Piast Meats & Provisions was founded in 1991 by Henry and Maria Rybak, immigrants from southern Poland whose dream was to bring the authentic, natural flavors of their homeland to the US. Indeed, most of the recipes still in use today originate from Mrs. Rybak's mother's kitchen in the Old Country. The name “Piast” (pronounced "pyäst") refers to the first royal dynasty of Poland in the 10th century. With that unique name symbolizing traditional Old World elegance, the pair opened their first shop in Maplewood, NJ.
The 1899 Springfield Avenue location began as a retail store and quickly established itself as a destination for homemade, authentic Polish sausages, cold cuts, and pierogi. A few years later, a larger store in Garfield at 800 River Drive was opened, modeled after the traditional Polish meat markets that also offer groceries, dairy, candies and prepared foods. A smaller third store, also in Garfield, opened in 2002 with its own butcher shop.
In late 2009 this newest store moved into “The Castle” on 1 Passaic St. This new Piast Flagship store showcases their famous takeout meals, homemade meats, Polish and European groceries, cosmetics and remedies, baked goods, gourmet foods, and imported beer and spirits. The atmosphere is at once modern, sleek and Old World with the aromas of breaded pork chops, smoked kielbasa, pierogi, and stuffed cabbage lingering in the air. Above the retail store are two beautiful floors of party rooms available for full on-premise catering.
Today Piast offers over 100 varieties of homemade kielbasa, hams, bacons, cold cuts, and artisan jerky produced in the Piast smokehouses. “Everything is made according to the traditional way,” son and partner Martin Rybak explains, "The process of smoking meats is both simple and sophisticated." Piast's world-famous pierogi are also models of authenticity: "The dough, the filling, and the cooking are all entirely done by hand."
“I think that the trend is that people are going back to their roots, away from mass-production and towards locally made foods,” Mr. Rybak explains. “Not only does it stimulate the local economy, you know where your food is coming from. You know who made it. You can shake hands with the guys who made it.”