The aptly named All Pierogi in Mesa is both a market and a restaurant. The market sells frozen pierogis, sausages, and a variety of pickled and dry goods.
Then there's the restaurant. Upon entering a dark dining room, you'll be greeted with Eastern European pop mixed with international club hits. Bring on the vodka!
The service is curt and slow. But you aren't here for white tablecloths or niceties. You're here for the pierogies.
All of them.
The menu includes other things, from mayonnaise-bound salads to kielbasa, but what sets this place apart is its menu of nearly 20 different types of boiled or fried dumplings: pierogis.
If you want something to wash them down, check out the impressive list of Russian and Ukrainian beers, vodka, and wines from Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Georgia.
Savory pierogi options run the gamut from classics like sauerkraut and potato to twists like a jalapeno cheddar. On the sweet side, you can chow pierogis stuffed with sweet farmer's cheese, strawberry, or plum (dried plum, so actually more of a prune).
The "Surprise Me" platter of 18 dumplings is just that, a surprise. They won't tell you what's coming. The only known factor is that you'll have a minimum of three different kinds of pierogi.
Hedging my bets about just what was going to be in all those dumplings, I went for the 12-dumpling plate, and paid three bucks extra to choose three different stuffings. I went classic with mushroom and potato, sauerkraut and potato, and beef, all fried.
The "salads" here are swimming in mayo or creamy dressings. They are amazing, obviously.
The massive platter arrived with sides: sweet caramelized onion, sour cream, and a ramekin of bacon chunks. Refills of these accompaniments are free and unlimited.
The fat little dumplings were greasy with a touch of salt. Dunked in sour cream and topped with sweet onion, they were rich and indulgent. Both potato dumplings tasted of little else, but were nonetheless satisfying. The paste-like meat, on the other hand, had a little funk I could have gone without.
If you prefer to have your pile of carbs with a wee bit of vegetable, the rainbow salad is great. It's described as being topped with "French fries," but before you get too excited (like I did), let me tell you, the fries are more like those thin crisp potato straws that come in a can. These slivers of salty, crunchy potato are wonderful atop the mayo-dressed mishmash of cabbage, carrots, and pickled beets.
If you aren't pierogi-ed out at this point, check out the dessert section. Here, too, you can order a variety plate, choosing from sweet cheese, plum, strawberry, and cherry pierogis. They will urge you to order these boiled instead of fried. Either way, you will end up with a plate of chewy, fruit preserved-filled dumplings and a side of whipped cream. If you weren't in a food coma before, you will be after this.
Unless you are bulking up for a winter in Siberia, there's no health-based argument for consuming this many carbs in one sitting. But some days, only something like a platter of dumplings will do. And for days like those, I recommend All Pierogi. It's a place where, no matter how many dumplings you order, even if you're alone, you won't raise a single eyebrow.
All Pierogi Kitchen & Euro Market
1245 West Baseline Road, Mesa
Hours: daily, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 8 p.m.