Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pierogi Guy is one determined dumpling


Pierogi Guy may just be the smartest dumpling in the world.

He was educated in Montreal and speaks three languages: Greek, French and English.

And ladies, he's single.

He's Frank Dippz, 25, a chef at the Pierogi Grill and official mascot of the restaurant.

He's a cook who becomes a pierogi. And not just any pierogi. A potato and cheese pierogi. With spinach.

When business is slow, he climbs into a puffy white pierogi costume — it looks sort of like an odd, lumpy pillow — zips up and waves at motorists on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, just east of Highland Avenue.

It was sewn by restaurant owner Marek Pietryniak's mother-in-law.

And it doesn't take long for Dippz to get into character.

"It's the costume,'' he said. "Once I put it on, it brings me alive.''

No doubt about it.

He's hot.

Sweat poured off him at lunchtime Thursday while he was waving a saute pan to some firefighters who beeped at him.

When Pierogi Guy gets so warm he feels like he could be put on a plate and served, he heads for the walk-in cooler to chill.

Other than the heat, there are other reasons it's tough to be a 5-foot, 8-inch pierogi.

"I've been called a dinosaur, a cloud, all kinds of things,'' Dippz said.

There are, of course, other hazards to the job.

Once, someone threw a beer bottle at him.

"The pierogi was starting to get angry,'' Dippz said.

Now somewhat used to abuse, one of his goals is to be the next San Diego Chicken.

"Yes,'' said Dippz. "Definitely.''

Of course there are happy moments in Pierogi Guy's life.

"I got flashed by a woman,'' he said. "I found it very compassionate. I'm trying to bring a smile to people's faces and she was trying to bring a smile to mine.''

It worked.

But not everybody gets the essence of Pierogi Guy.

A reporter thought he was an onion.

A bus driver thought he was a huge condom.

"One of my customers asked me, 'What animal is that?' '' said server Kasia Zaorska, 22.

Once they realize he's doesn't bite, people like to take pictures with him. One person tipped him $20.

So if you see Pierogi Guy at 1535 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., on a given evening, be kind.

There is an overheated culinary school graduate inside who is just doing his best to spread the word about pierogies.

And fans may be happy to learn Pierogi Guy may get a mate soon.

"I'm thinking about doing a pizza slice,'' Pietryniak said. "Pepperoni."

Pierogi Guy is one determined dumpling 05/10/08 [Last modified: Monday, May 12, 2008 3:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Disabled truck blocks westbound lanes on Courtney Campbell Causeway


    Westbound lanes are blocked on the Courtney Campbell Causeway after a truck became disabled on the roadway, according to broadcast reports,

  2. Man faces DUI manslaughter charge in fatal Largo scooter crash


    A Clearwater man faces a charge DUI manslaughter after deputies say he fatally struck a scooter rider in Largo on Sunday night.

    James Mayer, 42, of Clearwater, faces a charge of DUI manslaughter in a fatal crash involving a scooter on Aug. 20, 2017, in Largo. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Bucs roundtable: Time for another kicking panic?


    Five days after the beleaguered Roberto Aguayo got cut after missing a PAT and a field goal, new Bucs kicker Nick Folk had a PAT blocked and missed a field goal.

  4. Have your say Tampa Bay on the region's future transit options

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — It's time, yet again, for Tampa Bay residents to tell officials what kind of transit options they want for their region.

    The Cross-Bay Ferry docks at the Tampa Convention Center on its maiden voyage on Nov. 1, 2016. A regional premium transit study will determine whether a ferry, or other options such as express buses or light rail, would be a good addition to Tampa Bay. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  5. Today, a total eclipse of the sun will span the entire United States, crossing from the West Coast to the East Coast, for the first time in 99 years. (Dreamstime/TNS)