Wildly popular pop-up Pie & Mighty sells out of pie weekly, at increasingly shocking speeds. The love of these pies from baker Rachel Swan and her partner/wife Karen “Ratchet” Mattison has reached a fever pitch, to the point that the small operation is left scrambling every week to keep up with the demands inside their borrowed kitchen space in a Minneapolis church basement. That is about to change with a new location on Chicago Avenue next to Jakeeno’s.
In the bakery’s weekly email, The Pie Loop, the duo announced plans for the new space and a crowdfunding initiative, they’re calling a FUNraiser, to remodel the vacant storefront into a sweet spot serving the neighborhood. The investment will be substantial, but the rewards will be pie and joy for anyone who wishes to sample crust-wrapped delicacies like strawberry rhubarb, lemon chess, peach, or Mannie’s chocolate. The new bakery will be a walk-up shop, to grab and go, plus a possible event space with the option of hosting some baking classes some day.
Swan was the opening general manager of newly-minted James Beard Award winner Ann Kim’s first restaurant, Pizzeria Lola. She dreamed of opening a pie shop and first honed her baking skills making pies of distinction at the now closed Storm King Barbecue restaurant. After that closure, she and Mattison branched out into a subscription-only bakery, utilizing a commercial kitchen in a church basement and turning out imaginative pies by request. Pop-ups have taken place with industry friends like Brake Bread Bakery on St. Paul’s West 7th Street and with Blk Mrkt St. P a barbecue stand, also in Saint Paul.
Pie making in the church basement reached capacity some months ago as word of mouth built up the business. Pies for Easter weekend were gone in less than 15 minutes. That was when they knew it was time to get serious about building the next level.
Jakeeno’s is a long-standing neighborhood Italian restaurant with legendary red sauce. There’s also a stand at Midtown Global Market and jarred sauce available on grocery shelves. The longevity of the family-owned business spoke to the Pie & Mighty team. Being situated beside them on Chicago Avenue seems to be a perfect fit.
Along with the space, Pie & Mighty would be able to expand the flavor options, offer pie subscriptions, and possibly even expand the menu into the savory pie realm.