July 7, 2020

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Garden City fast-food franchise plays dress-up with perogies

Winnipeg’s newest perogy joint focuses more on what's piled on top of the doughy delicacies rather than what's inside them.

Toronto-based Loaded Pierogi — a self-defined "quick serve pierogi restaurant" — opened at the Northgate Shopping Centre (1370 McPhillips St.) late last year.

The restaurant serves both boiled and fried potato-and-onion stuffed perogies that are served under various cheeses, vegetables and ample amounts of proteins, including smoked beef brisket, pulled pork and butter chicken.

Brock Fecio thought he would come down and sample some perogies. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Brock Fecio thought he would come down and sample some perogies. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

The dishes range from Montreal Smoked Meat to Wild Mushroom and Truffle, a vegetarian option.

Franchise co-owner Amir Vohra sunk his teeth into a perogy for the first time after he arrived here in 2012 as an international student.

Originally from India, the 28 year old said his first perogy reminded him immediately of a samosa — a snack he said is often covered in lamb or goat meat, as well as other toppings, in South Asia.

Sauerkraut and bacon are prepared at Loaded Pierogi. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Sauerkraut and bacon are prepared at Loaded Pierogi. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, after he finished his plate of perogies at a Loaded Pierogi restaurant in Toronto in 2017, he knew he wanted to open a location in Winnipeg.

"I’ve seen different restaurants serving perogies here, but mostly, in Winnipeg, it’s always thought of as an appetizer — never as a full-meal dish," Vohra said. "I just wanted to bring something new, which is full of flavour."

The 28-year-old entrepreneur opened the restaurant with partner Aashiyana Vohra, his 24-year-old wife. They got their food-industry education after moving to Winnipeg — Amir at Domino's, Aashiyana at Subway.

The finishing touches are put on a Porkie Pig. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

The finishing touches are put on a Porkie Pig. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Vohra began as a delivery driver, moved into the kitchen and was later promoted to an assistant manager at the pizza joint, paving the way to manage his own restaurant. He still works full time as an information technology analyst, and his partner is a full-time nail technician.

"I’m a foodie person. Whenever time permits, I really like comfort food," he said.

There are currently six Loaded Pierogi locations — three in Toronto and one each in Hamilton, Edmonton and Winnipeg. While other locations are licensed, Vohra said he has no interest in serving alcohol at the Garden City restaurant.

"I’ve seen different restaurants serving perogies here, but mostly, in Winnipeg, it’s always thought of as an appetizer — never as a full-meal dish," Vohra said. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

"I’ve seen different restaurants serving perogies here, but mostly, in Winnipeg, it’s always thought of as an appetizer — never as a full-meal dish," Vohra said. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Three weeks after the McPhillips Street location’s soft opening, Vohra said the business’s success so far has made him optimistic about opening a second location in the city.

maggie.macintosh@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @macintoshmaggie

Maggie Macintosh

Maggie Macintosh
Reporter

Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.

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