Pierogi were one of the earliest foods I introduced the boys to when they were little.They love the doughy dumplings stuffed with potatoes and cheese or sauerkraut.
When we heard a pierogi restaurant had opened in the University District, we were eager to check it out. The Facebook Page for Pierogi Mountain notes that it operates out of a bar, so I wasn't completely surprised when we arrived and the sign above the door said Café Bourbon Street.
My husband walked in first and called out, "Is this Pierogi Mountain?" While my eyes were still adjusting to the dark interior, a friendly voice told us we were in the right place.
"Welcome to my dive bar," said Matt Majesky. He handed us the evening's pierogi menu featuring eight different flavors ranging from tahini and sweet pepper to butternut squash and sage ($1 apiece on Tuesdays). We decided to order two of each to share among the four of us. We loved them all. Majesky has the perfect dough-to-filling ratio. You get a nice mix of each in every bite. The dough, which he makes from his great-grandmother Telatnki's recipe, is light and airy.
"She's the original Mrs. T," he joked.
We also ordered fried onions and sour cream. The onions were caramelized to perfection and made a savory addition to the meal.
Majesky started making the dumplings about two years ago when he was between jobs. A regular at Café Bourbon Street, he asked if he could prepare them in their kitchen and sell them to customers.
"It's not much but we have our green card," he said, referring to the inspection cards that the Franklin County Public Health department issues to restaurants.
Café Bourbon Street is indeed an old-school dive bar. It's dark. The booths are worn. The walls are dotted with stickers promoting bands.
Still, we felt completely at ease. The bartender turned on cartoons and rattled off the varieties of pop ($1 a can) he had on hand.
Not having spent a lot of time in college bars, the boys were a little taken aback by the bathrooms. They weren't much, but they were serviceable.
Majesky said he's saving for a food cart or truck so he can serve people in more places. When he does, we will definitely seek it out.
Meanwhile, we will continue to frequent Café Bourbon Street because what is life without dining adventures?
-Melissa Kossler Dutton
When I first walked in, I wasn't sure if this was a spot kids normally would go to. However, I have loved pierogi for a long time. I thought, "If this place serves them, who am I to complain?"
Majesky's were totally different from any I have ever tasted. I wouldn't expect macaroni and cheese in a pierogi but it was one of the best ones. I also loved the "chili cheese Coney" filling. He also made one that reminded me of Indian food. It was called samosa and had its own sauce. It was delicious.
I'm glad we tasted all of the flavors. I liked all of them. If you try Pierogi Mountain, I suggest ordering every flavor. In our family, my dad and I had the same favorite but my mother and brother liked different ones.
I also ordered a cup of vegetable cup ($3) to go. I took it to school. It was delicious. It had so many different kinds of vegetables in it. The broth was super flavorful.
When we first walked up to this restaurant, I wasn't sure we were in the right spot because the front of the building looked abandoned. But when my mom said it was the right place, I just went with it.
At first, I didn't realize that Coney and mac-n-cheese were pierogi fillings. Once I figured it out, I was excited to try them.
I was surprised at how dark and old looking the place was but the service and the food was great. I had two favorites: the macaroni and cheese and the red pepper and artichoke hearts. We all ordered seconds of our favorites.
I checked out the bathroom and there was graffiti all over the walls. Let's just say I'm glad I didn't have to go.
Still, I think if you are looking for a good pierogi, this is the place.