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Alex Polish American Deli

Update 12/11/08: Alex moved, then closed.

In a word: Simple sandwiches with an eastern European touch.

The specs: #0214
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; review at Cap Times; sandwich confessional at Cooking Junkies.

JM had a garlic ham and cheese sandwich.
Nichole had a duck loaf sandwich.
We also bought 2 Kinderniespodzianka, a dark chocolate bar, and a jar of mustard.
The bill was $17, or $8.50/person.
JM and Nichole both gave Alex Polish American Deli a B (see our grading rubric).

Latest Alex Polish American Deli news and reviews

Alex Polish American Deli iswas on Monroe St., in the east side of Knickerbocker Place,  even if "Kickerbocker" is more fun to say.

Kickerbocker (sic) Place sign outside Alex Polish American Deli

Alex Polish American Deli groceries It's a small store, immaculately clean, with an inventory of brightly-colored packaged goods and a deli case full of meats and cheeses that are usually easier to find in Milwaukee than Madison (more's the pity).

The pierogi turned out to be frozen and seemed commercially packaged, so we both opted for sandwiches. JM went out on a limb (for him) and got the garlic ham (although "grandma ham" sounded intriguing); Nichole asked the man behind the counter what he would recommend. He suggested the duck loaf. While he made the sandwiches, we stocked up on some other goodies, then headed home to eat.

Sandwich from Alex Polish American Deli

The sandwiches were quite filling, with lots of meat and good mustard, but nothing else (Nichole was astonished to hear JM wish for a lettuce leaf). JM felt this left his sandwich a little dry, but it was still pleasant.  The duck loaf was especially tasty: it had a sort of liver sausage smell, but a firmer and less homogenous texture than, say, braunschweiger. Whatever was in it was good.

If you've never had a Kinder Surprise chocolate egg, you should try one, just once. The chocolate itself is not great - just a titch better than those waxy, foil-wrapped Palmer things - but the surprise is fun. If you like choking hazards.

Kinder Surprise egg from Alex Polish American Deli, unwrapped

Kinder Surprise egg from Alex Polish American Deli, broken open

Pirate snail!

Even with the candy, we didn't quite feel full. But Nichole especially liked the homey feel of the place, and we're looking forward to Easter, when (so we hear) Alex Polish American Deli breaks out the traditional bakery stuff - yum.


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Next time you HAVE to try the garlic polish sausage. I used to love REAL Polish sausage. In Chicago, where I used to live, we had great Polish delis all over the place.
I was a little disappointed in the Madison one, only because they didn't have the fresh pierogis, kielbasa, sides like homemade potato dumplings. The store was a lot sparser than what I grew up on. However, the purchase of the Polish sausage made the trip definitely worthwhile. In addition, my children were with me and the nice older lady gave each of my children a Polish chocolate wafer bar free of charge! Very nice!

What is the deal with the dates that reviews are posted? Is that when you go there, or does your server have the wrong date?

Fire up for real paczki next spring!!

The date on each post is the day & time of our visit. I just added a note to that effect to our FAQ.

Crystal - thank you! - I couldn't remember what paczki were called.

Alex Polish Deli has moved to 3868 E. Washington, in a strip mall near a tobacco outlet. The telephone number is (608) 233-9940. I've read some unkind remarks on line about the owner being a little standoffish, but I think that this is due to a naturally introverted personality and maybe a little less familiarity with expressing himself in English compared to his wife and firecracker daughter. Everyone there has been really nice to me, although I admit that the gentleman seems to like it better when you initiate the conversation. The new location is easier to get to and MUCH easier to park at than the old one, so you can eliminate the picture of the parking lot sign on this site. The bigos is what keeps me coming back every time I travel to Madison. You have to ask for it - it's in the freezer. It's a completely addictive sauerkraut-based "hunter's stew" with little bits of meat. I threw in some leftover duck loaf once and it was insanely good. Most of their pierogies are commercial, it's true, but ask for the pork ones that are homemade. Heat them up in a little tomato sauce. The poppy seed loaf ("makowiec") is the best I've had - moister filling, golden raisins - yum! By the way, for tender little pierogies in many, many flavors, check out the freezer in the back of A&J Polish Deli in Milwaukee, on Lincoln Avenue east of S. 13th. They are amazing!!!

I LOVE BIGOS. First had it in Chicago a couple three years ago and fell in love. I've been putting off making my own all this time, mostly because I haven't had a pan large enough to make the recipes I've seen (and I want the leftovers, natch). I'm thrilled to know that I can get it in Madison... and now that I have a roommate with a ginormous saute pan, it'll be good inspiration to try it myself. Thanks for the info, Maryann.

Alex Polish Deli has moved to 3868 E. Washington. Please remove the picture of the restricted parking sign that has not applied to his store for many, many months! You'll scare people off, and it's no longer a problem. Thanks! ~Flash

Hi Maryann, Flash, thanks for the advice. However, this blog is not a dining guide nor a place to advertise restaurants. It's a journal of how we found things when we visited them.

Plus there's a funny misspelling on the sign.

So the picture stays.

Anyone know when Alex Polish starts serving makowiec? I tried calling in, but their phone isn't great and (combined with just enough accent) I couldn't understand his response.

I agree with the previous poster--showing that this place has (or had) bad parking will dissuade potential customers when it simply isn't true anymore. Gotta represent a business for what it is--or at least put up a note that the address has since changed. That would do it. As for Alex Polish: best deli sandwiches in town!

People! This is not a wiki! It's a travelogue. There is a note. Let it be. All you nitpickers have effectively served notice to any potential dim bulbs who couldn't figure out that the place moved.

Also, the makowiec shows up this coming week. Again, don't everyone eat it all. I just need one loaf.

Thank you, Kyle.

At this point it's just too funny. How many more people will write in to say the sign that actually improved the parking situation for Alex's customers at Alex's former location scares off customers? The new parking lot over on E Wash has the same kind of sign. Maybe I should post a picture of that, too.

I understand having a place where people can talk about how things are as they find them. I appreciate this when we are talking about the food, the service, cleanliness, etc., stuff that actually has to do with the place. This is a picture of a SIGN that hasn't applied to this deli for over a year; I think that some of us Alex fans are concerned that people will think that it would be a hassle to go there. It WAS a problem - the sign completely failed to improve things as Nichole suggested. It was a miserable lot, and street parking was also difficult. Alex took care of his customers by moving.

You seem to really love this sign. Suggestion: perhaps you could review a restaurant that actually IS in Knickerbocker Place so you can post that picture next to a relevant story. Or steal it for your dorm room, then you can be amused by the missing "n" whenever you want without hurting someone's business.

By the way, the Whole Rye, a satisfying dark bread, is great if they have it in stock when you go there.

Karin -- seriously, what's your hangup? How much money is that picture on this website costing you?

Choose your battles ...

Why are people turning on the business for not wanting to have customers dissuaded from visiting their store? Seems kind of petty.

Who's "turning on" this business? Seriously. I want to know who has turned on Alex Polish in this discussion.

Perhaps you should click on my name-link and find out just how horribly I treated Alex Polish in my most recent column.

Again: this is not a wiki.

You don't know how happy that picture of the Kinder Egg made me - I haven't been able to find them since I moved back to the US 9 years ago! The chocolate - not great - but the toys rock!

Does anyone know if they still stock the Kinder Surprise?

They're at Cost Plus World Market sometimes.

Homeland Security will be at your door if they find out you have dealing Kinder Eggs!


Whoa, good catch! And CBP is now my new second-favorite government RSS feed. First is the CPSD (spoiler alert: the drawstring did it).

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