SPRING HILL — Foodies and those from the old country looking for fresh, authentic Polish cuisine may be in for a treat, as the long-awaited Cracovia restaurant, deli and bakery in Spring Hill is expected to be open for the Christmas.

Residents have been keeping their eye on the large, red brick building under construction for months on the west side of Commercial Way, a mile north of Spring Hill Drive fronting the Towne Square Mall. It was scheduled to open before summer.

Privately owned by husband and wife Richard and Grazyna Zabrzyski, the many details of construction, the installation of specialized restaurant equipment and safety systems took longer than expected, said Richard Zabrzyski, but now the eatery is slated for an opening sometime shortly after Thanksgiving. He said those interested should keep their eyes open for a sign announcing the opening. Cracovia will have been well worth waiting for, he promises.

The restaurant will seat 184 inside, with additional seating outside under cover. All dishes will be authentic Polish favorites, created by one of the top chefs in Europe, said Zabrzyski. Cracovia’s baker and a butcher also are coming from Europe, he said.

“Everything will be fresh and made the old way,” said Zabrzyski. The menu hadn’t been set at the time of this writing, but Zabrzyski said those familiar with Polish cuisine will be pleased with the offerings.

But Cracovia isn’t just about food. Lavishly decorated with antique furniture, paintings, wall hangings and suits of armor — all sourced by Grazyna in Europe — the restaurant, from its 1-ton castle doors to miniature armored knights holding toilet paper rolls in the restrooms, is “an experience,” said Zabrzyski.

“We will be getting people coming here from Ocala — from Tampa,” he said. “This is very unique—the biggest in the state and there is nothing like this in the state of Florida, or even Georgia.”

Nothing at Cracovia will come from a can or the freezer, said Zabrzyski, who promised that the proof will be in the taste. The bakery will turn out loaves unlike any bread most have experienced, he said, and the Polish Kielbasa, cuts of meat and cold cuts, along with imported candies, condiments and pickles from Poland will make the deli the next best thing to shopping in Poland.

Zabrzyski said there are plenty of Polish people in the region who will flock to Cracovia, but it will be customers from all walks who will make the restaurant a success.

“This is for everyone,” he said. “All kinds of people are going to love it.”

The only exception might be someone looking for a hamburger. Zabrzyski recoiled when asked if there will be any traditional American items on the menu.

“No, no, no hamburger; if they want that they can go next door,” he said, referring to Chili’s Grill & Bar.

The Zabrzyski’s originally are from Kraków, Poland, and moved to Spring Hill from New Jersey, where they owned a successful bar and restaurant for 13 years. Zabrzyski said he understands the restaurant business and will offer local diners not only great food, but excellent service and large helpings of hospitality.