Polish Hill has its Polish deli back.
Anna Misiaszek has returned to the niche she had filled for 15 years in the most obvious neighborhood for a daughter of Poland.
It was a bittersweet return last month for Alfred's Deli Plus at 3041 Brereton St. Ms. Misiaszek had been gone for five years after being mugged and needing surgery. But old customers welcomed her back with gifts, and she is meeting residents who weren't there five years ago.
"We have a lot of young, very talented people here now," she said. "Polish Hill needs me."
Ms. Misiaszek said she is 100 percent Polish, with old family ties to the neighborhood. She and her husband, Alfred, for whom the deli is named, now live in Baldwin Borough. The deli is named after him, she said, but it is her project.
It is the size of neighborhood markets of old, she said, not too big but not too small. It is the only retail destination besides bars that Polish Hill residents can walk to easily, but its return may be the start of a trend.
Architects Yoko Tai and Steve Lee relocated to Brereton this year after a five-year stint in the Strip.
The neighborhood's civic council president, Terry Doloughty, said the owner of one Brereton Street building is renovating two storefronts to rent to entrepreneurs.
The former hardware store beside it has been bought by a contractor who plans to renovate it to suit.
"We have had interest from a vegetarian restaurant, a sandwich shop, a bakery and a second-hand consignment store," said Mr. Doloughty, who was eager to spread the word when he saw the old deli being renovated.
Ms. Misiaszek operated Alfred's Deli Plus from 3043 Butler St. in Lawrenceville for the past three years, selling Polish lunch meats from Chicago, pierogies, bread, canned soups, wafers and salads in jars, including cucumbers in brine and sauerkraut, she said.
When her lease expired last summer, she could not agree with the landlord on a time commitment, so she vacated and pondered her options. One was the building on Brereton Street, Polish Hill's sloping main drag. She had never sold it.
"Terry told me, 'People are waiting for you. When are you going to reopen?'" she said.
"We wanted to help her advertise [her return] because residents of every age and gender have been asking us for something like this," said Mr. Doloughty. "A lot of people want this to be a walking neighborhood."
Alfred's Deli Plus is open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays.
Diana Nelson Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1626.