For those who grew up in Polish or other Slavic families, nothing brings back memories of childhood time around the holiday table (or of late-night leftovers eaten in the glow of the refrigerator light) more than a good pierogi — hopefully handmade and slathered in sour cream and buttery onions. But metro Denver has very few options when it comes to pierogies, although those with a good nose have tracked down Baba & Pop's, a mainstay for the past several years on the food truck and farmers' market scenes.
Katherine and Jeremy Yurek, founders of the mobile eatery, are ready to put down roots, so they're launching Baba & Pop's Pierogi Kitchen & Bar at 9945 East Colfax Avenue in Aurora on March 13. Baba & Pop's is named after Jeremy's Polish great-grandparents, Josephine and Charles (Baba and Pop to family members), who came to the U.S. in the early part of the twentieth century, and Jeremy is now the third generation of Jurek men to carry on the pierogi-making tradition. The original pierogi recipe that Baba & Pop's still uses came from Josephine, who first passed it on to her son.
"It's been three years in the making," says Katherine Yurek of the search for a brick-and-mortar restaurant location, "but it's finally happening."
Katherine explains that she and Jeremy found the right location after they contacted the Aurora Small Business Development Center, which helped them pin down the East Colfax address. The space was originally one big restaurant and nightclub but had been vacant for several years before the landlord divided it into two separate units and leased one half to Third Culture Bakery (which just opened last month) and the other half to Baba & Pop's. "Our half used to be the disco part of the old place," Katherine points out. "There was even a disco ball in there when we signed the lease."
Baba & Pop's produces more than 15,000 handmade pierogies each week, so having a brand-new kitchen (the Jureks have been working out of a commissary kitchen at the Art Gym in east Denver) will allow the company to increase production while also offering a wider range of Polish specialties such as cabbage rolls, soups and "Polish shish kabobs," which Katherine describes as "fried chicken on a stick." The couple has also developed recipes for gluten-free pierogies (and the shish kabobs are gluten-free, too).
The pierogies themselves, boiled and pan-crisped, come with a wide range of fillings, including traditional potato and cheese, modern tomato-basil-mozzarella, and distinctly Southwestern pulled pork with green chile.
With a full bar, Baba & Pop's will be able to serve Colorado beers, Stem ciders and mixed drinks, including the house Apple Pie cocktail made with Zubrówka bison grass vodka and fresh-pressed apple juice. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m. daily, with a Sunday pierogi brunch that will be added soon after the March 13 opening.