Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) honored the life of Kasia Bober, entering a statement into the Congressional Record. Bober, who passed away at the age of 80 earlier this month, was an immigrant from Poland who arrived in Chicago without her three children and worked several jobs until she could open her own deli and reunite with her family.
“Kasia’s pierogi are so well-known that at least three U.S. Presidents have eaten them while in Chicago,” Durbin said. “It’s quite the story for an immigrant who worked seven days a week at multiple jobs while chasing her own American dream. Up until her passing, Kasia could still be found working at her namesake deli in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood. Chicago’s ‘Pierogi Queen’ may be gone, but she will not soon be forgotten.”
The complete text of the Congressional Record statement appears below:
Senator Richard J. Durbin
Statement for the Congressional Record
June 29, 2016
Mr. President, I rise today to note the passing earlier this month of a treasured member of Chicago’s Polish community, Kasia Bober, at the age of 80.
Back in August of 2005, I introduced a bill to grant Honorary Posthumous Citizenship to Casimir Pulaski. I held a press conference in Chicago at the Polish Museum of America in front of a giant painting of Pulaski at the Battle of Savannah. Afterward, I sat down with leaders from the Polish community to discuss various issues. Kasia joined us for the meeting and brought those famous pierogi and other treats from her deli. I learned first-hand why some consider her the “Pierogi Queen” of Chicago.
Kasia’s story is like many immigrant stories in the great melting pot of Chicago. She came to the United States in 1974 in search of a better life. At first, she lived with relatives and was separated from her three children who remained in Poland. But after years of hard work, she was finally able to reunite with her children and open her own deli. Kasia’s cooking quickly became a hit—especially her potato and cheese pierogi. Customers began to call from different states, which led to Kasia’s pierogi being available today in 26 states.
Kasia’s pierogi are so well-known that at least three U.S. Presidents have eaten them while in Chicago. In an article that appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, her granddaughter recalled that President George H.W. Bush dined on Kasia’s pierogi while visiting the Copernicus Center, President Bill Clinton had some at the Taste of Chicago, and President Barack Obama ate a few during a Sister Cities festival. Polish labor leader Lech Walesa also enjoyed Kasia’s cooking on a trip to Chicago.
It’s quite the story for an immigrant who worked seven days a week at multiple jobs while chasing her own American dream. Up until her passing, Kasia could still be found working at her namesake deli in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood. Chicago’s “Pierogi Queen” may be gone, but she will not soon be forgotten.
I offer my condolences to Kasia’s daughters, Barbara Jakubowicz and Maria Kordas; her son Christopher; her sisters Janina and Jozia; her six grandchildren and her great-grandchild.
(Senator Durbin Office)
Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/EPA