2533 Seventh St. (near Parker Street), Berkeley
For the past couple of years, award-winning pastry chef Angela Pinkerton has been putting out some of the finest pies in the Bay Area, taking her expertise from fine dining at Eleven Madison Park in NYC, and folding it into grandma-inspired butter bombs sold under the name Pie Society. Originally, her west Berkeley kitchen only sold preorders for pickup, but now customers can sit down and stay a while, as she’s opened a “pie patio” with tables and umbrellas right outside the shop.
“You can come and grab a slice and have a cup of coffee,” Pinkerton told Nosh of the outdoor expansion. “You could have a slice of warm chicken pot pie for lunch and take home a whole pie for dinner as a treat.”
The new pie patio is tucked away in a quiet industrial area, with Bayer pharmaceutical and Kaiser medical offices both nearby, and food businesses like Rare Barrel brewery sprinkled in. Walking or driving along Seventh, those with good pie radar will spot a black-and-white handwritten sign, inviting you into a cozy outdoor space that’s sheltered from the wind and gets ample sun in the afternoon.
Patrons order from the front door of the bakery, where they’ve set up a butcher’s block counter and glass pie case. Then snag a seat at one of four white tables under blue umbrellas, separated by Meyer lemon, lime and Buddha’s-hand citrus trees.
Those who visit in person will be rewarded by Pie Society’s seasonal menu, as well as surprise items not available online. Pinkerton serves half a dozen sweet pies, several savory pies, a few cookies and granola for good measure, and she refreshes flavors every month.
At this writing, the Halloween Frankenpie (a monster mash of six different flavors) has just retired for the season, making way for the highly anticipated Thanksgiving lineup: The roasted pumpkin that’s a smooth blend of red kuri and kabocha squashes, pecans and walnuts laced with bourbon and chocolate, and tart apples and cranberries topped with oat streusel.
The bestselling passionfruit meringue and chocolate mud pies often make appearances, as well as savory quiches and chicken pot pie (topped with scallion biscuits!). And what is pie without coffee? The choices are hot drip or cold brew, courtesy of Bicycle Coffee Company in Oakland.
Pie Society will take Thanksgiving preorders through November 13 or until sold out. A limited number of pies will also be available for walk-ins the Wednesday and Thursday of Thanksgiving, if you’re feeling lucky. Beyond Berkeley, preorders are available for pickup at Dolores Deluxe in San Francisco and delivery through BentoCart across the Bay Area.
The way Pie Society now spills out of its kitchen is a healthy indicator of how the pandemic-prompted bakery has grown. Pie Society once occupied just a portion of this space, which it shared with several other food businesses. Now it’s just them and one other maker, as the bakery has grown to take over much of the 2,900 square feet.
And originally, Pie Society was only open a couple days a week, passing out preorders to pickup customers. “We were selling out of the back door, and people were like, ‘Oh, there’s nowhere to sit!’” Pinkerton said.
“And we were like yeah. It was kind of rinky dink.” But Pie Society is officially open a full five days a week, for both advance orders and people who want to dine on the spot. And speaking of preorders: Pinkerton anticipates another hectic holiday season, and fair warning, she’s likely to sell out. So start making your holiday pie plans now, as she’s closing the list 10 days before Thanksgiving or when she runs out of pies, whatever happens first.
The Pie Patio is open for slices and coffee Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 2533 Seventh St., Berkeley, CA 94710.
Featured image: The view behind one of Pie Society’s racks of desserts. Credit: Pie Society