The Dish: Three pierogi to eat now
Ask Matt Majesky for the secret to a perfect pierogi, and he'll shrug it off like it's easy. All you need is potato, a stick of butter and a little salt, the owner of Old North pop-up Pierogi Mountain will say. "It's peasant food," he says. "You can make do with what you have." But Majesky is being modest. More often than not, it's tough to find pierogi that shine-flavorful Polish dumplings stuffed fat with mashed potatoes, crisped until brown and then tossed with caramelized onions. Thankfully, there's a pierogi renaissance happening in Columbus.
Stephen Redzinak's Polish grandmother, Sophie, sparked his love for cooking. So when he launched his food truck (now a cart) two years ago, paying homage to the pierogi seemed a perfect tribute. "Nobody was doing a pierogi on wheels," he says. Sophie's is all about the classic potato-filled dumpling. Diners can go "Vintage" with pierogi tossed with onion, butter and sour cream, or opt for something a little fancier with butters like lemon basil or smoked paprika garlic. Keep an eye out for rotating "Gastrogi" specials like kielbasa and braised cabbage with potato pierogi as the base. sophiesgourmet.com
At Brewery District gastropub Westies, the pierogi appetizer sticks close to tradition, but with a few gourmet touches. It's a sour-cream-based dough packed with cheddar mashed potatoes, then topped with apple-wood smoked bacon and caramelized onion spiced with rosemary from Westies' garden. "I think it adds a little freshness to a heavy dish," says executive chef Laura Richmond, who adds it's quickly become a menu staple. westiesgastropub.com
Majesky started Pierogi Mountain by accident. The Cleveland-area native came across his grandmother's pierogi recipe and started making dumplings for friends. "It turned out, I was really good at it," he says. Now, Majesky sells a rotating collection of classic and seasonal variations-chicken paprikash, butternut squash, potato cheddar-at Cafe Bourbon Street in Old North and in freezer cases at Weiland's Market. Don't see a flavor you want? Suggest it. "I'm always looking for inspiration," he says. facebook.com/pierogimountain