Pie, the ultimate comfort food, offers nostalgia in every bite. Especially at this time of year, even the most health-conscious diner might be willing to indulge in an irresistible slice of pie, perhaps in the perennially requested one slice, four forks manner.
The most traditional time to enjoy pie is during fall and winter holidays. According to an independent survey commissioned by the American Pie Council® and conducted by Nielsen, pie is the preferred dessert on Thanksgiving (pumpkin is the most popular choice), and a majority of respondents cited pie as their favorite Christmas dessert, too.
Holiday pies may come and go on dessert specials menus, but one Chicago-area restaurant is doing a booming business in year-round pie. Grange Burger Hall, an eatery on West Randolph Street, always has pie on the menu. This time of year, the choices are Pumpkin, served with hand-whipped cream, Michigan McIntosh apple, served à la mode with brown butter ice cream, and Vegan Chocolate Pudding, which is gluten- and dairy-free.
Handmade crust, Michigan fruit
“Our owner, Angela Lee, grew up in Michigan, eating homemade pies made by her mother,” says Lisa Weatherston, Manager, Happy Point Resto Group, which owns Grange. “Angela wanted to extend her love of pie to her guests, so we keep pie on our menu in every season.”
Attention to quality is a driving force at Grange, and that extends to the pies: “We make all of them in-house,” Weatherston says. “Our crusts are from Angela’s mother’s recipe, and the fruit we use comes directly from her family farm and neighboring farms in southwest Michigan. It’s a little town called Coloma, an area known for its strawberries, cherries, blueberries and apples.”
“It’s just love”
While pie is certainly not the highest-margin item on Grange’s menu, Weatherston feels that may be beyond the point: “Pie is not a huge money-maker, and it does take a lot of time and effort to make pies of this quality year-round. But it’s a friendly gesture for our loyal guests. It’s a sweet and loving end to a meal. It’s just love.”