A Taste of Polish Culture at Christina’s

From left to right:  Mariusz Kwiecień (baritone at the New York Metropolitan Opera), Krystyna Dura (owner of Christina's Restaurant), Andrzej Zielinski, and Krzysztof Medyna. (Photo from Krystyna Dura via Nowy Dziennik)

From left to right: Mariusz Kwiecień (baritone at the New York Metropolitan Opera), Krystyna Dura (owner of Christina’s Restaurant), Andrzej Zielinski, and Krzysztof Medyna. (Photo from Krystyna Dura via Nowy Dziennik)

Christina’s Restaurant in Greenpoint is one of the promoters and supporters of Polish-American cultural life in Brooklyn.

It is run by Krystyna Dura, who has for the last 20 years offered a menu based on American cuisine but enriched with unique European dishes, including the specialties of the Polish kitchen.

Dura comes from one of the oldest Polish cities – historical Krakow. The city is famous not only for the abundance of monuments and historical places, as well as cafes, bars and restaurants. It has forever been Europe’s cultural center.

The decor of Greenpoint’s Christina’s Restaurant resembles the interior of a typical Krakow eatery. Its owner has also adopted the role of a true Krakowian restaurateur who, besides serving a plethora of delicious foods, also offers a taste of culture in her restaurant by inviting musicians, artists and politicians for talks, performances and exhibits. In other words Christina’s Restaurant serves as a small cultural center and its owner is a true ambassador of Polish culture.

Among Christina’s customers one can often spot American politicians, businessmen, actors and athletes, who come to wine and dine there, as well as discuss arts and business. These unique guests are often immortalized in the picture gallery displayed on the wall.

Dura has for years also supported the newly arrived on American soil – Polish artists, painters, writers and singers. They later joined a large circle of friends and regulars at Christina’s. Some of them like Metropolitan Opera stars Mariusz Kwiecień, Edyta Kulczak and Piotr Beczała are now frequent visitors at Christina’s. “I am very happy that they still remember us,” the owner says.

Starting Jan. 16, 2015, Christina’s has resumed so-called “Fridays with music.” One of the first artists to receive the invitation to perform was saxophonist Krzysztof Medyna, an outstanding Polish-American musician. He is one of the founders of the group Breakwater, which in the ’70s became a great success in Poland and continued its artistic existence on American soil where it was revived by its founders.

Breakwater performed in many known clubs and music bars in New York and the vicinity like The Five Spot, Bar 55, Zanzibar, Club Bene, Down Town and Van Gogh’s Ear. Later, the musicians changed the name of the group to Electric Breakwater and recorded a CD, “In The Bush.” In 2002 Mr. Medyna, together with Andrzej Winnicki, formed quintet Komeda Project, which has performed in New York jazz clubs as well as at Christina’s.

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