Early next year, patrons at beloved Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar won't have to bring in outside food—and they'll get a rarely seen cuisine combination. The bar and store's forthcoming street food eatery, now named Kimski, is gearing up to serve a mashup and Korean and Polish styles to hungry Bridgeporters both inside and outside the bar, helmed by chef Won Kim.
The idea began with the bar's backyard barbecue series that incorporated ownership's family kimchi recipe. "Maria's sister used to make kimchi when people were hungry," Kim says, and then "they'd say 'we have some Polishes.'" The idea was born, but took off when Kim became a guest chef and brainstormed other dishes. "It was like a one night stand that worked out," he says.
Kim is getting creative with the Korean-Polish items he's "slamming together," calling them "tongue in cheek" and that they "don't want to compete with Polish grandmothers." In addition to Polish sausages with kimchi and Korean mustard, he's working on Korean-style potstickers with pierogi fillings, sweet and spicy rice cakes with sauerkraut and kimchi, a take on bi bim bop with sauteed sauerkraut and smoked mushrooms, a selection of borscht soup specials, bulgogi cheesesteak sandwiches, and beer and squash pancakes with dill.
Most or all of the dishes will be hand-held—because the small space holds very little seating. The inside, which is currently under construction in a previously vacant lot adjacent to Maria's and Pleasant House Bakery, is nearly all standing-room and counters. But there will be an outside patio with tables in the warmer months, and people will be able to bring their food into Maria's.
A second bar is also under construction, and the hope is for it all to be complete in early 2016. Check out Kimski's Facebook page for updates.