Food Truck Guide Feature: Betty Crockski
As part of the Buffalo Spree WNY Food Truck Guide, I profiled Betty Crockski, one of Buffalo’s newest food trucks. Click here to view the complete guide on the Spree website.
What they serve: Betty features fancy pierogi and homemade sausage daily, and other Polish favorites as weekly specials. Pierogi fillings include cheese, sauerkraut, potato, and pork. Its “open ’rogi” features pierogi filling served over carrot and radish slaw on a bed of field greens with dill vinaigrette. Although Polish flavors are prominent—charcuterie, root vegetables, stone fruits, all the cheeses—Betty’s repertoire does not stop at Poland’s native tastes. These are Polish classics for a contemporary palate, with twists to combine traditional flavors and modern techniques. Think of it as new Polish soul food.
The story: The truck is owned and operated by cousins and best friends Kate Hey and Dana Szczepaniak. Hey, a former marketing guru, hails from a family of restaurateurs and chefs, and has always wanted to return to the restaurant service industry. Her grandmother, uncle, and great-grandfather were the proprietors of Carl Meyer’s Hof, a Buffalo institution for nearly fifty years. Enamored by stories from the Hof, Hey stopped denying her love and surrendered to Betty. Szczepaniak, a former Manhattan CPA and Polish gal, acquired her love of traditional Polish food from her grandmother, Anna, who was born in Poland and survived WWII on German occupied land. The family always half-joked that Anna should open a pierogi stand. In an effort to bring her grandmother’s American dream to life, as well as her own vision to Buffalo’s redevelopment, Szczepaniak left NYC for Buffalo and Betty, which, after a March soft launch, she opened with Hey on Dyngus Day this year. When asked what makes Betty special, Hey and Szczepaniak say, “how [Betty] re-imagines tradition. And how pretty she is.”
Patrons say: Dennis Bartkowiak, a self-employed Airport Taxi driver from Cheektowaga, was inspired to find Betty when the Black Market Food Truck owners told him a Polish food truck would soon open. “I really had a taste for some good Polish comfort food,” says Bartkowiak. Last March, he had his first encounter, about ten minutes before Betty’s was set to leave Amherst’s Audubon Office Park. “With my first taste, I knew it was clearly Buffalo’s best comfort food with so much Polish soul, I was left speaking Polish—or at least wishing I could.” Bartkowiak loves Betty’s cheese pierogi and fresh sausage with housemade mustard.
Where you’ll find them: “We’re all over town! No neighborhood is safe!” Hey and Szczepaniak say. The truck continues to establish venues for lunch and dinner, in addition to vending at special events.