Richard Sikorski knew when he closed his Polish deli on West Bay Drive in August 2009 that one day he would reopen it somewhere else in the area.
Part of the reasoning was he couldn’t continue to operate it out of a dining room in his r restaurant on Clearwater Largo Road.
“It was way too small,” he says.
The other reason was that he knew there was a market for what he was doing in this area, which, on top of selling Polish and German meats and products, includes smoking fish.
“There is no other place like mine, either the deli or the fish,” the affable owner said one afternoon last week. “It was something that was needed around here.”
Four months ago, Sikorski found a new spot for his market in a small strip plaza on Ulmerton Road, and he recently opened for business. The place is twice the size of his old shop, which will make it easier to facilitate his smoking operation.
Although selling food from another country isn’t exactly a novelty in the Tampa Bay area, the fact that Sikorski will be smoking meat and fish for both retail and wholesale purposes is unique to the area.
Sikorski recently was approved for a special permit and license that allows him to sell and serve the food from his new shop, and also to ship smoked products to clients as a wholesaler.
“This is the only place in the Tampa Bay area that is doing this, legally,” Sikorski said. “It cost me more money to get the permits, but it’s worth it because there is no competition.”
Beginning Thursday, Sikorski cranked up the smoker and started producing his specially smoked foods, which include mullet, amberjack, Mahi mahi, kielbasa, sausage and other meats. He also has a fish spread for sale.
With a few tables inside the shop and a few more soon to be added outside, Sikorski says customers will be able to enjoy the freshly smoked food when it's at its best — hot off the smoker.
“On Saturdays, you can buy items fresh from the smoker and sit and enjoy them right here. It is such a good smell and such a good taste," he said.
“I know people have been waiting … and it’s coming,” he said.
Address: 12545 Ulmerton Rd.
Hours: 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday