Wódka Bar Salutes the Old Country With Comforting Polish Dishes

Sarah Dworak founded Babushka Pierogies and used the walk-up window staple to launch a bar and eatery in OTR.

Photograph by Wes Battoclette

At the corner of 12th and Main in OTR sits Wódka Bar, a tiny spot with an even smaller menu that’s making a splash on the dining scene. Opened by Babushka Pierogies founder Sarah Dworak, it pays homage to her Eastern European grandparents, who immigrated to America in 1949, and feels like being invited to a friend’s house for dinner.

While weekends feature a pierogi-based brunch, the evening menu—broken into shareable zakuzkas (appetizers) and late-night snacks (after 10 p.m.)—offers more variety. An aptly named entry on the former section, Welcome features airy, chewy Allez sourdough and salted rye breads, a wonderfully tangy dill butter, and housemade pickled vegetables. The Russian Beet “Caviar,” crispy Allez Latvian dark rye canapés topped with farmer’s cheese and a lightly sweet beet spread, is also ideal for sharing. The star of the show, though, is the kielbasa bowl. The Polish sausage, pork ribs, and a generous heap of sauerkraut sit atop impossibly creamy garlic mashed potatoes. Don’t be fooled by the massive bowl; you’ll soon lick it clean.

The libations—including more than 50 vodkas, plus housemade infusions—are equally delightful. Our favorite cocktail is the Hi-Rent Fizz. Made with hibiscus and rose, red currant–infused vodka, rosemary, and soda, it’s expertly balanced. We’ll cheers to that the Polish way: na zdrowie!

Wódka Bar, 1200 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 381-3739

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