Kim Keene

Kim Keene shows off a picturesque pie at Pie Shop in Buckhead.

Mims Bledsoe believes in the power of pie.

The philosophy-major-turned-entrepreneur two months ago opened Pie Shop in Buckhead, where now her sister, Ida, and childhood friend Kim Keene, work. It’s behind a dry cleaners at 3210 E. Roswell Road, a small but serviceable work space where the women peel peaches, create crusts and share in the joys of creating the perfect pie.

Mims said it’s not as easy as people think.

“The Los Angeles Times and a lot of nationally recognized news sources said pie will be the largest food trend in 2011,” Mims said. “That hasn’t proven to be the case because pie is difficult. Yogurt and cupcakes take over the city because they’re easier to mass produce.”

Of course, running any sort of business these days is a dicey proposition. With the country still uncertain of whether it wants to pull itself out of the Great Recession, Mims is confident in her product. “I think we have something to offer,” Mims said. “I think in a down economy people are looking for something nostalgic and comforting. At $4.60 a slice, it’s a small splurge.”

Whole pies are between $30 and $35, she said.

The menu offers a selection of sweet and savory foods. The menu changes, too. The Aug. 14 menu included Chicken, Lemon and Thyme pie and Fried Blueberry Pies. The store hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and recently the store started staying open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Mims and the crew said they like the company. Come by after dinner. Grab a slice. Get a cup of the Batdorf and Bronson coffee. Stay a while.

If special orders are what the customer wants, Pie Shop is happy to oblige. On Aug. 12, Ida sliced up some pretty peaches for a custom pie. Keene studied at the Culinary Institute at Chattahoochee Technical College and has worked as a professional chef since 2006. Mims is a self-taught baker who developed Pie Shop’s first recipes through trial and error. Cooks differ on what makes a good flaky pie crust; some prefer Crisco while others use old-fashioned hog lard. At the Pie Shop they use only butter.

“The secret is good, fresh ingredients and having a good imagination,” Keene said.

The women said they work with traditional recipes as well as create their own.

And while the combinations may be daring (take the sweet potato, blue cheese and red onion pie, for example) Mims said the idea is pretty straightforward. The philosophy major said she approaches pie with a “preservation ethic.”

“I see pie making as a dying art,” she said.

But at Pie Shop, it’s alive and well.

– Written by Dan Whisenhunt

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