Who Is Mrs. T Behind Mrs. T's Pierogies?

Yes, Mrs. T is a real person, but Mrs. T’s Pierogies took an army.

Mrs. T's Pierogies
Photo: Mrs. T's/Getty Images/Allrecipes

If you've ever strolled through a freezer section at the grocery store, you've likely seen the name Mrs. T in the signature blue and yellow logo. That's because Mrs. T's Pierogies dominates the frozen pierogi space — and for good reason.

The Shenandoah, Pennsylvania-based company has been making frozen pierogies for 70 years and is the largest pierogi manufacturer in America. Mrs. T's Pierogies is a huge success across the U.S., selling a dozen different flavors in multiple sizes, but president and owner Tom Twardzik says it wasn't always like that.

Getting Mrs. T's Pierogies off the ground took a village — and it all started with Mrs. T herself.

Who Is Mrs. T?

There are technically two Mrs. T's in this story.

"I always said Mrs. T is my dad," says Tom. "My dad is the founder of Ateeco Inc. and Mrs. T's Pierogies. The Mrs. T behind Mrs. T's Pierogies and the recipe is my grandmother Mary."

Mrs. T's Pierogies is a family business that was started by Mary Twardzik and her son Ted. Originally, Mary made pierogies — half-moon-shaped dumplings of dough and filling — with the local Slovak group to sell at church fundraisers. Ted always noticed the large amounts of people lining up to buy pierogies. So, after getting a business degree and working as an accountant for a few years, he decided to pursue a pierogi business.

"At the time, people made their own pierogies, they could get them at the local store, they could get them at the church. So there was no market for pierogies," explains Tom who took over the family business. "Frozen food was not huge at the time. None of that stuff lined up for my dad to look like success."

Mrs. T's Pierogies Five Original Chefs
Courtesy of Mrs. T's Pierogies

Mrs. T's Pierogies officially began in 1952 out of Mary's kitchen. At the time, there were five chefs: Evelyn Mervine, Marion Pronio, Dorothy Pronio, Aldona Pribish, and Eleanor (Twardzik) Zale.

A year later, with growing demand and not enough space, Ted was kicked out of his mother's kitchen and relocated to Frank Twardzik's bar, which is where the company still operates today.

After the brand saw success, it was forced to mechanize and streamline its system for making pierogies. Ted brought in three helpers, Chirs Twardzik Sr., Al Sakowski, and Lou Hoffman, to build him custom equipment.

"We no longer [had] several people around the kitchen table manually pinching the edges of the dough so the pierogi is closed," Tom says. "We created equipment that could do that. [It] could do the magic of bringing the filling and the dough together and folding it and pinching it closed so it doesn't boil open when you're cooking."

Mrs. T's Pierogies Truck
Courtesy of Mrs. T's Pierogies

Over the years, the brand increased its offerings from traditional potato and Cheddar cheese-filled pierogies to pierogies filled with onions, feta, spinach, broccoli, sauerkraut, and much more.

In 2008, October 8th was officially declared National Pierogi Day. The day is significant as it was the day Ted made his very first pierogi sale to a local grocery store in Shenandoah in 1952.

Today, Tom says Mrs. T's Pierogies adheres almost completely to Mary's original recipe, just at a much larger scale. The main changes — like swapping fresh potatoes for potato flakes — occurred to ensure consistency.

Mrs. T's Pierogies is still family owned and operated and recently celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2022. The brand's mission continues to be sharing pierogies, stuffed with the stuff you love, surrounded by the people you love — and above all, family is key.

"I gotta give credit where credit is due. Nobody gets anywhere by themselves, and I've got hundreds of thousands of people that have helped Mrs. T's and the Twardzik families over the 70 years," says Tom. "They're vigilant and diligent and constantly working to make pierogies, and sell pierogies, and get pierogies into the hands of our customers."

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