Pierogie Night Founders Debut Apteka in PGH

Published On March 7, 2016 | By Leah Kennedy | Food & Drink

apteka_1If you’re from the ‘Burgh, chances are you’ve eaten more than a few Pierogies in your lifetime…

The cheesy potato dumplings hold a place in the hearts of residents near and far; and the dish has unquestionably become a cultural attribute within our city’s food scene.

In 2010, our apparent love for these buttery little semi-circles brought about a creative way to highlight PGH’s resonance to food and tradition.


Photo by Jennifer Baron

Thanks to hometowners Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski, Pierogie Night made its way onto the scene with fresh concepts and rare vegan takes on the ever-popular Pittsburgh dish.

Once a month, the pop-up “restaurant” appears in various locations citywide, where hundreds of Pierogie lovers show up to chow down.

With the influx of veg-friendly establishments popping up in recent years, Pierogie Night’s following only continued to expand; so Lasky and Skowronski decided it was time to take it one step further…

After much planning, research, and a successful Kickstarter campaign, they began to take hold of a permanent place they could finally call their own.

apteka_bourbonpickledprunesageTheir new dining spot–dubbed Apteka–is now officially open for business. Nestled between the Bloomfield and Lawrenceville neighborhoods, the quaint new establishment features a chill hangout vibe with a bountiful selection of Eastern European cuisines.

“We baby-bottom-soft opened on February 20 … We still have been cruising on a sort of soft opening wave [while] working on bringing in the full bar and dinner menu,” Skowronski shared with us recently. “We’ve been working at this for a while so in spite of keeping a low profile while we figure out the setup and get settled, we’ve been getting a really lovely–and pretty damn positive–response from people coming in.”

Owners hope to embrace the spirit of their current project and all things veggie, in addition to creating a permanent home base for their loyal following.

Apteka’s all-vegan menu will also expand a bit further on the owners’ original Pierogie recipes, and they’ll take on a sustainable, plant-based approach with their new cuisine concepts. Skowronski additionally shared a few of their hot new menu dishes:

“Right now, we’re serving up a mixed plate of smoked potato, roast parsnip and turnip greens; and a sauerkraut and mushroom [dish] with roast beets and a creamy Czech mustard. Otherwise, the ‘kanapki’ or tartines–three little tea sandwiches, each with a different pate, pickle, etc.–are pretty loved.”

apteka menuOther menu items are pictured right, and Apteka will additionally offer up a wide selection of refreshing, made-from-scratch cocktails. So far, a few crowd favorites include the black currant, the birch sap cocktail, and the bourbon blended with pickled prune and sage.

Guests can expect even more healthy tastes on the horizon as the crew gears up to put a fermentation program in place at the new restaurant.

The process serves to create more nutritional food sources by converting carbs into alcohols, carbon dioxide and organic acids, using bacteria and/or yeast to create “good bacteria.” Fermented foods are even said to strengthen the immune system in addition to providing a boost of probiotics and nutritional value.

“Within the next few weeks, we’ll be starting [fermentation] after we get an extra approval from the health department. As a restaurant generally focusing on foods from Central and Eastern Europe, fermented foods are a part of the fundamentals. We’ll be making bread kvass, sauerkraut, and other pickles to build stronger dishes; and we’ll be incorporating fermented foods across most of our [other] dishes, including sandwiches, salads, soups/stews, etc.”

Apteka’s current dining hours are Wednesday-Sunday, 5PM-1AM (21+ after 10PM).

Be sure to stop in for a fresh meal and tasty beverages among new friends and familiar faces; plus, stay up with what owners have in store for the new East End establishment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *