Since the fall of 2010, Tomasz Skowronski has been making and serving Pittsburghers pierogies at bars, art galleries and various other locations in the East End.
The roughly monthly or so events have evolved into a regular series of pop-up, vegan feeds called "Pierogi Night," the next of which is from 6 to 9 p.m. this Saturday, June 29, at what's become its regular spot at the Stephen Foster Community Center in Lawrenceville.
That's the neighborhood whre Mr. Skowronski lives with his girlfriend, Kate Lasky, a fellow Pittsburgher who's been helping him with the dinners since the spring of 2011.
The theme is always pierogies vs. some other food. This weekend, it's Pierogies vs. Pizza.
For $10, you get both on a buffet, or you can takeout five pierogies and two slices of 'za (three kinds, fresh from the oven). A buck more and you can try one of the couple's fresh juices.
The couple publicize the events on social media. I had a great email conversation with Mr. Skowronski, in which he laid out the history of the event, and told me about how they eventually want to open a permanent restaurant -- "hopefully soon."
She just this spring finished her master's degree in international development at the University of Pittsburgh, so she's "taking a breather," he said; he's working as a bartender while they scout for a location, also somewhere in the East End.
They work hard at "Pierogi Nights," when they can feed more than 200 people two different types of pierogies. "A few favorites are: sauteed kale/potato/onion; roasted butternut squash/corn/dill/poblano; 'Warsaw gutter' -- vinegar-blanched then fried cabbage/tomato/onion; roasted parsnip/carrot/celery," he emails, "and we've had everything from falafel wraps, banh mis, burgers, Korean bbq, tacos, ... lasagna, soup, pies, pad thai ... [We]'re always trying to be true to the food, while keeping the interest of the people who come with interesting ingredients/new fillings/etc."
They get a lot of help from friends, from cooking to cleaning up, but still, "it's a huge task to serve all-you-can-eat to such a large crowd. But we've had a surprising amount of dedicated support -- people who come out every time, sometimes out of state, and spread the word to their family and friends."
If you want to join them, Saturday could be the night.
We're going to try to, and plan to talk some more with them about their plans for an Eastern European restaurant/bar.
Pierogi Night artwork over an illustration by Bohdan Butenko in Mr. Kowronski's Polish baby book, "'Na Straganie," or "At the Market"