Shut Your Pie Hole
- agarnett100 Jun 6, 2012 01:19 PM
Best Name Ever for a place that sells pies.
Posted by Allison Goldstein on Jun. 6, 2012 at 10:36 am
Pie maker Shut Your Pie Hole plans to set up shop in Georgetown, marking the return of the Connecticut-Copperthite Pie Company to the city where it's got nearly 125 years of history.
Mike Copperthite, 56, great-great-grandson of Co Co Pie Co.’s founders Henry Clayton Copperthite and Johanna O’Neil, is heading the retail pie revival with the help of 13 family members.
Georgetown Patch reported that Shut Your Pie Hole debuted Saturday at Taste of Georgetown, selling over 800 slices of pie and donating all the proceeds to charity. Those 120 pies, though, are nothing compared to the 50,000 sold daily in Co Co Pie Co.’s early 20th century heyday.
Copperthite is finalizing a lease for a Georgetown flagship shop and won't disclose its location until the deal is complete, but the pie maker has already begun limited catering and wholesale. At some point in the future, Copperthite envisions a mobile phone app where customers can place “smart orders” and pick the desserts up at pie wagons near Metro stops around the city.
As far as the shop’s cheeky name, Copperthite says, “old people hate it and young people love it. It’s whimsical.” Despite the fresh title, inspired in part by the District's tendency to draw pundits and talking heads, the family is using artwork from 1909 to keep Co Co Pie Co.’s history part of the narrative.
According to the family, company founder Henry Copperthite learned baking trade skills working in delivery for a Connecticut baked goods company. It wasn’t until his 1870 honeymoon to D.C. that he and O’Neil discovered the seemingly perfect place to start a business of their own. Eventually, factory locations expanded from several in D.C. to others in Baltimore, throughout Virginia, Memphis, and Omaha—until the empire became part of the Ward Baking Company, now Hostess Brands.
Will the company’s original recipes have the same success as they did at the turn of the century? Copperthite isn’t worried. Competition, like Pie Sisters in Georgetown, doesn’t faze him, as he claims that Shut Your Pie Hole’s are “the second best pies you’ll ever have”—second only to those remembered from childhood. For the best of the second best, he recommends the blackberry pie.
“It’s about more than pie,” says Copperthite, “It’s a unique American story.” Curators at the Smithsonian Museum of American History seemingly agree: An original wagon from the Co Co Pie Co. can be found in the museum’s collection.
I agree but for a different reason. Georgetown is a serious PITA unless you are on a bike. Traffic is horrendous, parking all but non-existent. Pie Sisters in particular is in a terrible location. They are at the far end of Georgetown, across from the end of the Key Bridge. I've come down Canal Road and spent 30 minutes trying to get to the Key Bridge - no accidents, just a ton of traffic building up between the bridge and the Whitehurst. A light changes, maybe 3 cars get through. And then no parking anywhere in the area. All to buy a $35 pie. No thanks. I would rather spend my time going to get a wonderful pie up at the Catoctin Mountain Orchard for $14 and I don't have to give 24 hours notice. And I can also buy their fantastic fruits and veggies, picked that morning.
I personally do not get the love for Baked and Wired. I've tried several items and they were dry and flavorless. The best I could say is that they were not overly sweet.
But what is promising about this new place is the idea of having pie wagons near Metro stops so you can pick up your pie without having to go to Georgetown. Brilliant. My husband is a pie freak and although he hates the Metro, I predict he'll be finding excuses to take the Metro on days when he can pick up a pie at his stop!
If you are already in DC. But who wants to schlep to the Metro, deal with the Metro, get off at Union Station, take the circulator to Georgetown, buy the pie, and then reverse the whole thing? If you live in the burbs, that is at least 90 minutes. If they aren't single-tracking. If there aren't any system-wide delays. Better be one hell of a good pie.
And so we head into spring 2013 and no sign of this new place, except some kind of event on May 11 at the Georgetown Neighborhood Library to unveil a photograph of their old building, apparently taken in 1913. The website for this event is cocopieco.com (Connecticut Copperthite Pie Baking Co.) and it says nothing about a new retail location opening. They will also be at Taste of Georgetown (June 1) and the Georgetown House Tour (Apr 23-27) but that's pretty much it. It says their pies can be ordered from Starnut Gourmet in McLean, but neither website has a pie menu. They must be making and selling pies somewhere, but it is a mystery.