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Vi's Polish Cuisine

June 18, 2014 - Dennise Sigler's motto for her new business is "from grandmother's kitchen with love."

For Sigler, a Groveland Township resident, the love that came from her grandmother Violet's kitchen— Polish food— now comes from a 14-foot trailer. That trailer, with the name "Vi's Polish Cuisine," will be seen this weekend at CreekFest in Ortonville.

"My grandmother taught me how to make her Polish food and my sister and I have been making it all these years," said Sigler. "My husband James and I wanted people to taste what our family has always enjoyed."

With that in mind, Sigler and her husband, helped by their daughters Jamie, 15, and Susan, 12, are operating the new business at festivals. CreekFest will be their third festival, preceded by Heritage Days in Rochester and the Bay City Riverside Art Festival.

Sigler, formerly a medical and court transcriptionist, took as much advice as she could before starting the business. Her biggest challenge was getting the food trailer ready for inspection. The trailer holds a commercial size freezer/refrigerator, as well as multiple stainless steel shelves and countertops, four commercial roasters and a large griddle. They use the equipment to store and cook Polish sausage, kielbasa, sauerkraut, pierogis and golumpki, or stuffed cabbage, which comes from Vi's special recipe, as does the macaroni salad served.

Sigler strives to use locally made products as much as possible, serving Dearborn sausage and kielbasa and Better Made potato chips, as well as Faygo beverages. Pierogis come from a local Polish market.

Customers who order a Polish platter get a little of everything on the menu.

Another challenge was learning how to serve large numbers of people in a short amount of time.

Sigler makes the food fresh in the morning and uses roasters to keep everything at a perfect temperature and as the day goes on, cooks more. Orders are typically ready in a minute.

"So far I've had really good reviews from customers, one guy came back five times at the Bay City festival," she laughed. "The main thing is the quality of the food— that's everything and I want to make sure that is not going to change."

Sigler was told by the Groveland Township Fire Department, which inspected Vi's Polish Cuisine trailer, that hers was the only food vending trailer in the township. Festivals are finding room for the business this summer.

"I think the best part of this is watching the crowds and people wanting to talk about Polish food, and their grandparents," Sigler said. "People seek us because of the ethnicity of the food. Old recipes passed down from generation to generation are the secret to good food."

Vi's Polish Cuisine can be found in downtown Ortonville at CreekFest, June 21-22. Details: 586-360-5511.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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