There’s still more voting to do in the quest to find the Ultimate Pittsburgh Pierogi.
The championship round is open until 11 a.m. Friday, with tens of thousands of votes already cast in our bracket presented in partnership with KDKA-TV and the Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival, where we’ll announce the winner Sunday.
In the meantime, we talked with volunteer cooks from each championship contender to learn more about the pierogi making operations at Epiphany of Our Lord and St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church.
Here’s what you need to know. (And don’t forget to vote.)
Epiphany of Our Lord
44 Pennsylvania Blvd. (Monessen)
Pierogi filling: Potato and cheese. At the church’s August festival, attendees enjoyed a popular pierogi bar that included an array of toppings from butter and onions to salsa, nacho cheese and BBQ sauce.
How to get them: Offered just a few times a year, Epiphany sells pierogies at its festival, ahead of Thanksgiving and Christmas, and ahead of and during Lent. Keep an eye on the church’s website and bulletin for more details including price. Pierogi profits are included in festival and fish fry proceeds and go to church’s general fund.
Why they’re so popular: “You can taste the love in them,” said volunteer Evelyn Yatchyshyn, adding that every pierogi is handmade and no two are identical.
And then there are the pierogi ladies.
This year’s festival planning committee dreamed up the Epiphany pierogi ladies — a la the Pirates Pierogies. A member of the decorating committee made three costumes, and the pierogi ladies, including Yatchyshyn, went around Monessen to promote the festival, getting their teeth cleaned at the dentist, pumping gas for people, and checking out shoppers at the grocery store. “People were loving it… We had so much fun.”
The pierogi ladies plan to make an appearance at the Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival, too.
St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church
3455 California Ave. (Brighton Heights)
Pierogi fillings: Potato, sauerkraut, potato and sauerkraut, farmers cheese, jalapeno, loaded baked potato. At the church’s third annual pierogi fest on Nov. 3, you can also try plum or sauerkraut and mushroom
How to get them: Pierogies are available for pick-up from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. You call ahead to order (412-766-8800) or walk-in to the church hall facing Mexico Street. Pierogies are $7 a dozen for potato, sauerkraut and potato/sauerkraut. Others are $4 for a half dozen. Money from pierogi sales is used if there’s a shortfall for something specific such as repairs. Volunteer Olga Perkun said the current church was built using pierogi money.
Why they’re so popular: “We have the best dough around,” Perkun said, adding that people from other churches learned from St. George cooks. Pierogi making takes about four days each week by a team of 17 volunteers, who are mostly retirees. Perkun said it’s a tradition passed through generations. “Once you quit your day job, you make pierogies,” she said.
Find out who won the Ultimate Pittsburgh Pierogi Bracket during the Pittsburgh Pierogi Festival. The announcement will be about 4 p.m., following the 3 p.m. pierogi pinching contest on the main stage across from the carousel. Come early and stay after the announcement to enjoy the festival with pierogies from more than 20 vendors, as well as listen to live music, drink at the beer garden, shop the Pierogi Marketplace, and enjoy select rides.
Where: Kennywood Park at 4800 Kennywood Blvd. (West Mifflin)
When: September 23, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
How much: $12 for children; $24 for adults