Luncheonettes power shop. We make our lists, check them twice and head for the place that has great lunch and gifts altogether: the Old Lace Factory (Stara Fabryka Koronek). An “oasis on a real ugly street,” according to Peter Stewart of Red Onion, it has five unique owner-operated shops, guaranteed to please everyone from grandma to the boss either before or after any holiday season.
We start of course with lunch at Mielżynski’s. Smart and friendly, the restaurant within the wine shop is suitable for a friends’ get-together or a light business meeting. Check the blackboard daily menu on your way in and ask to taste the splendid Il Borgo aged balsamic vinegar with your bread. Robert Mielżynski was born in Canada to Polish immigrants turned winemakers and merchants. His return to Poland 19 years ago was prompted by a desire to protect his family’s past history and build a future here. He directly imports virtually all of his products. His passion about wine is infectious; he strives to leave each customer satisfied with the experience of the wine purchase. More like buying a pair of shoes or a jacket than a bottle of milk.
After lunch, we make our way to the Red Onion. First on the block 13 years ago, owners Peter (another Canadian) and Joanna Stewart recently expanded their concept store with a second shop on Szpitalna in the old Wedel Chocolate Factory. ‘Funky stuff for urban people,’ their motto, says it all. From music to leather chairs, kitchen accessories to children’s toys, theirs is that wonderful mash-up collection of ideas that will put a big dent in any shopping list. The Stewarts have a wicked eye for trends and fun.
Head next door to Bed & Breakfast Home, which is not just a furniture store. Owner Agnieszka Pudlik, like her neighbors, is a dabbler and enjoys mixing it up. She is selling fragrances, style books along with her own furniture. A former ad art director, with a degree in art restoration, five years ago she successfully claimed her niche after struggling to furnish her own home. If you can’t find it, design it!
As it is impolite to attend any party in Poland without a bouquet in hand, stop by Warsztat Woni, an edgy unique flower shop where you never know what will be the flower de jour and how ‘out of the box’ the presentation will be.
Need a little pick-me-up? Stop for a coffee and a plate of assorted cheeses at La Fromagerie. Owner Anna Wachowicz studied agriculture at university, then tried banking. But from her habit of returning back from skiing in France with her suitcases filled with cheese, business and hobby were finally married with the opening of this exciting boutique cheese shop. Looking for Stilton or Stinking Bishop? Then here’s the place. Or try the nascent Polish aged cheeses – 12 month old Bursztyn and Szafir, both almost impossible to locate anywhere else.
tel. 22 636 8709,
tel. 22 817 1339,
Open Mon-Sat11:00-20:00; Sun 11:00-18:00.
Home tel. 22 838 5381,
Open Mon-Fri 10:00-20:00; Sat 11:00-20:00; Sun 12:00-18:00.
tel. 22 465 2324,
Open Mon-Fri 9:00-21:00; Sat 10:00-21:00; Sun 11:30-18:00.
tel. 22 828 4484,