Every once in a while, it’s nice to see a local place start to hit their stride and become successful. In this case, I’m talking about Pierogi Me. While there’s a modest Polish population here (particularly in Claremont, NH), Polish food is mostly limited to the occasional special event (like Polish Night at The Old Courthouse), so I’m always on the lookout for opportunity to find some Polish sausages or pierogi.
So when I first heard about Pierogi Me, finding their product involved a bit of a hunt, since they made the pierogi in their own kitchen and primarily sold pierogi at several farmers markets, the Killdeer Farm Stand, and, most easily found, the freezer case at Dan and Whit’s General Store. Alas, about half of the times I went to try and get them, I’d find that the word had gotten out, and there wouldn’t be anything left. But then, an important change happened: they opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
In this case, I’m doubly excited because I think Pierogi Me has the potential to end a curse: the building they’ve moved into, in Quechee next to Fat Hat Clothing, has turned out to be one of those cursed locations, having had about half a dozen different restaurants located there during my time living in the Upper Valley (Maple Grove Bakery, Limerick Irish Eater, a hot dog place I don’t even remember the name of, and countless others). But I’ve got a good feeling about Pierogi Me, since they’ve got a decent business model: while they are expanding the business, the Quechee location is their workshop during the week, where they make the dough and filling and roll out the pierogi. But then the weekend rolls around (warning: their cafe is open Friday through Monday only!), the workshop turns into a dining area, and they turn retail, with a modest menu of pierogi, sausage, sauerkraut, and related foodstuffs. It’s a nice model (one that worked well for American Flatbread who still run that basic business approach), and I think it will work out well for them.
In this case, I’m doubly excited But enough of that… what’s the food like? As I said, the menu is basically pierogi. But they’ve got a great lineup of flavors: the classic potato and cheese and sauerkraut and mushroom to start with (indeed, they make the sauerkraut themselves, with several jars of the stuff bubbling away on a rack by the door). They’ve also got a few others, like sauerkraut and pork, ricotta and beet, and generally one or two weekly specials. They are served up mix-and-match in orders of 8 or 12 (get the 12, you won’t regret it), with a variety of toppings ranging from crispy fried onions and caramelized onions to sour cream and bacon.
How are they? These are great little pierogi: the dough is a pleasantly chewy dough cooked up just to the point of being slightly al-dente. This keeps them well-sealed, so the interiors are warm and moist, each being a little explosion of flavor as I pop each into my mouth. We ended up getting a mixed order of potato/cheese, sauerkraut/mushroom, and sauerkraut/pork, each being quite pleasant, especially with the house-made sauerkraut.
Even better? They’ve got dessert pierogi as well, in this case, plum pierogi served up with a delicious caramel sauce. I usually avoid desserts like this since they tend to be sugar bombs, but here neither the periogi nor the sauce were overly sweet, and as a result, this was a surprisingly pleasant and light dessert.
I’m happy that Pierogi Me has had some great success to date. I’m hoping this is just another chapter in their growth, and that they will continue to make some great pierogi available throughout the area.