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Polish Cafe Zabka to Open in Bed-Stuy With Small Plates and Pastries

By Camille Bautista | November 20, 2015 11:41am
 Clifton Lesak (left) and Jacob Pressley (right) are opening Polish-inspired cafe Zabka on Halsey Street this month.
Clifton Lesak (left) and Jacob Pressley (right) are opening Polish-inspired cafe Zabka on Halsey Street this month.
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Jacob Pressley

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The owners of a new coffee shop in Bed-Stuy are hoping to create a spot “where the world meets” with a community space and café that serves up Polish treats.

Zabka on Halsey Street near Malcolm X Boulevard, is slated to open at the end of November, owners said.

“We’re all from different places around the world and we’ve traveled everywhere,” said Clifton Lesak, 24.

“We’re just trying to bring it all together so people can meet here and experience different parts of community and build relationships with this community here, too.”

The 600-square-foot outpost at 616 Halsey St. will offer pastries from a Polish bakery, along with dishes like beet salad that give a nod to the country’s traditional food.

Other menu items include “Polish tapas” like cheese plates with pickles and relish and a variety of drinks.

While Zabka is starting off with its cultural theme, the café will likely expand its offerings, according to co-owner Jacob Pressley.

Pressley, 26, teams up with Lesak and business partner Adam Freeman in the new venture.

Lesak sought to bring his Polish culture to the shop, starting with the name, which means “little frog” and is used as a term of endearment, he said.

“The Polish have a really deep respect for family and for friends," Lesak said. "And it’s really important for what we’re bringing to the business."

Customers can order a coffee press for the table, Pressley added, which would come with a tray of small bites or cookies.

“We want to encourage people to come and stay and not just grab and go,” he said. “We want them to bring some friends together, the same way you might if you order a bottle of wine and small plates to sit around and talk.

“It’s bringing that social aspect that you get at bars but with coffee and tea.”

The Halsey Street store will offer seating for around 20 people, owners said, and the café’s clean layout will feature black and white portraits and photos of Poland’s cityscapes.

Plans are in the works to use the space for live music, comedy nights and different neighborhood events.