GTPulse Weekend Planner: The Lost Village Pierogi Finds a New Home
Last year, I had a brilliant idea. I vowed to make oodles of homemade pierogis to share with my family at our annual Christmas dinner. “How hard can it be,” I thought to myself, “it sounds simple enough—dough, potatoes, cheese—I can do this.”
So, armed only with the heedless unearned confidence of a first year violinist auditioning for the New York Philharmonic, I set out to find the perfect pierogi recipe. I searched online, perused pierogi chat rooms for inside information and even coerced my Polish friends into giving me their family recipes. Finally, one week before Christmas, I set up shop in my kitchen to make pierogi magic. About an hour and a half into the process, I realized I had made a huge mistake. The dough was tough and needed constant rerolling and I didn’t make enough filling. Scrambling to make more filling before losing the integrity of the dough, I thought, “Never again,” while wiping the flour from my forehead–only to discover there was even more flour on my hand.
Flour, it seemed, covered everything except my will to live as I trudged through the arduous process of creating the carb-loaded capers I craved. Hours later, I emerged with 10 dozen subpar pierogis to share with my family. Like a Gollum looking after “my precious,” I found myself at the buffet line with my aluminum foil lined purse. Covertly, I dropped several pierogi into my purse, thinking all the while “they don’t understand my precious. They don’t deserve my precious.”
It was a low moment, indeed.
Needless to say, despite my desire to bring pierogi to this year’s Christmas celebration, I am painfully aware of my shortcomings in the kitchen.
Fortunately for me, and Polish food lovers across Northern Michigan, the soon-to-be famous Lost Village Pierogi has officially moved from its Grand Rapids location to downtown Petoskey. Even more, they’re taking it on the road for a special drive-thru pierogi event at the Meijer parking lot in Traverse City.
“We started in Grand Rapids three years ago,” explains Mike Kotz, co-owner of The Lost Village Pierogi, “and we outgrew that spot nearly a year ago.”
For Mike and Holly Kotz, the idea to move north came earlier this summer. After vacationing in northern Michigan, the Kotzes fell in love with the area and decided to test the waters by offering a few isolated pierogi events in Petoskey.
“We have the kind of life that allows us to work where we choose, so we tested the waters with pop-ups and had a great reception. Then, this great location opened up in downtown Petoskey and we knew it was meant to be,” said Mike.
Mike says the drive up event is something they had been doing for a while. “Prior to COVID, they were more or less live cooking Polish festivals, but, once the pandemic hit, the organizer pivoted to do frozen food drive up types of events. We’ve done them all over Michigan, Ohio, Indiana.”
On Dec. 5, The Lost Village Pierogi will make the trek from Petoskey to the Meijer parking lot on US-31 in Traverse City to deliver a pierogi and Polish food holiday drive-up event. Patrons simply order online by Dec. 3 and choose a pick up time between noon and 4 p.m. on Dec. 5.
The menu perfectly blends tradition with creativity, and includes over 20 different varieties of award winning pierogi, heat and serve polish favorites like smoked kielbasa or kaputski, homemade sauerkraut and polish chili.
“We’ve found that the top sellers really vary by region,” says Holly Kotz, co-owner of The Lost Village Pierogi, “Downstate seems to gravitate toward the nontraditional and avant garde selections, while northern Michigan seems to like the more traditional, like the potato cheddar, potato farmer cheese and the sweet farmer cheese.”
“The jalapeño popper pierogi were really big in Grand Rapids,” adds Mike, “And the breakfast pierogi is well loved everywhere. Overall, though, everywhere we go, people are just really passionate about their pierogi.”
For Mike, The Lost Village Pierogi is not just a business—it’s a mission.
“I grew up with my aunts and my grandmother making fresh pierogi. After she passed, we had difficult and most often disappointing experiences trying to find good pierogi. My grandmother set the bar high. After a particularly rotten experience, we decided to get my grandmother’s recipe and start making pierogi for ourselves. It was at this time that not only the importance of tradition, but the passing on of those traditions became clear to us. Without people to carry these torches, traditions like pierogi making become lost, that is why we are the lost village. Our mission is to honor the dead and feed the living,” said Mike.
Mike says he understands how difficult it was for me to make homemade pierogi, “It is a really hard process. You need an assembly line—multiple people working on it and it still takes all day. So, let us do the heavy lifting for you and you can enjoy the reward of pierogi.”
Petoskey location: The Lost Village Pierogi will be opening next week at 307 Petoskey Street in downtown Petoskey.
Drive Up Pierogi & Polish Food Event information:
All orders must be received by Thursday, December 3rd at 6pm
Pre-order online here. Follow the pick up instructions you will receive when you preorder.