|Frank Gazella (left) and Andrew Misak prepare a batch of pierogis. |
Kansas City is once again ready to be at the forefront of the culinary universe. Construction is underway on the city's first pierogi cafe. That's right -- a pierogi cafe with dessert and sauteed versions of the traditional Polish dumplings typically filled with potatoes and cheese.Pieroguys
-- a pierogi baking service that began in Lawrence in 2007 -- is set to open its first brick-and-mortar store (in the vacant spot between City Market Coffee House and Habashi House) on March 1.
"It's a totally new concept, something I want to perfect in the City Market. It'll be a place where you can pop up your laptop and have a plate of pierogis," says co-founder Frank Gazella, who launched the company with fellow KU student Andrew Misak.
Although he's considering the possibility of franchising the concept, right now Gazella is focusing on growing the business, which just landed a contract to supply the dining halls at the University of Kansas -- where Pieroguys got its start.
Gazella, originally from Carbondale, Pennsylvania, had transferred to KU and was amazed to learn that pierogies were relatively unknown in Lawrence. An informal conversation in the dorm became an advertisement in the Lawrence Journal-World
, with Gazella designing the recipes that are still used today.
"When we made our first sale, I had a really good feeling about Pieroguys. It hasn't stopped since," says Gazella.
They moved their operation to Kansas City in April 2009.
"I want to bring something interesting and good to the area. I love the Midwest and I know Kansas City is where I wanted to start this," says Gazella.
Pierogies are $7.99 for a dozen or $4.99 for a half-dozen and come in eight flavors that include the best-selling potato and cheddar (with or without jalapeno) and breakfast pierogies like the scrambled egg, peppered bacon, potato and cheddar.
Before the store opens, you can buy their pierogies on the company's Web site and at two area supermarkets -- McGonigle's and the Green Acres Market in Briarcliff Village. Their pierogies also show up on menus around town, such as at the Phoenix Jazz House, the Velvet Dog, Torres Pizzeria, The Dark Horse Tavern and the Firefly Lounge, and Johnny's Tavern in Overland Park.
Gazella thinks that pierogies could be the next big bar food.
"It's time for something new, not just nachos or mozzarella sticks. Pierogis are something everybody is going to want," says Gazella.
You can order frozen pierogis to pick up at the City Market space if you call ahead at 816-252-1575. Follow the Pieroguys on Facebook and Twitter.
[Image courtesy of Pieroguys]