- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

CADOGAN, Pa. (AP) - This summer, John Kaczor’s dreams of running his own business have taken him from Cadogan to Kennywood.

Kaczor’s new twist on traditional pierogi is wowing the folks at the amusement park.

The owner of the Cadogan-based Kaczor Ravioli Co. and a friend came up with the fruit-filled pierogi. Instead of potato, cheese or sauerkraut, Kaczor stuffs these with apple, lemon, blueberry, even chocolate. And after a light dusting with powdered sugar, pierogi is reminiscent of a puff pastry and a funnel cake.

After passing out samples at a Glassport grocery store earlier this year, Kaczor had another “Eureka!’ moment. He wasn’t far from Kennywood - a place big on fun food, in an area rich with ethnic food tradition.

“That’s right in the heart of pierogi country,” he said. “Where I really needed to be.”

Kaczor made an appointment with the West Mifflin park. In April, he met with food service management, who greeted him, fryers at the ready.

“One bite out of it and they were like, ‘This is a really good product for the park,’ ” Kaczor said.

Kennywood introduced the fruit-filled pierogi in May, selling them at the funnel cake stand near the Log Jammer.

For $5.25, guests get three pierogi with their choice of filling. The deep-fried treats can be ordered plain or topped with strawberries and ice cream.

If Kennywood deems them a success, it’s likely the dessert dumplings will return next summer.

The menu item is catching on, according to Mike Henninger, the park’s food service director.

“It’s something unique you don’t see at a lot of places,” Henninger said. “It fits really well with Pittsburgh.”

For 50-year-old Kaczor, the road to Kennywood - and full-time pasta production - has proved as interesting as any of the amusement park’s rides.

He founded his company in 2011, selling ravioli, gnocchi and pierogi at local festivals, for fundraisers and at area grocery stores.

His Italian mother taught him how to make ravioli when he was a teen. For years, Kaczor crafted homemade pasta for holidays and special occasions, often with the help of his wife, Marsha, and their friends. He worked at Key Bellevilles near Leechburg for years, but always dreamed of entering the pasta business.

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