When Wednesday's Pie opened in 2010 as the front for chef/restaurateur Frank Bonanno's speakeasy, Green Russell, beneath Larimer Square, pies were only sold on Wednesdays (as the name suggests). After minor adjustments over the past seven years, though, the little diner-style foyer is now open daily for those looking to order, pick up or sit down for housemade pie.
Pastry chef Joy Williams started with Bonanno Concepts last October and has been making a few changes of her own to entice pie lovers with new flavors and occasional specials. One of them popped up on social media earlier this week and required immediate exploration: cheddar cheese ice cream as an apple-pie topper.
This stroke of genius came to Williams as she was contemplating ways to use ice cream flavors to enhance the pie-eating experience. "Ice cream has always been my thing," she says, so she set out to capture the flavor of a classic apple-pie topper in frozen form.
At first the experiments led nowhere; standard cheddar cheese proved unwilling to meld nicely into an ice cream base. But then she came across jars of cheddar cheese powder at Savory Spice Shop, an ingredient that proved perfect for adding a dose of cheddar flavor and color without compromising the silky texture she wanted. Cheddar cheese ice cream went from a far-off dream to an instant success with friends and co-workers, so Williams used it as the first off-menu, social-media special that will occasionally run at Wednesday's Pie. The salty-savory notes of the cheese go nicely with the shop's caramel apple pie; Williams says she adds a touch of salt to the crust and filling, which also contains a hint of lemon and ginger. The resulting combo is ideal for those who love a complex interplay of flavors without overwhelming sweetness.
The baker says she'll continue to put out off-menu specials on the pie shop's Instagram account. For those seeking a daily dose, Wednesday's Pie always has the caramel apple pie, and three other styles change regularly: one custard, one cocktail-themed and one seasonal or chocolate pie. You can order them online for pickup or sit down at the shop (with some French-press coffee) or at Green Russell and Russell's Smokehouse (down the same stairway).
Four of Bonanno's other restaurants — Osteria Marco, Luca, Mizuna and Bones — serve mini-pies in creative flavors from Williams. For example, check out the pandan-coconut cream pie with coconut jam currently available at Bones. And since today is Wednesday, it's a perfect day for a Wednesday's Pie.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.