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Easter shopping: Pierogi reconnaissance

Because we have made pierogi, we have license to advise: If you can find good pierogi, buy them.

Trust us. Unless you can convince at least two willing victims to spend the day toiling away in the kitchen, purchasing pierogi is not a sin. It’s money well spent. (Watch the fruits of your labor disappear at the dinner table at an alarming rate and you’ll understand our plight.)

And don’t feel guilty. We feel confident our Polish grandmothers would approve. After all, we’ve done our time rolling, filling and pinching.

With Easter on the way, we thought we’d do a little pierogi reconnaissance. Note, this is not a taste review, just where you can buy them for your Easter feast. Pierogi are a touchy subject. Far be it from us to critique like our Polish grandmothers (too-thick-too thin-not enough-filling-too much-too-big-too-small-fall-apart-not as good as mine).

In speaking with the darling Paula Kurasiewicz of the Broadway Market’s Paula’s Pierogi, we both noted our Polish families never ate pierogi for Easter. (Probably because the barely-recovered Christmas pierogi makers would have rebelled.)

Paula Kurasiewicz has been busy making pierogi for Easter. Her stand is at the Broadway Market.

Kurasiewicz, who is originally from Niagara Falls but lives in Rochester, entered the pierogi trade late in life after working over 40 years for Hospice. When we say “trade” we mean it in the Old World sense. Before starting her own business, Kurasiewicz would find herself paying for services with cookie trays or pierogi.

“People always loved my cookies and pierogi. My car repair guy, even my lawyer, would ask me to make me pierogi or trays of cookies instead,” said Kurasiewicz.

Her son convinced her to go into business for herself when she “retired.”

“I decided on pierogi because there are so many bakeries already,” she said. (Who needs a Wharton MBA with a business sense like Paula’s?)

Kurasiewicz’s skills were honed at a young age.

“My mother would make me and my sister help with pierogi. I loved cheese and potato. I hated sauerkraut. My sister loved sauerkraut and hated cheese potato. My mother would make us fill what we hated so we wouldn’t eat the filling,” she laughed.

“Before my mother died, she had me promise to pass along the recipes and traditions,” said Kurasiewicz. Today her entire family helps with her business in one way or another.

Kurasiewicz’s stand at the Broadway Market is across from the famous, Famous Horse-Radish stand.

Look for the Famous Horse-radish sign and you'll find Paula and her pierogi.

Her stand was moved to be near a corner along the wall, because in the past, the line would jam up traffic during Easter. Now the line wraps into the nearby hallway, where shoppers can contemplate what to get from her many choices.

Paula’s Pierogi will be manned for the Easter season. If you visit in the offseason, there will be a person at the stand on Saturdays, otherwise ask for help at the White Eagle Bakery (895-3949). Kurasiewicz says, “They have the keys to my freezers.”

Paula Kurasiewicz pierogi are sold frozen. She sells over 16 different kinds.

Here are places at the Broadway Market to get pierogi:
• Babcia’s Pierogi Company has two stands, including one that serves cooked pierogi and other Polish items: 436-3894.
Chrusciki Bakery, 893-1464
Keeping Traditions, 698-2280
• Pierogi by Paula, (585) 944-4189
Potts Deli & Grille Restaurant at the market also sells frozen pierogi

We noticed that Camellia’s and Lupas sell pierogi, but we think they might be the mass produced kind (no judgment).

Broadway Market Easter hours: April 3-8, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 9, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; April 10-12, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; April 13-14, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.; April 15, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Can’t make it to the Broadway Market? Here are other places to buy pierogi:

  • Babcia’s Pierogi are sold at all four Dash’s locations and at the Broadway Deli in Lancaster. See all locations in Western New York on the website.
  • Chrusciki Bakery also sells frozen pierogi at its Lancaster location, 80 West Drullard Ave., 681-9866, and Chrusciki Caffe, 100 College Pkwy., Williamsville, 444-9999
  • K Sisters, 2116 Clinton St., 827-4077
  • Potts Deli & Grille, 41 S. Rossler, Cheektowaga, 826-6575
  • Redlinski Meats, 1585 Walden Ave., Cheektowaga, 892-5355, sells Chrusciki and Keeping Traditions pierogi.

We like the idea of church pierogi too:

St. John Kanty, 101 Swinburne St., 893-0412, sells pierogi and placeks, Saturday 3 to 5 p.m., Sunday 9:30 a.m. to noon, through April 9.

Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church, 200 Como Park Blvd., Cheektowaga, 684-0738, sells pierogi Wednesdays 2 to 6 p.m., Sundays 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

St. Nicholas Ukrainian Church sells pierogi and serves lunch too at its Friday kitchen, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The church is located at 308 Fillmore Ave., 852-1908

St. Mary’s Church, 940 Losson Road, Cheektowaga, has pierogi sales from January through April. While its too late for Easter, you can still get an order in for April 29 pick up, deadline is April 23. Call a “St. Mary’s sales person” at 926-9066 or Fr. Tom at 662-6915.

Last but not least, we learned there is to be a first-ever Buffalo Pierogi Fest, by Step Out Buffalo, on May 21, at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor to benefit Compeer. Details so far at buffalopierogifest.com.

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