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). Still in the works are some Thanksgiving-themed duck and fig specials as well as pumpkin “pie-rogi.”
All the pierogi come in sets of eight—although larger platters are also available—and can be ordered steamed, toasted (sautéed with a bit of butter), or fried with a choice of sauces. Hardy says he’s also taking special requests for frozen pierogi for anyone who wants to stock up their freezer.
Zofia’s Kitchen also sells a handful of sandwiches, including a house-braised pastrami reuben and Italian beef. Hardy is also working on a schnitzel sandwich on a pretzel bun and a Swedish meatball sub. (He counts Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson as a mentor.) There’s also chicken noodle soup, New England clam chowder, and most intriguingly, savory latke doughnuts—crispy shredded potato molded into a ring shape.
“Everyone’s got to be Dominique Ansel these days,” says Hardy, referring to the creator of the cronut. “I’ll be honest with you, this is one of my finest potato creations.”
Zofia’s Kitchen offers pick-up from Arlington and delivery via DoorDash and UberEats. Hardy is looking to soon expand operations to DC and into other parts of Northern Virginia.
Zofia’s Kitchen. 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-550-6220.