Zofia’s Kitchen’s everything bagel pierogi are stuffed with cream cheese, scallion, and everything seasoning. Photograph courtesy Zofia’s Kitchen.
Chef Ed Hardy was playing a lot of video games and felt in need of a challenge after Cookology Culinary School in Arlington, where he was an instructor, shut down at the start of the pandemic. So when his friend Nate Reynolds, a Chicago native who works in telecom, asked if he could make pierogi for a socially distanced barbecue, Hardy went all out. Flaunting tradition, he stuffed his pierogi with creative fillings like loaded mashed potatoes with “an unreasonable amount of bacon” or a Chicago dog with all the fixings.
They were such a hit that Hardy and Reynolds, who became friends through the Northern Virginia Foodies Facebook group, decided they should sell them. They’ve since launched Zofia’s Kitchen, a ghost kitchen operating out of Cookology that specializes in twists on the Polish dumpling alongside deli fare.
“We can go for Ethiopian here. We can go for kabobs. We don’t really know a good spot where we can get pierogies,” explains Hardy, who shut down his food truck Bacon N Ed’s last year. They chose the name Zofia’s Kitchen because it “sounded exactly like a Polish grandmother who would be making pierogies,” Hardy says. While Reynolds did have a Polish grandmother, her name wasn’t Zofia.
The loaded mashed potato pierogi are already on the menu, and the Chicago dog version will be live next week. Slightly more traditional-leaning options include sauerkraut-and-brat pierogi or mushroom-and-herb pierogi with a choice of beef stroganoff sauce or mustard cream. And then there are the “dangerously experimental” pierogi flavors like everything bagel (cream cheese, scallion, everything seasoning) or crab rangoon (Maryland blue crab, cream cheese, scallions, Old Bay).