“We are very fast going from ghost kitchen to the store front, “Hardy told ARLnow.” We’ll be looking for a second location, maybe, if we can do it well through January. “
His Dumplings shop – at former place of the Cucina Al Volo inside the food hall of the Quarter Market – will have a grand opening tomorrow (Friday). The first 30 customers will receive 15 Zofia’s Kitchen e-gift cards. To promote social distancing, both direct orders and delivery are eligible.
Hardy combines New York City Jewish flavors and Chicago Polish with a dash of Old Bay and Southern barbecue to complement the vast geographic expanse covered in his humble dumplings.
Signature perogies include stuffed baked potatoes, home cured and smoked pastrami and provolone, crab rangoon and all bagels with cream cheese and liqueurs.
Additionally, customers can choose from seasonal sides and soups, or try Hardy’s latke donut: grated potatoes and onions ringed and fried, served with lemon-dill sour cream.
If they still have room for dessert, customers can stick with sweet pierogies, such as a seasonal brown sugar prickly pumpkin “pie-rogi,” or take a break from dumplings and opt for sweets like truffles or rugelach.
Prior to coming to Northern Virginia, Hardy had careers in some of New York City’s most famous restaurants. He worked for three Michelin-starred restaurants, Modern, Gramercy Tavern, and Aquavit, as well as a convenient food destination Red Chicken Harlem.
Hardy first class teaching at Cookology Culinary School when it was closed and switched to virtual learning due to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 hit Cookology hard,” said Hardy, who is looking for other ways to continue cooking.
He came to the pierogies after being asked to serve them for a social distancing party. It went so well that he and the host, Nate Reynolds, decided to go public with the idea.
Hardy goes to Cookology to ask if he can operate the ghost kitchen from there, knowing the owner will be in it.
“I thought he had advertised that he would be open to being a potential concept incubator,” said Hardy.
In mid-September, Hardy and his team, two of his former students and two other chefs who were recently laid off, move into the ghost kitchen at Cookology. Two and a half weeks ago, they had their soft opening at the Ballston Quarter food court while they prepared the venue for the grand opening.
“Honestly, I was surprised by the enthusiastic response to the humble pierogi,” said Hardy. “I think we have taken advantage of the need for other foods that are different, yet familiar, comforting. Zophia is like the Polish grandmother you didn’t know you missed. “
For a limited time, Zofia’s offers three festive pierogi plates, with flavors inspired by familiar Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s tastes.
Cooked or frozen pierogies are available for pick-up in the Ballston Quarter and for delivery via Postmates on the Zofia’s Kitchen website or via UberEats and DoorDash.