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Anthony Bourdain’s favorite Eastern European hand pies are back in the Bay

Giving the traditional piroshky a Pacific Northwest-inspired spin, this hand pie is a blend of smoked wild salmon, cream cheese, a dash of dill and onion. | Courtesy Piroshky Piroshky

Piroshky Piroshky, an Eastern European bakery headquartered at Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market that specializes in traditional hand pies, will make a stop in South San Francisco along its nationwide tour on March 15. 

The Elks Lodge #2091 hosts this one-day-only pastry party with a preorder deadline of March 13. But, piroshky die-hards, be warned: The last Bay Area stop on the bakery’s nationwide tour sold out a week before the event.

Vladimir and Zina Kotelnikov, two immigrants from the Soviet Union, founded Piroshky Piroshky in 1992 with just $1,200 in the bank. Fulfilling the couple’s dream to bring a beloved treat from their homeland to the Pacific Northwest, the bakery quickly attracted a loyal following of Eastern European immigrants and Pike Place regulars. 

In 2001, Olga Sagan, who had emigrated from Russia at the age of 16, joined the bakery, eventually becoming the sole owner in 2017.

Piroshky Piroshky was a personal favorite of the late culinary legend Anthony Bourdain, who featured the bakery on his show, No Reservations, in 2007. In the episode, Zina explained that piroshky is a little pie made from leftover meat, potatoes or cabbage that Russian families enjoy at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Her husband clarified that the bakery’s double name refers to Eastern European bakers who traditionally roamed the streets calling out, “piroshky, piroshky, piroshky.” 

The bakery's staff prepares handmade piroshkies daily. | Courtesy Piroshky Piroshky

During his visit, Bourdain picked up a sausage piroshky—the bakery’s oldest variety—remarking that Piroshky Piroshky folds neatly into the artisan community that makes up Pike Place Market in Downtown Seattle.

“People focus on specific things that they want to do really really well,” he said. “When you get a lot of people like that, that makes for an interesting neighborhood.” 

In 2013, Smithsonian Magazine listed Piroshky Piroshky among its “20 Most Iconic Food Destinations Across America.” 

Piroshky Piroshky at the Elks Lodge