Food Trucks We Love: Mom-Mom's Polish Food Cart

by Emily Kovach

MOM-MOM'S POLISH FOOD CART

The owners: Kaitlin Wines and Ryan Elmore (they’re engaged!) 
@MomMomNomNom on Twitter

Who is Mom-Mom? We are named after Kaitlin’s Mom-Mom (grandmother), Rita Chmielewski, a second-generation Polish immigrant and thriving 93-year-old. We could have called ourselves Babcia’s (the Polish word for grandmother) but Kait grew up eating/cooking/baking with Mom-Mom—it seemed best to represent both the Polish and American sides of us with our name and our food. 

Cuisine: As Philly’s only Polish food truck, we offer scratch-made, natural, local-when-possible specialties that satisfy traditionalists, adventurous eaters and people who have never tasted a pierog (“pierogi” is plural) before. Primarily, we are known for our handmade pierogi, which are Polish dumplings seared on our grill, made with our tender dough. They’re stuffed with everything from the traditional potatoes and white cheddar cheese and topped with caramelized onions and served with sour cream, to other varieties like cheesesteak pierogi, pastrami Reuben pierogi in rye dough with homemade Thousand Island dressing, pepperoni pizza pierogi and more. We have sweets, too, like our “Elvis” pierogi: peanut butter fudge dumplings topped with bananas, bacon and honey. 

The combinations of what pierogi can be are endless, and it’s fun to experiment. We also always carry a variety of amazing kielbasa (Polish sausage) from awesome Philly purveyors; golabki, which are cabbage rolls stuffed with beef, pork and rice and baked in a buttery tomato sauce and topped with fresh dill. Our golabki have a cult following. We always have a rotation of soups and stews, like chlodnik, a chilled beet and buttermilk soup for summer, or bigos, a hunter’s stew, or pickle soup when we are feeling random. 

Your usual parking spot: We bounce around, but generally we’re at the Headhouse Square Farmers Market on the first and third Sunday of every month, at every Night Market; sometimes at local breweries (Yards, Philadelphia Brewing Company, Flying Fish, 2SP... we serve great beer food!); lots of festivals, catering/events, etc. 

Favorite customer(s): We love our customers who are from Poland or have grown up preparing and eating Polish food. One reason is that they know the time, effort and love that goes into making this food. The other reason is that they are so connected and passionate about Polish cuisine (read: skeptical), and it’s fun to win them over. Our other favorite customers are those who have never tried Polish food before; we like to try to enlighten people. 

Inspiration for your cart’s art: Our truck was designed by us in collaboration with Brands Imaging in West Kensington. We wanted to feature wycinanki on our cart, that colorful floral design which is based off of traditional Polish paper-cutting art. The color red is featured in part to represent the Polish flag. We wanted the cart to look attractive and fun, and for the colorful design to evoke Polish culture without immediately giving away the type of cuisine we make from afar. You have to approach us to know what we serve, and when people do, they’re usually pleasantly surprised that it’s something unique. It works to rope ‘em in!