Get Loaded Pierogi for unique flavour combinations in University Heights

“‘If it’s not loaded, it’s not us.’ Our plates are loaded with stuff. Whatever your dish… it is coming out of the box.”

Businesses and non-profit organizations regularly open and move in Saskatoon. Today the StarPhoenix talks to Atresh Patel and Anwar Shaik who recently opened Loaded Pierogi in University Heights.

The pair met about four years ago while both were working at the Travel Lodge. They each have a background in the restaurant industry with Anwar receiving a bachelors in hotel management from India. He also worked on a cruise ship for around 10 years as a chef and has his red seal as a journeyman cook. Atresh worked at Kashmere Restaurant after immigrating from India in 2019. He also still works at Courtyard Marriott as a breakfast cook.

Once they met, they hit it off and started to plan their own restaurant in town. They contacted different franchises and decided Loaded Pierogi would be a great fit for Saskatoon. Loaded Pierogi offers a huge variety of menu options that can be loaded with numerous kinds of meats, vegetables and sauces to create several different unique flavour combinations.

Loaded Pierogi
Anwar Shaik (left) and Atresh Patel recently opened loaded Pierogi in University Heights, which offers pierogi options that can be loaded with numerous kinds of meats, vegetables and sauces to create several different unique flavor combinations. Photo taken in Saskatoon, Sask. on Friday, May 17, 2024.Photo by Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Q: Why did you open Loaded Pierogi?

Anwar Shaik: We thought Saskatchewan has a lot of Ukrainian population. We wanted to do something new for Saskatoon and Saskatchewan. If you go to pierogi places, they’re only serving pierogies. Nobody is serving the kind of food what we are doing here. It’s like a fusion and you can build your own too. You can have a lot of meat on it, a lot of cheese. And there are different options for vegetarians. We have our own homemade sauces which go on top of the pierogies.

Q: What’s different about your pierogis?

Anwar: We have a motto, ‘If it’s not loaded, it’s not us.’ Our plates are loaded with stuff. Whatever your dish it will have at least three to four toppings on it. The dish is so big it is coming out of the box it is served in. To make it more loaded we have two options – either eight pierogies or 11 pierogies. A lot of people like to have 11 pierogies. That loads a box up even more.

We have potato and onion stuffed pierogies. We prepare them either crispy deep fried or boiled. The customer chooses. The deep fried pierogies are very crispy outside and very soft inside while the boiled ones are soft all the way through. We have 15 sauces and over 40 toppings to choose from.

Q: How does the ordering process work?

Atresh Patel: We have 15 signature dishes as well as a ‘build your own’ option. First you need to choose your base. The bases are pierogis, poutine, mac & cheese, salad and wrap. Select one of those as a base.

Step two is to choose your toppings. You can select a signature dish or you can build your own. With build your own, you can choose one meat, one veggie, one cheese and then some of the free toppings like fresh vegetables such as green onions, red onions, tomatoes and jalapenos. And you can choose also one sauce, whatever sauce according to your taste that you like. Then if you like other extra meats, veggies or other cheese on top, it will be extra according to the toppings. That is the basic build your own combination.

Or you can try one of our signatures. If you don’t like some of the ingredients, we can eliminate them. A lot of people like the signatures. 80 per cent of people like the signatures. 20 per cent go for the build your own.

Q: What are some of your more popular signature dish options?

Atresh: For meat options there is the smoking pig roast. This is the most popular because there is a lot of meat in there. First it has pulled pork with its own spices and crispy bacon and chorizo sausage. The sausage is crumbled and put on top. And smoking pig roast has the taste of a smoking barbecue with an in-house barbecue sauce.

Another popular meat option is barbecue philly cheese steak. The beef steak is juicy and goes with sauteed onions, sweet red peppers and a smoky barbecue sauce. To balance that taste we add garlic mayo. It’s a great combination with the barbecue sauce.

The third most popular meat option is the double double. It is a really simple dish. It has double crispy bacon, two types of cheese – cheddar and mozzarella and maple ranch sauce. Maple ranch has a sweet and sour taste with maple syrup and ranch sauce.

Q: Do you have some popular vegetarian signature dishes?

Atresh: The most popular vegetarian is the Bang Bang Cauliflower. It comes with crispy cauliflower and bang bang sauce. That is a really amazing sauce. A lot of people like that. It comes with fresh tomatoes, fresh avocado and fresh cilantro on top.

The second top vegetarian seller is Mushroom and Truffle. It comes with sauteed mushrooms and spices such as thyme and garlic and salt and pepper. And then it goes with truffle oil. And on top we add goat cheese and green onions. On the side we give a truffle sour cream. It is a special sour cream with a truffle taste.

Q: What else is on the menu?

Atresh: We have some snacks with different kinds of toppings. Baba’s Classic is a really basic pierogi. It’s just pierogies, sauteed onions, cheese and bacon. We can add more bacon on top too. Some people want to try something basic for the first time. We also have chicken nuggets and spicy diablo bites and Texas chicken bites with a barbecue sauce on top.

Q: Do you offer desserts?

A: The fried cheesecake is the most popular dessert. It’s covered with a tortilla shell and deep fried. We cut it in half and add Skor chocolate bites, chocolate syrup and caramel syrup with graham cracker crumbles.

Q: What beverages do you serve?

Anwar: We have a liquor license here. We have alcoholic cocktails and beer. We serve hard iced tea, Budweiser, OV and Bud Lite and a selection of pop. The alcohol isn’t available with Skip and Uber to go orders. They’re only served in house. We have around seven to eight different cocktails.

Q: Do you have some gluten free options?

Atresh: For gluten free, people can have the salad bowl base and add vegetables and roasted chicken or beef steak. We also can add crispy bacon. Some of our sauces are gluten free including a pineapple curry sauce and our buffalo sauce.

We don’t have a gluten free pierogi right now but are in talks with our franchisee. It all depends on customer response. If we have a number of people who request it then we will be happy to introduce that.

Q: What is the atmosphere at Loaded Pierogi?

Anwar: We have a comfortable environment with softer music. We have bright colours and a lot of different colours in the wall. If you go to many restaurants you’ll find the same colour everywhere. But here every wall has a different colour. We have a picture with a potato on top of a man (instead of a head). A lot of people will to take pictures of that. It’s different.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Loaded Pierogi

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