Pie Shop’s mix of pastry and punk – The GW Hatchet

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Media credit: Nick Perkins Photographer

The aroma of chocolate escaped the box containing the shepherd’s cookie pie as soon as I opened it. The soft texture of the custard contrasts with the crunchy shortbread cookie pieces that sit on top of the pie.

Pie Shop isn’t just any old local bakery.

Although the patisserie has everything you would expect from a modest bakery, Pie Shop on the H Street Corridor gives customers an unexpected twist – enjoy a sweet treat of your choice with a punk rock vibe. While patrons can choose to indulge in a variety of sweet or savory pies, they can listen to the musical styles of the dedicated punk rockers playing in this underground venue.

The place is sort of a journey from Foggy Bottom — the subway ride to Union Station and the subsequent walk through northeast DC totals about 45 minutes. Upon entering the shop, the bakery’s affinity for rock music is immediately apparent. Photos of rock artists line the walls while punk music plays over a speaker next to the counter. The ground floor of the two-story shop is mostly devoted to Pie Shop’s fresh pie serving, with a lighted sign near the loudspeaker reading “In Pie We Crust.”

After stepping down from the entrance, customers can order pies by the slice ($7-$9) or by the pie ($36-40) at a counter in the back. Pies can be ordered hot or at room temperature, and you can enjoy them by the glow of the restaurant’s wheel chandeliers. There are plenty of seats in the small bakery, with several wooden tables and benches. Sounds of guitar riffs and song lyrics from the singer performing upstairs bring the boutique to life in its otherwise subtle surroundings.

While visiting Pie Shop, I ordered a slice of Shepherd’s Cookie Pie and a slice of Roasted Apple Cinnamon Chess Pie. Both were about the size of a palm, presented in metal boxes and placed in paper boxes. You can eat the pie with your hands after the first few bites, but not too soon, lest your slice fall apart, soft and fresh from the oven.

The aroma of chocolate escaped the box containing the shepherd’s cookie pie as soon as I opened it. A warm buttermilk custard fills the middle of the pie and quickly melts in your mouth. The soft texture of the custard contrasts with the crunchy shortbread cookie pieces that sit on top of the pie.

A dollop of chocolate syrup sits in the middle of the slice, which certainly surprised me but provided an extra burst of sweetness for the pie. My only criticism is that the slice arrived lukewarm, even though I ordered it hot.

Slices of Granny Smith apple cover the slice of roasted apple and cinnamon chess pie, coated in cinnamon and filled with a sugar pastry cream. Although the filling is mostly flavorless aside from its extreme sweetness, it provides the needed contrast to the tart taste of the apple slices.

Pie Shop’s upper floor takes the rock theme up a notch with live music that can captivate a crowd. To attend a show, you have to buy tickets for concerts in advance, with prices generally ranging from $10 to $15.

The musical level features a bar and tables on one side and an open space in front of the stage on the other. Opposite the bar, autographed magazines, posters and photos commemorating the 12-year history of punk rock and the Pie Shop line the wall. Customers can purchase merchandise for each night’s performer, also hanging on the wall.

The show I attended started 50 minutes late, so you shouldn’t stress too much about getting to a show on time. If you arrive too early, take a breath of fresh air on the terrace, which adjoins an ivy wall with more seating.

Pilaf, a DC-based band, performed when I visited. The group is a Pie Shop veteran, having first played their first gig together on location. The band is a heavy metal band that has been releasing music since 2020, and their third and final album was released in February.

Grungy guitars, heavy drums and gritty tunes set the tone as the band opened with a bellowing guitar riff. Jumping up and throwing his head back, the lead singer called on the crowd to rally the Pie Shop audience, where people nodded to the music and burst into joy after each song.

After the decor was complete, a bakery employee approached the group to make sure they each had a pie to complete the Pie Shop experience. A culinary excursion filled with both baked goods and upbeat music can only be found at the Pie Shop, well worth it for everyone from pie eaters to punk-rock fans.

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