Taco Pierogis: How They Came to Be and Where You Can Find Them

By: Karen Dybis | September 23, 2020
Pierogi Taco

Photo Courtesy of Pietrzyk Pierogi.

In the cooking world, blending two food-focused ethnicities in one dish is known as a fusion – some example might include an enchilada meatball bake or Greek quesadillas. Perhaps they don’t make sense on paper, but they work well on the palate. 

Erica Pietrzyk is the kind of chef that thinks about fusion a lot. She is an ingredient-driven maker, blending what she intrinsically knows will be delicious with what she believes her audience will enjoy. That is where she created her version of the Taco Pierogi.

Hold up. Yes, that’s an odd combination that may take fusion dishes to a strange level. But Pietrzyk’s Taco Pierogis are tried, true and honest to her flavors, so they are worth driving to try and definitely worth talking about on all of your social platforms. 

In fact, that’s where Pietrzyk got started with this mixed-up creation. Friends and fans tagged her socials when another Los Angeles-based chef started making a mix of taco ingredients with the classic pierogi spirit. Pietrzyk looked over the idea, came up with her own thoughts on it and delivered her best version to those who follow her company. 

That company is Pietrzyk Pierogi, born in Hamtramck but raised in Detroit and quickly becoming a must-try location both in her regular shop, grocery stores that carry her brand as well as the catering and pop-up business she does around Metro Detroit. Her slogan – “Make Pierogi. Eat Love.” – tells you everything you need to know about her business.

That first part, “Make Pierogi,” is what she does best. Pietrzyk has food experience that resulted in her making pierogi for friends, including one ingenious idea woman named Becky. She encouraged Pietrzyk to put other things than traditional stuffing into her pierogi dough, such as the same spicy mixes that come in a jalapeno popper. The result, now named after that friend, is “The Becky” pierogi, which includes jalapeno peppers, cream and cheddar cheese.

 Pietrzyk calls what she makes Polish Street Food, and she makes it with love. That’s the second part of her slogan. She believes in sourcing her ingredients locally. She makes everything from scratch. She hires right. She gives bonuses when she can to her employees, even during the coronavirus pandemic. That’s love, and she expressed much of what she has through her food and her business. 

“A lot of the culinary world is focused on what everyone learns at culinary school. But there are things that your grandparents did that are niche to where they grew up,” Pietrzyk said. 

She’s become locally famous for her interesting ingredient combinations. For example, one of her newest flavors is “The Sports Bar,” which is filled with marinated buffalo chicken, buttermilk ranch, cheddar cheese and potatoes. 

Another favorite is the Pizza-rogi, which is filled with pepperoni, bacon, banana peppers, mozzarella, parmesan and pizza sauce. Then there’s the “The Holy Gouda Pierogi,” made with Smoked Gouda, Potato, Chives, Bacon, and Seasoning.

If you’re really Polish and want to have some comfort-food flavors in your dough, then a must-have treat is “The Really Dilly,” featuring everything people love about her Dill Pickle Soup all wrapped up in a pierogi.

One more? Try the “Spin Me Right” pierogi with potatoes, spinach, artichoke, mozzarella, cream cheese and spices. 

Trendy? Maybe. True to her belief that food should honor where it comes from and who makes it. She has worked in Hamtramck, Detroit is her home base for her business and she’s Polish and proud. So Pietrzyk wants everyone to know she’s a Pierogi Queen and not afraid to show it. 

“When I first started, I made my grandma’s tradition pierogi,” Pietrzyk said. “But I got bored making the same thing every week.”

Today, she can make more than 100 varieties of that doughy deliciousness. That now-famous Taco Pierogi? It has sauerkraut, smoked kielbasa and sour cream plus a nice dose of cilantro and sliced jalapeno. 

She also creates dessert pierogis – a dozen in all. You’ll want to ask about the cheesecake ones. And she is making seasonal pierogis this year, such as butternut squash and apple-pie filling in what she is calling the Apple Annie. Plus, this Thanksgiving, you’ll want to pick up at least a few dozen of her holiday flavor featuring cranberries, sour cream and turkey gravy among its ingredients. 

Yes, you can still get potato, cheese and sauerkraut. But you’ll want to buck tradition a bit when you take a bit of what’s new and different. Detroit, after all, is a blending of pretty much every ethnicity across the globe in one international city. Eating what the world has to offer is part of the fun of living here. And Pietrzyk will honor it and Polish heritage as long as customers let her do so.