Pierogies’ Versatility Makes Them Popular Pittsburgh Food


Pierogies are a quintessential part of Pittsburgh culture. They’re at most fish fries come Lent, and you’ll find them on many a restaurant menu all across the city. We even watch them race at Pirates’ games!


While most everyone in Pittsburgh has an opinion about where to find the best pierogies, local favorites include Church Brew Works, Pierogies Plus, Cop Out Pierogies and APTEKA—and of course, any Polish mother’s kitchen. An added plus at these restaurants is that they make these homemade pierogies year-round.


Many believe that some of the best pierogies are still made in churches, and Church Brew Works, located in Lawrenceville, has some of the most unique pierogies in the area. Along with traditional potato and cheese pierogies, the restaurant offers a new pierogi flavor each day.


Chef Jason Marrone says the most creative flavor they’ve ever served was a rattlesnake and cactus pierogi, which was one of their most popular daily flavors, as well.


“I love pierogies for their versatility; they can be served at any time of the day,” he said. “They can be sweet or savory. They are a comfort food.”


A former gas station wouldn’t seem like it’s the best place for a pierogi operation, but Pierogies Plus in McKees Rocks has some of the best pierogies in the city. This pierogi spot was started in 1991 by Polish immigrant Helen Mannarino, so you know they’re authentic. They offer all of the classic flavors, such as potato and cheese, cottage cheese, and sauerkraut and potato. They also offer some untraditional flavors as well, including breakfast, apple pie, and potato and cheese with bacon and jalapeño.


In addition to pierogies, the restaurant also offers Eastern European dishes like haluski and stuffed cabbage. They supply pierogies to restaurants and bars all over the city that don’t make their own, including the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, Gooski's Tavern, Soergel Orchards, and more.


Cop Out Pierogies isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of what a pierogi filling can be. Located in Etna, it has the widest range of pierogi offerings in the Pittsburgh area with more than 25 different types to choose from. This restaurant has put anything you can think of in a pierogi. Mac and cheese? Definitely! Gyro? Check! Pepperoni pizza? Been there, done that! They will also create any filling you can imagine and put it in a pierogi for you—pretty much every Pittsburgher’s dream.


Many would say that cheese and butter are essential ingredients in a pierogi, but APTEKA would prove them wrong. Located in Bloomfield, this vegan restaurant offers central and Eastern European fare, which of course, includes pierogies.


Owners Tomasz Skowronski and Kate Lasky were drawn to Polish food because Skowronski is a first-generation Polish-American who spent time in Poland with his family growing up. “We both grew up in Pittsburgh, and really love the connection of the city's immigrant history but saw room to color in its understanding of the region's cuisines,” said Lasky.


APTEKA takes a traditional part of Pittsburgh’s food history and breathes new life into it. They keep their dough recipe simple by using flour, water, sunflower oil, and salt, which Lasky said is a similar recipe to the one that some of their family and friends use in Warsaw.


For the fillings, they use ingredients such as celeriac, smoked potatoes, apple, and buckwheat. While these items may be new to many of their customers, these foods are Polish staples.

Lasky said she loves pierogies because they’re just so quintessentially Pittsburgh. “They're more than just food in Pittsburgh,” she explained. “People with or without any roots to the region connect with it as a food of the city and see it as a way of embracing the city's identity.”

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