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Small market in Guilford is packed with European cheese, meat, sweets and more
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Small market in Guilford is packed with European cheese, meat, sweets and more

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Tucked into a nondescript strip center less than a mile from the intersection of Interstate 40 and N.C. 68, Euro Deli Mart has been serving the Triad’s Eastern European population for 11 years but remains a secret to much of the rest of the area.

Euro Deli Mart, at 602 Hickory Ridge Road, Greensboro, is owned by Malgorzata “Gosia” Kobus, a native of Krakow, Poland. She left Poland in 1981 and had brief sojourns in France and Germany before moving to Texas, where she lived for 12 years, before moving to North Carolina in the 1990s.

She worked in supermarket delis for a spell in the Triad. Then, when her friend and fellow Pole Alicja Dobrowska needed help at Integro Deli International in Greensboro, Kobus went to work there. “I worked for her for five years — until she decided to close it,” Kobus said. “Then this other friend of mine came to me and said we really need a place for Polish food.”

That friend was Marcin Bienasz, who opened Euro Deli Mart and hired Kobus to run it. After about five years, Kobus bought out Bienasz.

Euro Deli Mart is about the size of a small convenience store. But it is packed with fresh, frozen and nonperishable foods from Poland and about a dozen other, mostly eastern European countries. It also carries a number of products made in the United States but with eastern European recipes.

“Pierogies are probably No. 1, but the cold cuts are second,” Kobus said. She sells a wide variety of Polish sausages, ham and bacon as well as other European deli meats.

She has cheeses from Poland, France, Greece, Russia, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Lithuania. The most popular are the Polish krolewski (sometimes called Polish Swiss cheese), Polish morski and Lithuanian Svalya.

She works with two Polish bakeries and one Russian bakery in New York to provide her with cakes and pastries, including Polish margarita cake and Russian spartak cake.

“I have a Ukrainian man who drives up to New York and goes around gets me all these different things — because I don’t need large amounts,” she said.

The wide selection includes bread, jam, soups, sauces, condiments, pickled vegetables, noodles, chocolates, cookies and more.

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Pate from Yugoslavia. Red horseradish from Germany. Tea from Croatia. Coffee from Greece. Pickled tomatoes from the Ukraine. Apricot jam from Romania. Noodles from Hungary. Crème-filled chocolate cookies from Serbia. Rose-hip spread from Croatia. Sour cherry preserves from Turkey. Cabbage and mushrooms from Poland. Vodka-filled chocolate from Finland. And beets in many forms from Poland. The list goes on and on.

It’s the kind of store where every time you turn around, you notice something you hadn’t seen before. And Kobus loves to share her love of Polish and other foods, often offering a taste of Polish sausage, maybe with a piece of Lithuanian bread thickly slathered with European butter.

On a recent day, Kobus brought out a bottle of unrefined sunflower oil from Russia. “This is really hard to find,” she said.

She opened a Prince Polo candy bar from Poland and offered a sample. “This is like our KitKat. We grew up with these,” she said.

At Euro Deli Mart, you can even buy the Russian version of cola, Polish bacon pate and Ukrainian pink herring.

Her customers come from many countries. Almost 30 framed pictures on the wall honor the many nationalities of her clientele. “And I’m missing six,” she said.

They cover pretty much every country in Europe and a few beyond.

Mike Radionchenko, a native of Russia who lives in High Point, was in the other day, stocking up on family favorites. “He shops here every couple of weeks for his entire family,” Kobus said.

“I’m buying for my mother, my grandma. A lot of the Polish and Russian foods are similar,” Radionchenko said. Among the items he was buying: Russian cottage cheese. It’s not that different from American cottage cheese, he said. “But my grandma is picky.”

Janusz Glazowski of High Point, a native of Poland, said he has been shopping at Euro Deli Mart since it opened. He comes especially for the Polish ham and cheese but buys a variety of foods, shopping here about once a month. “Polish pickles — you can’t find these anywhere else. Same with this herring. Even the candies,” he said.

Kyle Laird of Clemmons is not of eastern European descent but developed a taste for its food while working for the Peace Corps years ago in the Ukraine. He comes to Euro Deli Mart for Russian rye bread, Lithuanian beet and cabbage salad, and eastern European desserts and candies. “She also has introduced me to a lot of new things,” Laird said. “I’m probably in here every week or two.”

People who grow up with the foods that Kobus carries eventually find her. But it seems that the broader Triad population has not.

“I have a lot of regular customers — people who have been coming to me for a long time,” Kobus said. “And then there are people who move down here from up North. In New York, they have lots of stores like this, and they miss all these foods.”

336-727-7394

@mhastingswsj

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