A European palace coming to life in South Jersey

Stanislaw “Stosh” Stachowski outside of Royal Cracovia.

There's a room deep within the basement of developer Stanislaw “Stosh” Stachowski’s forthcoming South Jersey restaurant that only a few people will be allowed to enter:

The pierogi and pasta makers.

All will be from Eastern Europe - Poland, like Stosh - and will have the recipes filed away in their heads and their techniques safeguarded from prying eyes.

But the underground pierogi and pasta lab is only part of the story at Stachowski's restaurant, Royal Cracovia.

It's a $3.5 million, 250-seat Euro bistro rising up where Magnolia Diner used to be on White Horse Pike, about 20 minutes from the Ben Franklin Bridge.

This place is gigantic, as a hard-hat walk-through showed: A quarry's worth of marble, granite and stone. Four private dining rooms. A banquet room in the lower level that can house a small army. A $1 million kitchen and bakery, a wood-fired oven, a rotisserie. Twenty-five-foot cathedral ceilings, $200,000 in lighting fixtures, $40,000 of American red oak, three custom-built Italian display cases to sell pastries, kielbasa and grab-and-go salads and sandwiches.

Stosh, 55, was raised outside of Krakow and toured as a classical singer. His bio holds that while in his 20s in 1985, he visited the United States for a Luciano Pavarotti concert. That led to a move to the Philly area, where he became a butler/driver/chef for a wealthy Philadelphia family with a vacation home in Ventnor, N.J. He returned to Poland in 1989 to join the ensemble Capella Cracoviensis. He toured while investing in real estate in Poland.

In 1997, he returned to the U.S. He bought, fixed and flipped houses.

Lots of American travels inspired him to go into the restaurant business.

Royal Cracovia, due to open this summer, will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.