Mike and Shelley Spain, the husband-wife duo that opened Saratoga Springs’ restaurant Seneca in August 2019, may have just singlehandedly saved 2020. In the final days of what many have described as the worst year in recent memory, the chefs have launched the Pierogi Shoppe, a delivery-only venture serving up eight variations of the Polish delicacy, from spinach- and artichoke-stuffed dumplings to a dessert pierogi tossed in cinnamon sugar and packed with apple pie filling. Each order comes with four handmade pierogies, and costs between $8–$10, plus DoorDash delivery fees.
While the concept of a delivery-only restaurant is new to Saratoga, nationally, ghost kitchens (a.k.a. virtual kitchens) are all the rage, and the COVID-19 crisis has only made them more popular: In a recent report, market research firm Euromonitor estimated that the business could be worth $1 trillion by 2030. “Basically, it’s a kitchen that has no dining room,” Mike says of the concept. “It’s a delivery model only, and it’s something that we’ve wanted to do for a while. Even without COVID, I think it’s a great thing, especially for people who just don’t want to go out.” The main benefit of a ghost kitchen is low overhead cost—there’s no waitstaff that needs to be paid. For the Spains, who already have the Seneca kitchen at their disposal, opening a delivery-only business on top of their already-successful restaurant was a no-brainer.
What to actually serve out of their ghost kitchen was also an easy decision to make: The pierogi appetizer is already a staple on Seneca’s menu. “Shelley would make pierogies with her babcia [grandmother] and her mother all the time, especially during the holidays,” Mike says of his wife’s childhood. “It’s a big family tradition to just kind of sit around and make a ton of pierogies. We took that authentic pierogi dough recipe, and now we’re just going to do a lot of fun fillings and some really cool garnishes on them.” In addition to the aforementioned flavors, Pierogi Shoppe also offers a Turkey Supper pierogi, filled with herb stuffing, roasted turkey, cranberry sauce and brown gravy; a Shepherd’s Pie pierogi, filled with mashed potatoes, ground beef, roasted corn and demi aioli; and The Homeland pierogi, filled with sauerkraut, kielbasa and spicy brown mustard.
The Pierogi Shoppe, which opened on December 20, is currently open for delivery Sunday-Thursday from 4-8pm, and Mike says that they may make the pierogies available during lunch hours on Saturdays as well. All orders can be placed through DoorDash.