Easter In The Burgh

Lots of eggs for dying at DeLallo's in Jeanette

Today, as I left a local store with bags of plastic eggs, Easter grass, goofy baskets with bunnies and chicks on them and two different types of dye for eggs, one would think I have small children at home. Nope. At 23 and practically 21, my girls are long past hunting for eggs. But each and every year, I continue to design Easter baskets, filling them with chocolates and all sorts of other little items I come across in my travels.  My girls will probably moan and groan when they see the baskets on Sunday morning, but I think they would be sad if mom didn’t produce these silly gifts from the Easter bunny.  Lucky for me, Easter food doesn’t have an age limit, so I always try to track down my favorites for this time of year. Here are my choices.

For ham and smoked sausage:

Lambert’s Market in McKeesport, 1902 Grandview Ave 15132, (412) 664-7371

Bardine’s Country Smokehouse in Crabtree,  224 Bardine Rd, (724) 837-7089

McGinnis Sisters’ Special Food Stores

Paska Bread:

Minerva Bakery in McKeesport:, 927 5th Avenue
McKeesport, PA 15132-2412
(412) 673-2863


Edward Marc in  Trafford, , 509 Cavitt Avenue, 877-488-1808  or 412-380-0888

Mon Aimee Chocolat in the Strip District, corner of Penn Avenue and 21st Street, 412-395-0222

The Chocolate Shoppe in Greensburg,  118 North Pennsylvania Avenue, (724) 216-5847


St Mary’s Ukranian Orthodox Church, I have a soft spot for St Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in McKees Rocks, but lots of places make wonderful pierogies.  116 Ella Street, (412) 331-9288

Fish for Good Friday:

Fish fries are everywhere, but why not make your own fish fry?  My choice is either Foley Fish from McGinnis Sisters or anything from Penn Avenue Fish Company in the Strip District.

Have a favorite place for your Easter food?  Let me know!

St. Mary’s Ukrainian Festival

You can get these and more at St Mary's Festival!!

I love church festivals, especially ones that have the word Croatian, Greek or Ukrainian in the name because I know there will be fantastic food for sale.  Have you had Croatian barbecued lamb?  Handmade Ukrainian pierogies?  Honey drenched baklava, each piece painstakingly made by hand?  A really good festival is coming up, so mark your calendars for July 28 through 31st for the annual St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church Festival in the Bottoms of McKees Rocks. I can’t wait!

For more details about the festival, go to my  blog  published by the PA Tourism Office.   I know I’ve mentioned the pierogies before, but the festival is supposed to be great ( Father Tim promised) and I wanted to let everyone know about it.  Click here to access the info and also to read about what other folks in the state are doing for fun this summer.

Pierogi, piroghi, pyrohy . . .

Not just any old dumpling

However it’s spelled in your ethnic dictionary . . . . it spells perfection to me.   I’ve never met a pierogi I didn’t like (well,  those  four costumed ones at the Pirates’ games do get on my nerves a bit,)  but church-lady pierogies can’t be beat.

Yummy by any name

These doughy pockets have always been popular in Pittsburgh, probably because of our large population of Eastern European immigrants.  There’s even a website dedicated to finding the best pierogies in Western PA, called www.pittsburghpierogi.com. So last Friday I joined the quest and found myself winding  through “the bottoms” of McKees Rocks in search of these heaven-sent potato filled packages. There up ahead, like a beacon through thick fog, was the  shiny, golden dome of St Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church.  A group of women (and a sprinkling of men) meets here at the crack of dawn every Friday morning   to make thousands of these little dumplings. The aroma of sauteed onions and butter leads loyal followers down a few steps into the church basement,  where  trays and trays of freshly made pierogies , all rolled and filled by hand, await.

Most of these ladies have been doing this for over 50 years!

I planned on buying a dozen to take home, but succumbed to coaxing from the ladies to try a few. The combination of tender dough and real potato filling (yes, some folks use instant) was . . . oh . .  .so . . .  good.  Father Tim then took me on a tour of his beautiful, icon filled parish, once home away from home for so many Ukrainian immigrants to the Pittsburgh area.  Thank goodness for places like this that held our communities together through thick and thin and continue to keep them strong today. And thank goodness for church ladies.

St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church  is located at 116 Ella Street, McKees Rocks, PA  15136 Phone:  412-331-2362