Niagara Gazette

Features

March 31, 2013

Polish partiers

Niagara Gazette — They finally found the pussy willows. 

The weather simply has not been cooperating so there was some concern that the traditional branches used by girls to gently swat the boys during Dyngus Day celebrations might not make it to the party planned for Monday at the Polish Nook.

But, some kind person has offered to donate the branches and so tradition will be fully served as the restaurant holds its popular post-Easter party, including live Polish music and a buffet of Polish foods from pierogi to pork chops.

A great many things have changed at the restaurant since it opened its doors in 1969.  But, one thing that seems to be fully restored lately is the family’s commitment to keeping the restaurant running on its corner of Cudaback Avenue and 24th Street. 

Fortified by the grandchildren of the restaurant founders, Stanley and Stella Kajfasz, the Polish Nook has found new life, and after many years of being open only on Friday and for special events, the restaurant has been serving dinners four days a week since 2009, led by the couple’s oldest child, Kathy Kajfasz.

Kathy grew up in LaSalle where her family owned the Pelican Motel on Niagara Falls Boulevard. Family history goes back as far as her own grandfather, who once owned a meat store on the location of the restaurant. 

The oldest of five children, Kathy is a certified public accountant in Buffalo. It was never in her life plan to run the restaurant.  After her father died in 2000, her mother, Stella, ran the the kitchen quite capably.  But, a few years ago, Stella was diagnosed with dementia and began to need around-the-clock care. Her daughter kept the restaurant going as best she could, bringing her mom to the Nook most days.  “She was happy here.  And she wanted to keep working.”

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