Photos by Brian Addison.
For Laurie Gray, the phrase that “pie fixes everything” is more than a motto for her business, The Pie Bar—it’s an adage that runs deep in meaning given that, in less than a year, Gray has moved from a cottage business to opening a brick’n’mortar spot at 450 Pine Ave. in DTLB on June 3 beginning at noon.
The baker had a long career in banking and marketing and, like many, felt a pang of emptiness with her profession. Blessed? Of course. But aligned with her dreams? Not quite, as the nostalgia of her memories in Tacoma, Washington flooded her ambition—specifically the smell of apples’n’cinnamon and the art of creating the pie crust, as taught to her by her mother.
“After a long career, I needed something else so I started baking pies for family and friends for the holidays in 2014,” Gray said. “It took off I got my cottage food license but I soon outgrew my kitchen and I had to find a commercial kitchen to bake in.”
MADE in Long Beach on Pine became her first home outside her own kitchen, where the Pie Goddess would deliver her sugary, carb-y deliciousness to visitors at a weekly popup on Saturdays. That grew to delivering to 15 different coffee shops and restaurants—from Berlin to Steelhead, The Brass Lamp to Aroma di Roma.
Her dream has always been to own her space—and with the success of Pie Bar’s reach at spots like MADE in Long Beach and Berlin Bistro, it made sense to make the next big move to a brick’n’mortar. Thanks to the assistance of Catherine Morris, who took on the daunting task of showing Gray over 30 locations, 450 Pine proved to be the perfect space and Gray signed a five-year lease this past January.
“This is incredibly special for me,” Gray said, “To have a place where I can bake on site and serve delicious fresh baked pies warm from the oven… It’s genuinely wonderful.”
Almost as good as her Nutella Banana Hand Pies or Key Lime Pie or, or, or…
To assist with initial funding, Gray launched a Kickstarter campaign—and successfully raised enough money to open her doors come June 3.
“My hopes for the new space is that it will be a warm inviting place to come enjoy a warm slice of pie with ice cream,” Gray said. “Or maybe a Chicken Pot Pie with soup or a salad. Or start your day with a slice of quiche and a cup of coffee.”
Gray won’t stop at just coffee, which will be locally procured, but also serve up beer and wine because, after all, who doesn’t crave a slice of pie with a glass of vino every now and then?
“Pie is still one of the simple comforts in life. It reminds us of time spent with family.”
Amen to that. And yes, we’ll have another slice.