How a local family created Baltimore's Best Hot Dogs and Polish Sausages
Polock Johnny's is a name conceived by my grandfather in 1921. After years of working on the carnival midways, he purchased a pinball gallery in Baltimore’s red light district know as "the Block". One day he fried up what smelled like the best hot dog in Baltimore and caught the attention of the gamers and was the beginning of what is now known to Baltimore as Polock Johnny's.
I always remember the excitement created when my grandparents came to visit. They would bring little gifts from Reads drug store, cookies from Silbers Bakery, and my grandfather would hand me and my three brothers a silver dollar. My mom would prepare a feast and as we sat around the table, my grandfather would entertain us with his amusing carnival tales. After dinner my parents and grandparents would set up the card table to play their monthly game of Password or Pinochle. Between the hands we could hear my dad and his fathers talking about Polock Johnny's. They spoke of getting the best rolls for the steam table, how they could create the best polish sausages in Baltimore, newer pinball machines, or the people that worked at 'that' place. On one of these visits I overheard my grandfather telling my father,"...that's your decision, your Polock Johnny now." Up until that moment I never thought of Polock Johnny as a person, much less my dad.
By the time I was entering 5th grade, my family moved from Woodlawn to Randallstown. My brothers and I were attending private schools and we were always getting in trouble from smuggling in all the neat novelties my father would bring home. The nuns would call home about Plastic throw up, stink bombs, laughing machines, and some I'd rather not mention. We went to mass on Sunday at St. Vincent DePaul, and afterwards we stopped by Polock Johnny's so my father could check up on everything. We'd get a handful of nickels to play the pinball machines and munch on the best polish sausage in Baltimore! Business was usually dead on Sundays so I never got what the big deal was that my grandfather and dad spent endless hours talking about.