Delicious sweet and savory Polish dumplings are the stock-in-trade of K Sisters Authentic Pierogi. Located in a tidy former brick ranch house on Clinton Street in Buffalo’s Kaisertown neighborhood, this thriving, sister-run business specializes not only in pierogi (an official food of Poland) made in dozens of flavors, but other traditional Polish fare as well.
Sisters Karen Markiewicz and Karoll Markiewicz Kwitek, after a near-lifetime of making pierogi with their mother and grandmother/Babcia, and guided by the family recipes, opened K Sisters in 2005. Their late sister Kathryn Markiewicz Jasinski was also a partner in the business.
All pierogi are made – and sold – onsite and hand-pinched, sealing in a multitude of ingredients. Their more traditional flavors incorporate farmer cheese, mushrooms, sauerkraut and potatoes – in various combinations. Their “Innovative Pierogi” include lip-smacking flavors like Taco (beef with taco seasoning), sweet potato, fruit varieties, and several others.
Upon entering the sunny shop at the corner of Clinton and aptly-named Pleasant Parkway, the scene is half vintage kitchen, and half “Grab & Go” freezers and coolers. The recipes are grandma’s, and so is the 1940’s-era kitchen in the back, even outfitted with an antique Buffalo- made Jewett range. Dozens of Polish knickknacks, and classic photos of Buffalo round out the décor.
In addition to neat, shrink-wrapped packages of six plump pierogis for sale, the items available and stocked daily include golabki (pigs in the blanket), party favorite lazy pierogi, czarnina (duck soup), hamburger patties, and kluski noodles. Traditional placek (a dense and eggy coffeecake, baked in a loaf pan and topped with a crumbly sugar-butter mixture), are baked and shipped over from Dessert Deli in Amherst.
Shopping here is easy, and whoever is working in the shop can answer any questions about ingredients and preparation of any of the food items. For pierogi, the preferred cooking method (given on their website, buffalopierogi.com) is to use plenty of butter: sautée fresh onions, and the pierogi of choice, separately. The buttery onions should be drizzled over the pierogi. Add a touch of sour cream and you’ve got Polish perfection.
The site has a downloadable ordering PDF form to assist with shopping: orders may be given over the phone by calling 716-827-4077. It should be noted that their homemade deliciousness is only available at K Sisters, not at other local vendors. The sisters also feel strongly about shipping pierogi: they don’t do it, noting that fresh is best.
Visit Buffalo Niagara sat down with Karen, whose office is behind the storefront, down a hallway and in the home’s former living room. Although pierogi are sold year-round it’s at Easter time their sales are at fever pitch. Karen juggles “two seasonal businesses that hit at the same time: accounting/tax preparing, and pierogi.” When asked how she does it all she says “Careful scheduling, lots of sleep, and wine.”
“I could barely pinch but my grandmother had me pinching pierogis, at about eight years old,” says Karen. “I loved it from day one. And it became an annual tradition – and then it became a semi-annual tradition,” she says laughing. “And by the time I got older everybody wanted my pierogi.
“It is a super-secret recipe. Our secret is in the dough and I’ve never come across anyone who uses the same recipe. Close, but not the same. This whole thing started because there weren’t good pierogi around … what we were served here in Buffalo was not real pierogi.
“We don’t skimp on anything, we use all fresh ingredients, no adding more flour to the dough to make them bigger. We use real potatoes instead of flakes, and real butter. I’ll tell you what’s in the dough but you can’t duplicate it: we have flour, milk, butter, sour cream, and eggs. So, it’s all those wonderful dairy products in our dough. We are a cooking family; we grew up with pots of soup always on the stove.
“Making pierogi is not an easy thing, but it makes me happy. Instead of giving people bad news about owing taxes, I give them great food. And they’re all happy when they come back in.”
K Sisters Authentic Pierogi, 2116 Clinton Street, Buffalo / (716) 827-4077 / buffalopierogi.com