Since being in Chicago, I’ve learnt a hell of a lot – for instance, did you know it has a huge Eastern European community, with Polish being one of the larger? In fact, apparently, Polish is the 3rd most spoken language in the city… So when @jeremyjayyap suggested that I check out Pierogi Street I got quite excited.
Pierogi are little Polish dumplings, very traditional and popular with Polish families. From what I know, they are typically stuffed with pork and cabbage, but can house all manner of fillings, including some sweet options.
I haven’t tasted a pierogi for about 8 years! When I worked in a hotel in Ireland as part of a university placement, the kitchen had an apprenticeship scheme with a catering school in Gdansk, Poland. As a result there were loads of great Polish chefs and once a week the staff meal for the hotel was Polish themed. The pierogi were always a popular choice, although a pain for the kitchen team to make enough for a hundred people as they’re quite fiddly!
So, off I went to get a taste of Pierogi Street… A modern take on the classic. Skip forward 24 hrs (they don’t open Monday’s so I had to return the next day) and I was warmly welcomed by Damien who owns and runs the place with his wife.
The place began as a food truck in 2013, funded through a kick-starter and has slowly grown over the last couple of years to have a supporting restaurant and they have a second truck on the way as well. I’m not surprised it’s popular as they taste great, are quick, perfect for lunch and very affordable.
I started with a Polish rose water soda and a chat to Damien about how it all got started. We chatted whilst I waited for your order suggestions to come flooding in.
The response was overwhelming… so I just did what @spiritave said and got one of each! The majority of the fillings were vegetarian and then served with sides of sauerkraut, spiced onions, sour cream, bacon bits and mustard. I also ordered a Polish sausage and the pickles as an extra… because… well, why not!
Like the traditional size they are about 2 mouthfuls each. An improvement on the original though, (in my opinion) Damien likes to fry them in a little butter on a flattop grill once they have been boiled. It gives them a golden colour and added texture on the outside before you bite into the soft fillings. I guess in that sense they are little more like potstickers.
Each filling was delicious, although my personal favourites were the mushroom (also Damien’s favourite) and the spinach and cheese. The sausage was well spiced, the onions soft, sweet and pretty strong on pepper and the wholegrain mustard and sour cream… which I liked to mix together… added moisture, even though it wasn’t needed since the fillings were fairly wet. The sharpness of the pickles really help too… don’t miss out on those!
They also do sweet pierogi at the weekends… which sounds like a good excuse to return! It was spot on for lunch… 5 pierogi and sides was the ideal portion size.
Hats off to Damien and his team… great food, in a cool location that also feeds the food truck, which I hear is much busier. They can serve up to 500-600 people a day from the food truck and when you imagine that most orders are 4 or 6 pierogi, that’s a lot of tasty hand-made dumplings!