What: Pirosky’s second pop-up Pirosky in Berkeley
Or: The Rare Barrel 940 Parker (between Ninth and Eighth Streets), Berkeley
When: May 2 from 4-6 p.m., orders must be placed online by 3:30 p.m. on April 25. There is a $50 minimum for any order.
Update of April 29, 2022: Piroshky Piroshky owner Olga Sagan told Nosh that during their first visit to Berkeley this week, a bug on their website meant “about 40 people” placed orders that her team never received. and had left the popup empty-handed. As a result, “we’re coming back for a second date to correct our mistake,” she said.
For this second pop-up on Monday, May 2, pre-orders must be placed on the Piroshky Piroshky website by 3 p.m. on April 30. If you do not receive a confirmation email when you place your order, Sagan asks that you call 206-764-1000 or email him at [email protected]
Original article by Nosh on Piroshky Piroshky, published on April 19:
There’s a lot to be said for a chef who focuses exclusively on one dish. In addition to perfecting the dish – as Olga Sagan does for the humble piroshki, a meat pie in her hand, at cult bakery Piroshky Piroshky – they are able to deconstruct, manipulate and reconfigure it into something. something that goes beyond its humble beginnings. But don’t take my word for it: Sagan will bring her pies a la mode, which have become cult over the years, in Berkeley on April 27, for a single night at the Rare Barrel tavern.
The Eastern European-born piroshki originated as a simple hand pie, using a sweet or savory filling (usually leftovers), wrapped in a pocket of bread dough or leavened pastry, baked and served in all its flaky glory. Piroshky Seattle-based Piroshsky was founded by Sagan’s parents, Estonian immigrants Vladimir and Zina Kotelnikov, in 1992. After years in other industries, such as human resources and accounting, the pastry shop proved to be Sagan’s ultimate passion. She joined the bakery in 2001 and became its sole owner in 2017, redefining these Russian pastries along the way.
Under Sagan’s watch, Piroshky Piroshsky’s pies have evolved to suit contemporary palates, with offerings like meatball marinara, chocolate hazelnut cream sprinkled with chopped hazelnuts in the batter, salmon pâté and beef and cheddar. The bakery offers more traditional toppings like potato and mushrooms to satisfy the taste buds of purists.
As for how Piroshky Piroshhky was inspired to move from conventional piroshkis to postmodern pies, Sagan says it was a bit of a balancing act. “It started by taking traditional recipes and adding American Northwest and Pacific Rim cuisines,” she said. “But the main thing was to keep it different while being familiar at the same time, because if it’s too different it’s hard to fit in; you have to find common ground.
Noting that the market was tougher 20 years ago, long before Food Network’s barrage of competitive cooking, Bon Appetit’s test kitchen ratpack and crowded field of celebrity chefs, Sagan says it was initially tough to get people to warm up with her so unusual piroshkis. But decades later, Piroshky Piroshky has lines rolling out the door, filled with customers eager to put their paws on Russian pastries (Sagan notes that a pie is a complete meal unto itself) that use seasons and, when this is allowed, holiday- thematic ingredients.
Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, the bakery has also earned its fair share of acclaim, including praise from dedicated foodie Anthony Bourdain, who, on a 2007 visit for his TV series, No reservations, gruff, “If these guys were down the street from me, I’d go on a bender – like, I’d eat it almost every day for a month, then OD” In 2013, Smithsonian Magazine anointed Piroshky Piroshky as the one of the top 20 “iconic” dining destinations across America. Not too shabby for a joint that got its start in a stand at Pike Place Market, where it can still be found today.
On Wednesday, April 27, Piroshky Piroshky will make a pit stop at Rare Barrel in Berkeley as part of their Bay Area tour, with additional stops in Redwood City (April 29) and South San Francisco (April 28). However, customers cannot just turn up willy-nilly and expect to buy the popular pies without a reservation; orders must be placed in advance and are due by 3:30 p.m. April 25 for pickup April 27 from 4-6 p.m. at Rare Barrel, 940 Parker (between Ninth and Eighth Streets), Berkeley. A minimum order of $50 is required. The pop-up menu will include the aforementioned meatball marinara and chocolate hazelnut creme, along with the raspberry swirl; Rhubarb; Impossible beef and onion (vegan); chicken curry and rice; chipotle; bacon, hash browns and eggs and an offer of garlic cheddar.
Like I said, these aren’t your Russian great-grandmother’s piroshki, but Sagan isn’t worried Bay Area folks will shy away from his 2022 take on the classic. “Berkeley is diverse and adventurous enough,” she said, “that even if people don’t know us, I’m sure they’ll love trying something new.
Brock Keeling is an award-winning writer covering California.