Steak and Cake: A burger topped with a crabcake pierogi from Green Rock Tavern

CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Posted: July 19, 2012

Cole (for Nicole) Mahon points out that her tattooed, formidably muscled arms have nothing to do with gym time; they're from long hours she puts in each week rolling out some of the tenderest pierogi dough in town.

A pierogi menu wasn't part of the plan six years ago when she and her brother James took over the Green Rock Tavern, a corner bar with a bad reputation on Lehigh Avenue: "I grew up on ravioli," she says. But in deference to the Fishtown-Port Richmond neighborhood's Polish sensibility, she honed her pierogi moves at the table of a friend's mother.

Now the locals have their choice of up to 15 varieties (especially during a winter Pierogi Week), including buffalo chicken, potato-cheddar-bacon, and cheese-pumpkin, besides the potato and kraut standards.

On the menu more often, though, is her Steak and Cake, a localized take on the hot dog and fishcake, once a Philadelphia street staple. Her creation features a coarse-ground, eight-ounce burger (from Kissin Fresh, the nearby meat supplier), the bun layered with tart, house-made remoulade, lettuce, tomato and — the piece de resistance! — a plump, potato-y crabmeat pierogi. It comes with house slaw and hand-cut fries.

Mahon, a former server at the Four Seasons Hotel, sells a couple dozen over a weekend. Which may explain why she stays so trim ... and some of the regulars don't.

Steak and Cake, $13, Green Rock Tavern, 2546 E. Lehigh Ave., 215-203-0840

— Rick Nichols

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