SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Traveling internationally may be difficult right now, but you can still be transported to Poland without leaving SoCal.
Santa Monica staple Solidarity has been serving traditional polish cuisine for 40 years. The mother-daughter duo behind the restaurant seamlessly weaves the old with the new.
Natasza Congdon was born the same year Solidarity was born. There is a photo of her in her mother’s arms in the same kitchen we see today.
“Taking it over was a really amazing feeling. To give back, be part of the community, and continue the legacy of Polish food in Santa Monica, which is underrepresented,” said Congdon.
She is continuing the legacy of her mom Elina Olague who moved from Poland and opened this restaurant in 1979. 40 years of food, family, and looking to the future.
“I am very proud of Natasza. She improved it tremendously,” said Olague.
Over the last few years, Congdon changed the name to Solidarity to represent the struggle of the Polish people and how they overcame adversity. She also highlighted the Polish traditional dishes with a California flair.
“We have combined the best of both worlds. We have Polish food with healthy California living,” said Congdon.
Most of the recipes come from Olague’s home cooking straight from Poland.
“It’s a cuisine of the colder country, so we ate what we could grow. It’s very meat and potatoes kind of food,” said Olague.
You will see the homemade apple sauce that tops the fresh then fried placki, the Polish version of potato pancakes. This paired with their standout dish the pierogi, which has an interesting history.
“Poland was in a part of Europe that was always invaded by someone. The result is a lot of fusion in Polish dishes. The pierogi is like raviolis from our Italian queen that married the Polish king,” said Olague.
Congdon wants to continue the Polish tradition for years to come in their outdoor patio for their loyal customers.
“The best way to experience a culture is through its food and that’s what happens here every day. People get transported back to a time where this was readily available,” said Congdon.
Get transported to Poland without leaving SoCal at Solidarity, located at 1414 Lincoln Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401.