When visiting Pittsburgh, you can’t leave without trying some locally made pierogies—and Mrs. T’s from the grocery store freezer aisle doesn’t count.
It’s hard to go wrong with any dish that’s wrapped in dough and stuffed with goodness. Ravioli, gyoza, momos, empanadas—need we say more?
In Pittsburgh, the dumpling of choice is the pierogi. (For the transplants, that’s pronounced “puh-row-gee.”)
Initially brought to the area by Eastern European immigrants, pierogies have become a key part of Pittsburgh food culture. Valiant troops of volunteers make hundreds of pierogies to sell during church fundraisers. Pierogi pizza—which is pizza covered not with pierogies themselves but with pierogi ingredients: mashed potatoes, onion, and cheese—is definitely a thing here. These little delicacies are so popular that Pierogi mascots even run races at Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games (this year, my money is on Jalepeño Hannah to bring it home).
Classic pierogies are often stuffed with fillings like potato and onion and pan-fried, but Pittsburgh food sellers regularly make things more interesting, from sweet dessert options to pierogies filled with unexpected ingredients like pickles.
If you’re just visiting the city, you can’t leave without trying some locally made pierogies—and Mrs. T’s from the grocery store freezer aisle, while good, doesn’t count. If you can’t get your hands on a church pierogi (and even if you can, because who doesn’t want more pierogies?) keep reading to learn about five places you can experience the true delight that are pierogies in the Pittsburgh area.
If you live in Western Pennsylvania, you may have seen Gosia’s Pierogies at festivals or set up at the Market Square Farmers Market in downtown Pittsburgh on Thursdays. There, you’ll find the good folks of Gosia’s slinging classic pierogi flavors like potato and cheese as well as sauerkraut or sweet cabbage. Because Gosia’s simple dough does not contain eggs, many of the options are vegan. The business doesn’t have a restaurant storefront, but you can get Gosia’s specialty pierogies hot at a number of community events; find a calendar of appearances on their website.
If you’d rather not wait for a festival weekend to try Gosia’s , you’re in luck. While the deaf-owned business has a warehouse in nearby Latrobe, you don’t need to travel to the suburbs to try their food. Gosia’s frozen pierogies are sold in a number of local grocery stores, including the ubiquitous Giant Eagle, where you can pick them up pre-cooked and frozen and simply heat them on the stove.
If you want a pierogi experience that includes beautiful cocktails, an outdoor garden seating area, additional Eastern European small and large plates, and even a natural wine shop, Apteka in the Bloomfield neighborhood is a perfect dinner destination. Apteka’s menu changes with the seasons, but you can at least expect intricately prepared pierogies, such as some filled with fried sauerkraut, tomato, and smoked carrot served with cucumber and charred kohlrabi salads, or boiled potato and cabbage pierogies with caramelized onion and beet horseradish. Though the restaurant’s menu is made up of Eastern European comfort food, the restaurant is all vegan. But that shouldn’t dissuade carnivores. In fact, you may want to go early to ensure you get a table for dinner service—Apteka is often packed with other pierogi seekers, vegan and non-vegan alike.
S&D Polish Deli
This Polish deli is surrounded by other international grocery stores in the bustling Strip District. As you’re roaming the different specialty markets and eateries in “the Strip,” you can stop inside S&D Polish Deli to order pierogies fresh or frozen. Like the other options on the S&D lunch menu, rest assured that these delicacies are made according to traditional Polish recipes. If you want to order pierogies to eat immediately, you can try the classic potato and cheddar. But if you order ahead, and depending on availability, you can get frozen or pre-cooked pierogies in flavors like sauerkraut mushroom, farmer’s cheese, and even prune.
While you’re waiting for your potato and cheddar pierogies to be boiled and dressed with onions, you can explore the other Polish offerings at the deli. You’ll find soups, cheeses, meats, and condiments, many imported directly from Poland.
Cop Out Pierogies
Located in Etna just across the Allegheny River, Cop Out Pierogies has a long menu of specialty flavors that may inspire a most welcome form of indecision. The shop offers classic flavors like potato and sauerkraut, but you can also find unique options like gyro, pepperoni pizza, and reuben pierogies. Once you’ve had your fill of savory options, end the night right with something sweet. Dessert pierogi flavors change monthly, but expect options like mixed berry cheesecake or Bavarian cream. Plus, vegans and gluten-free eaters will also find options at Cop Out. All pierogies can be ordered hot to eat at the restaurant or frozen to make at home.
Want something even more special? Call ahead and request a custom order, because the folks at Cop Out claim they will make pierogies with any filling you desire!
Pierogies Plus is a longtime Pittsburgh favorite, but it’s received national acclaim as well: the Pierogies Plus kitchen has appeared on the Food Network more than once to showcase its namesake specialty. So, you could consider owner Helen Mannarino and her crew Pittsburgh pierogi ambassadors to the rest of the country. After all, Mannarino grew up in Poland making pierogies alongside her family, and it’s these traditional recipes that have made their way into her kitchen. (And into the bellies of so many Pittsburghers.)
At the Pierogies Plus counter shop in McKees Rocks, you can pick up pierogies with traditional and nontraditional fillings like cabbage, sausage, breakfast, and potato and jalapeño, as well as dessert fillings such as apple pie and apricot. Many local grocery stores also carry Pierogies Plus. And if you’re only visiting Pittsburgh? Pierogies Plus ships nationwide!