Think of Parma and you conjure images of pink flamingos and, of course, pierogies. Rudy’s Strudel and Bakery, nestled in the city’s Polish Village, has been handcrafting the Eastern European delicacies for almost 70 years. And while your idea of Parma may be outdated, owner Lidia Trempe has been putting a spin on classics such as ballpark pierogies made with Bertman Ballpark Mustard and pina colada paczki. This month, construction begins on a cafe and gift shop next to Rudy’s Strudel. It’s a way for Trempe to showcase the cultural diversity of Parma. “You can’t go to Indianapolis and get food like this,” she says.
Why do you think Rudy’s Strudel has staying power?
At the root of Rudy’s is Cleveland. It’s always been a family-owned business. It’s every person. When you come into Rudy’s, you come as a customer but you leave as family. We never make anything that we wouldn’t make for our own families.
What is your favorite dish to make?
I heart pierogies. I love making them. I love eating them. I love making new things with them. A lot of people come in on food tours now, and they’re like, “What’s a pierogi again?” My heart pulsates. I’m like, “Sit down right now. I’m gonna feed you.”
Are you bringing back the ballpark pierogies from last year’s playoffs?
Absolutely. To be able to celebrate our wins with something so Cleveland as a pierogi was awesome. Everything has to be Cleveland — there’s nothing outside allowed. It’s bratwurst from the Sausage Shoppe. We put in beer from Brick and Barrel, and mix it with sour cream infused with Bertman mustard. Then we put it in our fluffy dough in this little moon shape and oil it.
Why add the cafe and gift shop?
I think I was trying to create a hangout for myself. There is nowhere in Parma to just sit down and have a really good cup of coffee, a great sandwich and a great glass of wine. We’re going to have the cafe open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. — breakfast, lunch, small plates, beer and wine. I’m trying to create this hub where you can come get great food, beer and your Cleveland or Parma gear.
What do you like best about being located in Parma?
I see a huge change in Parma. It’s hard to open a business in different places now. You can’t open something in Ohio City — it’s incredibly expensive. Where we’re located is the next up-and-coming neighborhood. There’s affordable housing, and it’s so close to the highway. There’s an influx — we could be the next canvas.