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A Cleveland favorite combined with a Hawaiian staple — introducing the Spamrogi

Local chefs answered News 5 anchor Danita Harris's culinary challenge
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Posted at 9:42 AM, Feb 02, 2023

CLEVELAND — On Tuesday, in the midst of Cleveland Pierogi Week, News 5 anchor and noted Spam connoisseur Danita Harris issued a challenge to the chefs of Cleveland: a Spam pierogi.

“I want two versions – I want the potatoes and some chopped-up Spam, or sauerkraut and some chopped-up Spam, and I want to see if anyone’s going to do it — sauerkraut and the Spam or little potatoes and the Spam. I think that would be a great Spamrogi,” Danita said, coining a new culinary term in the process.

Ask, and you shall receive, Danita.

Not one, but two restaurants participating in Cleveland Pierogi Week rose to the challenge. Gunselmen’s Tavern in Fairview Park and the Great Lakes Brewing Company answered the call. Great Lakes even invited Danita out Wednesday to taste the specials on their menu this week, and, of course, their take on the Spamrogi.

“We saw your challenge. We know you wanted to see a restaurant come out with a Spam pierogi, a Spamrogi, as it was so lovingly called,” said Adam Ritterspach, Great Lakes’ multimedia coordinator. “We don’t usually do special requests, but we’re doing this just for you. This is only for you. We’re making it one time.”

The brewery and restaurant presented Danita with Sophie’s Natural Pierogi, made with everyone’s favorite canned meat. It was stuffed with cabbage from the Oberlin Food Hub, topped with some edible flowers, and glazed with Great Lakes Christmas Ale, “so a little bit different,” Ritterspach said.

With one bite, Danita was in potted meat heaven, reaching a state of Spamvana and doing a happy dance as she chowed down on the bespoke culinary fusion.

Back in the studio on Thursday, Danita shared the Spamrogis from both Great Lakes and Gunselmen’s with co-anchor Mike Brookbank and meteorologist Trent Magill.

The verdict? Both Spamrogis were delicious, so much so that they may have converted Mike to the Spam life.

“This Spam was good,” Mike said. “I’ve given it a bad rap – I had never had it before.”

Gunselmen’s even put their Spamrogi on their menu, much to Danita’s appreciation and delight.

“You can order it on the menu, but no one’s ordered it so far,” Mike said.

Great Lakes and Gunselmen’s are just two of the 30 local restaurants participating in Cleveland Pierogi Week, offering deals on pierogis of all types, including at least three pierogis for $8.

You can even track your progress with the Cleveland Pierogi app, and if you check in at four participating restaurants, you have a chance to win $250 in gift cards.

The 2nd Annual Cleveland Piergoi Week wraps up Sunday – click here for details.

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