What the heck is Mr. Crispy?
Mr. Crispy is not a person, advertising mascot, or ironic cartoon character.
Mr. Crispy is the best thing you’ve never tasted.
The signature comfort food of the city of Szczecin, Poland, Mr. Crispy is tender yeast dough stuffed with savory minced beef or fresh vegetable filling and fried to golden goodness. Traditionally served with a steaming cup of rich, spicy homemade beet soup.
It is considered such a prized delicacy that the recipe and the cunning culinary contraption that creates it are literally Polish state secrets.
Thanks to the ingenuity of a proud Polish ballroom dance champion turned chef and his restaurateur dance partner, this unique cultural phenomenon is now available to delight American diners for the first time, right here on East 23rd Street in NYC!
The Mr. Crispy Story
Rich in history and culture, deeply tied to the nearby Baltic Sea, Szczecin (also known as Stettin) is Poland’s seventh largest city and third largest port.
It is also – until now – the only place in the world where you could enjoy a legendary local delicacy. Its origin is steeped in communist-era intrigue, when the Soviet army brought in specialized equipment weighing over a ton to turn out large amounts of satisfying food for occupying soldiers.
The birth of a local phenomenon
In 1969, the people of Szczecin adopted this unique culinary tradition as their own, with the opening of the first Bar Pasztecik. Golden fried yeast dough cylinders, crispy outside and soft inside, filled with fresh, savory ingredients such as finely minced beef, onions, cabbage and mushrooms, pasztecik soon became the favorite fast food of the region.
Enter relatives of members of Mateusz Sobczynski’s family, who procured the highly guarded recipe and equipment from the Polish government to open the second Bar Pasztecik in Szczecin in 1973.
As the culinary craze grew, the Polish government moved to designate it as an official traditional product, protected by law, in December 2010. Only those in possession of the traditional recipe and equipment are permitted to produce it. And each year on October 20, the dish is celebrated with its own holiday.
A match made in culinary heaven
As a boy, Mateusz wasn’t focused on his family’s relatives’ ties to his home city’s favorite treat. He devoted his energies to dance, became a professional ballroom dancer specializing in Latin steps, and earned several national championships and finalist honors in major competitions around the world.
It wasn’t until after Mateusz came to New York to teach ballroom dancing that his attention returned to his relatives’ culinary heritage. He was spurred by one of his favorite dance pupils, businesswoman Vivian Wu, whose family also has a background as successful restaurateurs.
Together, they recognized the rare opportunity to introduce something entirely new to the seen-it-all diners of New York. Mateusz enrolled in culinary school – you can call him Chef Matt now – and the partners set out to bring this fast, fun, handmade, deliciously different, traditional treat to NYC as Mr. Crispy.
Today, Mr. Crispy is made using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients and the same authentic recipes and proprietary equipment as the original in Szczecin.