Saturday had been a long day in Pittsburgh for us, and Sunday was gearing up to be just as busy. This is the good kind of busy though, since we were soaking in the sun and exploring the city.
After getting coffee in Lawrenceville, we drove to the strip to park our cars. The Strip District is a line of old warehouses converted to shops, grocers, markets, restaurants, and bars. You will also find street venders that primarily sell produce and t-shirts. We were here on Sunday at around 11:00 when the Steelers were playing at home at 1:00. The streets were lined with people in full Steelers gear from head to toe. I had forgotten what game day looks like in a sports city, since DC does not rally that hard for their sports teams.
We decided to take a walk down to the Andy Warhol museum, which was about a 40 minute walk. I was nervous after my experience walking to the car last night, but this was didn’t feel as bad. I don’t know if it is because I loosened my body with the last walk or if it is because I hadn’t just eaten a ton of food, but I felt really good on this walk. My body felt more agile, and I was actually able to move more quickly without back pain. The heat of the day still got me a bit though, so I still looked like a sweaty mess.
We spent some time at the Warhol museum, where I actually ran into an old friend from my high school theater days. It was nice catching up and seeing what he has been up to with his life. I think we were both just shocked to have seen someone we know at this museum.
I found the museum to be rather interesting. Andy Warhol’s life and career is rather fascinating. My favorite exhibit was the Ladies and Gentleman, which is a series of portraits of drag queens and trans women of color in the 1970s. Andy Warhol protected the identities of these individuals, but the Andy Warhol Foundation has now successfully identified all of those in these photos, including trans activist Marsha P. Johnson.
I also loved the tribute to Heinz ketchup. As a good Western PA girl, I will not eat ketchup that isn’t Heinz. It just isn’t right (and doesn’t taste as good). I was a bit obsessed with ketchup growing up. I was known as “ketchup girl,” “ketchup queen,” and “the dipper.” I enjoy ketchup on more things than I can name. I have gotten many grossed out looks from people disturbed by what I was putting ketchup on. As I have gotten older, my love of ketchup has not subsided, but I have practiced self-control in using absurd amounts of ketchup in public.
Part of the reason we had planned to go to the Warhol museum was because it was very close to where we planned to have lunch. I told my friends that we were not getting out of this weekend without going to the new Pierogi bar. Open for just a year now, Stuff’d Pierogi Bar markets itself as “Pittsburgh’s only restaurant & bar dedicated to to the pierogi.”
Pittsburgh is known for amazing pierogi due to the Polish population that settled here. I am always shocked when I am in DC or elsewhere and I meet someone who has either never had a pierogi or never even heard of them. In fact, one member of our group, Will, had never had a pierogi before. I don’t blame him so much, since he is from the south. However, he is actually about to move to Pittsburgh, so we needed to introduce him to the food of his new home.
I absolutely adore pierogi. They are on of my favorite comfort foods. So, when I realized there was now a pierogi bar in Pittsburgh, I just had to go. Every time someone mentions plans for this trip, I slipped in my pierogi bar comment. Not that anyone was protesting, but I did get what I wanted.
The menu is filled with a large variety of pierogi, from traditional to gourmet to funky fillings. You get six pierogi per order. You then choose between boiled, pan fried, or deep fried. I personally feel that pan fried pierogi are the best. We had seven people at lunch, and ended up with six different pierogi fillings. Six of the pierogi were done and served, but ironically, they forgot to make mine, so they didn’t come until after we had demolished most of the other pierogi. Since we did want to share and try each others, I did get my good fill of pierogi while waiting. My friends were kind enough to feed this hangry girl.
Chris and Torsten both chose the potato and sauerkraut pierogi, one of the traditional fillings. It is topped with caramelized onions and more sauerkraut. I don’t really like sauerkraut, but perhaps it is growing on me, as I did like this.
I ordered the potato and cheese, another traditional filling (and my all-time favorite). They were topped with caramelized onions and served with sour cream. Even though I had to wait for these to come, it was worth the wait. They filling was delicious, and I could have eaten those caramelized onions on their own.
Andrew order the peach pulled pork pierogi. His pierogi were stuffed with pulled pork and then topped with more pulled pork and peach BBQ sauce. They were also served with a side of cole slaw. It was a BBQ feast inside a pierogi.
Will got the Rueben pierogi. This pierogi was stuffed with corn beef and sauerkraut and topped with more sauerkraut, melted swiss, and drizzled with Stuff’d sauce. It was also served with marbled rye bread.
Anthony got the chicken parmesan pierogi, because he loves me and knew I wanted to try both that and that potato and cheese. I was sitting beside him and probably ate half of his dish while I was waiting for mine. This pierogi was stuffed with shredded chicken and parmesan cheese, topped with more shredded chicken, parmesan, melted mozzarella, and of course marinara sauce. This one was out of this world. I just could not stop eating it. It combined two of my favorite foods in a delicious plate.
MJ ordered one of the seasonal specials. I am not sure about everything in it, but there was definitely butternut squash, spinach, and some kind of cheese and topped with spinach, zucchini, yellow squash, and more cheese. I think many of us agreed that this was the best pierogi on the table. I also could have eaten a whole plate of these.
Every pierogi I tried was delicious. This place was everything I wanted and so much more. It blew away my expectations. I really wish we had something like this in DC. I guess I have another good excuse to visit Pittsburgh again. I certainly hope that this restaurant does well and sticks around. Even though you can get pierogi at a million places in Pittsburgh, they really don’t have something like this with all the funs spins on the traditional Polish dish. I could go back 100 times and will probably still be blown away. Just don’t expect to easily walk out of this place after eating a plate of hearty pierogi.
(Edit: I forgot to mention originally that the restaurant did take my pierogi off the bill since they forgot to make them. That was greatly appreciated).