The Run Down
We’re headed to Chicago’s Southwest side, and spending the evening feasting on a mashup menu of Korean-inspired Polish food. We’ll then walk down the street to visit an experimental cultural center that hosts a broad array of events like festivals, performance art, comedy shows, and art exhibits. Here are the details.
1. Polish+Korean Food @ Kimski
2. Performance Art @ Co-Prosperity Sphere
To really appreciate this place, we have go back in time to 1987 when Maria Marszewski, a hair dresser from Korea who came to the US after marrying her Polish-American husband, took over a rough neighborhood bar. She named it Maria’s, after herself, and over the years it eventually spawned a mini empire in Bridgeport. One part of that mini empire is Kimski, which is where we’re going tonight.
As you walk up to Kimski, you’ll notice that it’s actually attached Maria’s. If you walk through the front door of Maria’s, you can see its evolution as you make your way through the bar.
It’s a liquor store up front, but a doorway behind the counter leads you to a small wood-paneled neighborhood looking bar — I imagine this was what the bar originally looked like in 1987. As you keep going, you’ll find another another door that leads you to a much larger open and modern space.
Keep walking and you’ll eventually find a door that leads to the back of Kimski. The space is super small, there’s a register, a few stools along the window, and a small table in the corner. The good thing is that you’re not relegated to sitting inside Kimski. You can move between Maria’s and Kimski as you please.
Now onto the food.
Maria’s and Kimski is now a big family operation, and the food at Kimski is a direct reflection of their Korean and Polish roots. I don’t know any other place mashing these types of cuisines together, so when you see the menu, everything will look intriguing. Pictured above is their kopytka — a potato dumpling with Korean fermented chilis, dill, and fried onions.
This is Kimski poutine in all its glory. Technically, there isn’t really anything particularly Polish about this, but that shouldn’t really stop you from ordering it.
Of all the Korean-Polish combos, this is the most Polish and Korean of all. It’s composed of a Polish sausage, soju mustard, and a sauerkraut and kimchi mix all in a soft roll. Only in America do we routinely get these sweet mashups. What a f*cking great city we live in.
2. Co-Prosperity Sphere
After finishing up at Kimski, we’re headed a few blocks down the street to another part of the Marszewski empire. We’re at Co-Prosperity Sphere, which is an arts center that has a rotating mix of interesting events happening almost every weekend.
On any given weekend, you might find the the place hosting a punk rock show, a local artist exhibit, or a game night. There’s no singular theme, other than, let’s curate interesting events.
The night we went, we caught an improvised comedy show hosted by the founder and writers of Cards Against Humanity. It was a packed house, there was beer from Marz brewing, and this is the type of stuff you can expect when you visit.
Over night, the place can transform into something totally different. So if you had fun with this guide the first time around, you can do it all over again and expect something totally new.