Ewa’s Pierogi enchants with Eastern European fare

Among other staples, Ewa’s Pierogi carries five flavors of its namesake dish — meat [beef and pork mixture], mushroom, potato and cheese, spinach, mozzarella cheese and sauerkraut.

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Ewa Zapolsky moved to the Chicago area from Poland six years ago to pursue her dreams in the restaurant business and create a better life for her daughter.

Half a decade later, she is basking in the glow of the Ewa’s Pierogi one-year anniversary.

“My dream was to go to cooking school, but my parents made me go to school for economics,” said Zapolsky, reminiscing about her homeland and celebrating Ewa’s Pierogi’s milestone this past June.

“I was very happy [to celebrate the one-year anniversary]. [When starting], I was worried about finding staff and a chef to help me with the cooking in the kitchen.”

Ewa Zapolsky is the owner of Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview.

Ewa Zapolsky is the owner of Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Ewa’s Pierogi, at 976 Harlem Ave. in Glenview, is bright and cheery, with soothing green accents and crystal pendants.

“I wanted it to feel like at home because I’m here every day and I want to feel good,” said Zapolsky, who speaks five languages. “We always have fresh flowers.”

The dinging room at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview. 

The dining room at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Through social media, Zapolsky has connected with the local Polish, Ukrainian and Russian communities and others to publicize the traditional Eastern European menu.

Ewa’s Pierogi carries five flavors of its namesake dish: meat [beef and pork mixture], mushroom and sauerkraut, potato and cheese, spinach and mozzarella, and mac and cheese. The dumplings can be served pan friend or boiled with bacon and sour cream.

Various pierogi served at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview. 

Various pierogi served at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Once a customer was so overwhelmed with how good a pierogi tasted, she screamed with delight. Zapolsky wan’t sure what was going on, so she left the kitchen to check on the patron’s well-being.

Fruit pierogi flavors include sweet cheese, blueberry, strawberry, plum, cherries and Nutella.

The fruit pierogis served at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview, come in strawberry blueberry, plum, cherry, and sweet cheese. 

The fruit pierogis served at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview come in strawberry blueberry, plum, cherry, and sweet cheese.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Another dumpling variety is the Russian Pelmeni, a small meat ravioli served with a light broth with a dollop of sour cream and dill as garnish.

The popular traditional Ukrainian borscht and chicken noodle soup are served daily.

“People come in here just to eat the borscht,” said Zapolsky, who learned how to cook observing and helping her mother and grandmother.

“We start with fresh cabbage. It’s vegetarian, it’s really good even without the meat, then we add potatoes, carrots, beets, and a touch of tomato paste.”

Various Polish, and Ukrainian dishes served at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview. 

Various Polish and Ukrainian dishes served at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Appetizers include potato pancakes with smoked salmon, dill cream and caviar. A beet carpaccio is served with goat cheese, arugula and balsamic vinegar, and a herring tartare is served with cornichons, capers and boiled egg.

The restaurant also features sweet and savory crepes.

I thought I was well-versed in Polish cuisine, but it was at Ewa’s Pierogi where I tried zapiekanka for the first time. Zapiekanka — a Polish street food that reminds me of French bread pizza — is an open-faced sandwich made with a baguette and topped with sautéed mushrooms, melted cheese and ketchup. You can also add meat to your customizable zapiekanka, drizzle it with mayonnaise and garnish it with chopped chives.

The zapiekanka served at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview.

The zapiekanka served at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Zapolsky also has specials, including seafood soup [with fish, shrimp and fresh blue shell crab] and beef tartare garnished with egg yolk and served with Polish bread.

If you are looking for a more substantial meal, try either the grilled polish sausage, the Kotlet schabowy — a breaded pork chop — or stuffed cabbage rolls [with mushroom or tomato sauce].

Polish sausage and onions served at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview.

Polish sausage and onions served at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Another Polish delight is Zapolsky’s compote or kompot— a non-alcoholic Eastern European fruit punch made by simmering fresh fruit with water and sugar. When I stopped by, cherries and strawberries were in season.

Ewa’s Pierogi is located at 976 Harlem Ave. in Glenview. Call (224) 616-3430 or visit the Facebook page.

Ewa’s Pierogi is located at 976 Harlem Ave. in Glenview.

Ewa’s Pierogi is located at 976 Harlem Ave. in Glenview.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

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