“Pierogi? What’s that?” that’s what my Texan friends asked me, a girl from Indonesia to begin with. But I married the love of my life who’s from Pittsburgh, so Pierogi became something familiar to me for the past 14 years.
Pierogi is the Polish version of a dumpling. They consist of a delicate dough stuffed with potato filling, cheese, meat, onion, sauerkraut, and sometimes fruit. It is a popular Eastern European food but its origin is hard to trace because people in Poland, Russia, Czechs, Ukraine, Belarus, Slovak, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Ruthenia are all enjoy Pierogi although under a different name. But I would just say it’s a classic Polish dish.
Although I saw Pierogi every Christmas either at my sister-in-law’s Christmas table or at the restaurants around Pittsburgh, I haven’t built a good relationship with Pierogi until summer last year. Why that long? I would say because at Christmas plenty of foods on the table and by the time I tried Pierogi, I was close to full. So, I only gave it a bite and didn’t get to enjoy it at all.
But summer last year, everything’s change. When we went home to celebrate my father-in-law’s 90th birthday, we went to my favorite area in Pittsburgh, the Strip District. I read somewhere about this Polish deli called S&D that serve one of the best Pierogi in town, in the Strip area. I told my husband about it and he agreed to give it a try.
Pierogi at S&D Polish Deli
As usual, we drove from one end to the other end of the Strip, looking around while finding a spot to park. We found S&D Polish Deli at the end towards the Polish Hill and honestly, I wasn’t sure whether they would serve one of the best Pierogi in town when I saw the front of the deli.
Inside, the deli looks just like your neighborhood deli. Nothing fancy. Glass displays on the left side full of all kind of smoked kielbasy and sausages, cheeses, ham, frozen Pierogi, and some other things. Several tables and chairs on the right side, followed by sweets, jar of pickles, jams, t-shits, CD, and kinds of packed food imported mostly from Poland at the back. The deli is small, around 15×35 feet.
After looking at the Pierogi menu with different kind of fillings, I let my husband placed the order while I found the table for us. I didn’t know that they put fruit fillings, too. Potato and cheddar cheese filling was the only one I know. Hah!
I noticed there weren’t too many customers. Probably because it’s not even 11a.m. and it’s summer time. People had a long bracket of summer holiday from end of May to early September.
When our ordered arrived, my husband took the first bite. I saw his face but it didn’t say anything. So, I asked what flavor he ordered. I still remember his answer that day while taking another bite, “heaven!”
Immediately I dug in, and ah… it’s so delicious. Just the regular one, potato & cheddar filling, but it tasted so good. I never had one like that before. We smiled until we cleaned the plate. Two happy tummies left S&D Polish Deli that day.
Pierogi again in December
When we went home for Christmas, we made a drive to the Strip District and stopped at S&D Polish Deli again. This time we arrived slightly before noon and it was like a zoo! I was pretty sure they were all Pittsburgher from out-of-town who were craving for Pierogi.
We ordered a couple of different things that day. My husband ordered a Kielbasy Plater with 3 Pierogi, haluszki, and a kielbasy in the plate while I ordered Flaczki, a hearty soup brimming with everything from tribe to beef brisket to chicken gizzards – after seeing the video of Andrew Zimmern, the Bizarre Food Guy, stopped at S&D Polish and had flaczki.
Flaczki tasted wonderful with its thick broth. Surely, it’s best for cold weather. Not too many people tried this, but I tell you, you can’t really see the tribe because they chopped it thinly. Not like tribe soup in Indonesia. It’s chunky. We used to call it towel over there, because it looks like a towel.
The Pierogi still tasted so good, the kielbasy was amazing, but they could add more cabbage to the haluszki.
All in all, we like the Pierogi at S&D Polish Deli. We don’t mind going back again, but we’re also open for new places. Have you been to S&D Polish Deli? Which Pierogi do you like best?
What to know before you go:
– Summer time is less crowded.
– If you go during Christmas break, arrive as early as you can. The place got crowded fast.
– S&D Polish Deli opened in 2008.
Address: 2204 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Note: I didn’t get paid to write about Pierogi in S&D Polish Deli. It’s just my opinion based on our experiences.