fresh meats, including Polish sausage. I grabbed my number, stood in line listening to the orders coming in on either side of me. Kabanosy, Odesskie, Wędzona, and Krakowska – all varieties of kielbasa. I have so much to learn.
2. Butter lamb: The tradition to end all Easter traditions. There’s a few spots at the market that offer this dinner table staple and I decided to dive into the crowd at Malczewski’s. Various sizes to pick from, all handmade with a red “alleluia” flag signifying peace on earth.
3. Easter eggs: I asked a mom of two young girls what she typically comes to the market for and she let me in on their Easter tradition. Each daughter gets to pick out a beautifully painted Easter egg with colors that have different meanings like purity, wisdom, love and faith.
4. Horseradish: Famous Horseradish, one of the market’s vendors that has stood the test of time for decades, sells everything from homemade sauerkraut to pickles and vegetables, and even fresh flowers. But their prized offering is in their name. You can’t leave the Broadway Market without picking up some this spicy side to accompany your ham, kielbasa, and pierogi – or as I understand it, really anything on your plate.
5. Chocolate: Milk, dark and orange chocolate take the stage in lots of different forms at The Broadway Market, but Strawberry Island’s impressive array has that special nose-to-glass factor. Even if your only goal is to pick up a few pierogi, you likely won’t leave without stopping to check out Strawberry Island’s chocolate covered convections – strawberries peeps and apples, and chocolate Easter bunnies as far as the eye can see.
6. Pussy willows: One of the most prominent Easter symbols, nearly every passerby was holding bouquets of these furry stalks. True to Polish tradition, these will likely be used on Palm Sunday as a symbol of new life, and again for a little fun on Dyngus Day.
This list only scratches the surface of the dozens of permanent and holiday vendors at the market. To see all that the Broadway Market has to offer, you have to immerse yourself in it. Try the food, talk to the people, and dance to the music.
It’s all part of a Buffalo tradition more than 130 years in the making!