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The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Pie Shop crosses dessert with punk rock for an unconventional bakery experience

Nick Perkins Photographer
The chocolate aroma wafted out of the box holding the berger cookie pie as soon as I popped it open. The soft texture of the custard contrasts the crunchy crumbled pieces of shortbread cookie that lay atop the pie.

Pie Shop isn’t any old hometown bakery.

Though the pastry shop has everything you’d expect of a modest bakery, Pie Shop on the H Street Corridor offers customers an unexpected twist – enjoy a sweet treat of your choice with a side of punk rock. While patrons can choose to indulge in a variety of sweet or savory pies, they can listen to the musical stylings of punk rockers dedicated to playing at this underground venue.

The venue is somewhat of a journey from Foggy Bottom – the Metro ride to Union Station and the subsequent walk through Northeast D.C. totals about 45 minutes. Upon entering the shop, the bakeshop’s affinity for rock music is immediately clear. Photos of rock artists line the walls as punk music plays from a speaker next to the counter. The entry floor of the two-floored shop is primarily devoted to the fresh pie portion of Pie Shop, with a lit-up sign near the speaker that reads “In Pie We Crust.”

After heading downstairs from the entrance, patrons 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 under the glow of the restaurant’s ship wheel chandeliers. There is ample seating in the small bakery, with multiple wooden tables and benches. Sounds of guitar riffs and song lyrics from the singer performing on the floor above jolt the shop to life from its otherwise subtle environment.

On my visit to Pie Shop, I ordered a slice of the berger cookie pie and a slice of the roasted apple cinnamon chess pie. Both were about palm-sized, came in metal tins and were 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 out of the oven.

The chocolate aroma wafted out of the box holding the berger cookie pie as soon as I popped it open. A warm buttermilk custard fills the middle of the pie and quickly melts in your mouth. The soft texture of the custard contrasts the crunchy crumbled pieces of shortbread cookie that lay atop the pie.

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

Granny Smith apple slices cover the roasted apple cinnamon chess pie slice, coated in cinnamon and filled with a sugar custard. While the filling is mostly flavorless aside from its extreme sweetness, it provides the necessary contrast to the tarty taste of the apple slices.

The upper floor of Pie Shop turns the rock-loving theme up a notch with live music that can captivate a crowd. To attend a show, one must purchase tickets for concerts ahead of time, with prices typically ranging from $10 to $15.

The music level features a bar and tables on one end and an open area in front of the stage on the other. Across from the bar, signed magazines, posters and photos commemorating the history of punk rock and the 12-year-old Pie Shop line the wall. Patrons can purchase merchandise for each night’s performer, also hanging along the wall.

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

Pilau, a D.C. based band, performed during my visit. The band is a Pie Shop veteran, first holding its debut concert together at the venue. The group is a heavy metal band that has been releasing music since 2020, and its third, most recent album dropped in February.

Grungy guitars, heavy drums and gravelly tunes set the tone as the band opened into a bellowing guitar riff. Jumping around and throwing his head back, the lead singer called out to the crowd to rally the Pie Shop audience, where people nodded their heads to the music and erupted with cheers after each song.

After the set was complete, a bakery employee went up to the band to ensure that they had each gotten some pie to complete the Pie Shop experience. A dining excursion filled with both pastries and head-banging music can only be found at Pie Shop, making it well worth the journey for anyone from pie-eaters to punk-rock lovers.

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