Celebrity chef, Bobby Flay from the Food Network popped into the "Steel City," and now he knows what Pittsburgher's have always known, that Pittsburgh is famous for some of the best eats on the planet. Not surprising, the " Steel City" recently made the "Top Ten Foodie List." Once home, Bobby featured Pittsburgh's own, Pierogies Plus, who prepares the authentic egg dough stuffed savory treats on his popular show, FoodNation, where millions of viewers learned what good eastern European food is really about.
A Serious Pittsburgh Tradition
There is no doubt about it that Pittsburgh has been made famous for a multitude of things and food is no exception to this well known fact. To sample everything that Pittsburgh has to offer in the way of food would take a person months due to the vast selection of homemade and homegrown foods to the ethnic and traditional favorites that have been handed down from generations of families that understand what great food consists of. Authentic food is one of those things that we simply must have once in awhile to supply our inner need for the things that comfort us, and pierogi’s made from scratch fills this particular human requirement in most cases.
The simplicity of flour, eggs, onions and butter surrounding a filling of creamy potatoes or cheese speaks to our sense of taste and well being. They are a delicious treat, side dish or whole meal in itself, and they are a traditional food of the Pittsburgh region. Pittsburgher’s love their pierogie’s so much so that studies show that these little packages of heaven are eaten eleven times more in Pittsburgh than anywhere else in the United States. Even Pittsburgh’s own Pirate’s baseball team holds a pierogie race during the bottom of the 5th inning at every Pirates home game.
Julia Balik was born in Poland in 1922. Julia joined her daughter Helen Mannarino here in Pittsburgh and became the strong pillar on which Pierogies Plus was built. For over twenty years she devoted herself to the support and success of the business, working long hours alongside Helen, who completely knows all about the taste of Pittsburgh, and she definitely understands that includes pierogies. In fact she has made them a part of her life since helping her mother out in their kitchen in Poland. Luckily for us Helen moved to Pittsburgh in 1974 and fell in love with the region. Missing her own food she took to cooking her Polish favorites which included pierogies. Her friends and neighbors were so impressed by her cooking skills that they started requesting them from her with constant orders.
In 1991 Helen opened up Pierogies Plus in answer to the strong demand for them. It wasn’t long after this that Bobby Flay caught wind of her heavenly creations and featured Pierogies Plus on both Food Finds and FoodNation. The world now knew of Pittsburgh’s best kept secret and they wanted to try them out. The request for these potato and cheese filled flour pockets have come from as far as Hawaii and Alaska. Californians have been known to request overnight shipment of the traditional pierogies from the south west part of Pennsylvania from the one and only woman that makes traditional eastern European food for the Gods.
The store offers the traditional potato stuffed pierogie, but the choices do not end there. Hot sausage, cottage cheese & chives, ground beef, and potato & sauerkraut pierogies are also included on the menu. A few other delectable treats include stuffed cabbage, haluski, sampler platters, deli salads and homemade breads that can be purchased online or you can walk-in and pick them up to go.
Pittsburgh's restaurant scene is booming, bringing along innovative cuisine to complement some of the city's mainstays. Pierogies Plus, located in a revamped gas station in McKees Rocks, is a local favorite.