We're grownups, so we get to eat pie any time of year, in any weather, and for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, whether we're craving something sweet or savory. So we don't need anyone to tell us to eat more pie on March 14 — we were going to do it anyway. But some clever pie lover applied a little circular logic and came up with Pi Day so that we can celebrate pie the food (because it's usually round), and pi, 3.14, which serves as the mathematical basis for all things round. You can use pi in the kitchen to calculate the circumference or area of your baked goods and even the quantity of luscious apple filling or silky chocolate custard you're about to stuff in your gullet. With that in mind, put on your stretchy pants and get ready to enjoy Pi Day with sweet and savory creations at ten Denver restaurants and bakeries.
Blueberry Pie at Wednesday's Pies1422 Larimer Street
Chef/restaurateur Frank Bonanno's caramel apple pie is a year-round favorite, but the seasonal blueberry pie at his underground bakery, Wednesday's Pie, also sings with pastry magic. The berries are firm and mostly whole, so when you take a bite, each one pops in your mouth. The blueberry filling is paired with bright lemon curd over a toothsome crust, offering all the sweet, tart and fruity flavors you want in a baked dessert. Located in the front of Russell's Smokehouse downtown, the shop sells four rotating pies you can order by the slice or take home whole. Or you can cap off a meaty meal at the smokehouse with a perfect wedge of dessert.
Campfire Chocolate Cream Pie at Olive & Finch3390 East First Avenue
Chocolate pie may be the culmination of dessert evolution, and the gooey, luscious campfire chocolate cream pie at chef Mary Nguyen's Olive & Finch lands at the top of the bakery food chain. It's all your childhood s'mores memories layered into a single slice, minus the mosquitoes and smoke in your eyes. Instead, a hint of smoke comes out in the toasted marshmallow atop the rich, double-chocolate cream filling, all nestled into a lightly spiced graham cracker crust. Order this beauty ahead of time and pick it up, or take your chances that the Cherry Creek shop is serving it.
Caramelized Apple Pie at the Bindery
1817 Central Street
If apple pie is your thing (and if it's not, who are you, anyway?), you will want to pre-order Bindery pastry chef Arielle Israel's stunning example of the style. After working for esteemed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten in New York City, Israel was inspired to create her own take on his famous caramelized apple pie. Under a delicate spun-caramel bow and a tiny hill of oat crumble, you'll find perfectly cooked apple slices that have been caramelized before being arranged in a buttery, slightly salty braided crust. The fruit maintains a little bit of a bite, giving texture to the lush, saucy filling. Order a week in advance to give the kitchen notice, but if you have an immediate craving for pie, you can stay for dinner and tuck into chef/owner Linda Hampsten Fox's rabbit pie, a delectable dish on the savory side of the menu.
The Drunken Nut at Long I Pie 321 East 45th Avenue (inside Fort Greene)
Baker Shauna Lott takes the unusual step of baking her pies in cast-iron pans, selling large and small versions all over the city under the Long I Pie name. She doesn't have a bakery you can visit, but you can order seasonal and year-round pies for pickup at Fort Greene in Globeville or for delivery from her commercial kitchen on Saturdays and Sundays. Staples include Julia's PBJ pie, shoo-fly pie, and the Drunken Nut, a wonderful bourbon, chocolate and pecan mixture that's just as good in March as it is on the Thanksgiving table. Lott offers a pie-of-the-month club; you can send her a request on the Long I Pie website. If you lack the patience to wait for a pie of your own, come to the Rocky Mountain Microfinance Institute (1209 West Tenth Avenue) between 4 and 7 p.m on Thursday, March 14, for a free Pi Day happy hour, where Lott will be serving her pies.
Hand Pies at Bistro Georgette
3200 Pecos Street
Chef Ty Leon knows his pie, and with one glance at his creations at Bistro Georgette inside Avanti Food & Beverage, you'll be salivating. While Leon's sweet pies stun with flavor, the savory hand pies also stand out. "We like to take traditional French flavors and dishes and turn them into a handheld item," says Leon, who stuffs his semi-circular pies with beef bourguignon or roasted mushroom with parmesan cheese, as well other French-inspired mixtures. Each hand pie has a distinct crimp to it and is made with Leon's flaky, buttery dough. The fillings rotate and evolve, so make sure you ask what's new. "We experiment a lot with other flavors, like French onion, ham and cheese, and samosa," he adds. "I think the reason I love making hand pies the most is because we get to eat them, a lot of them." And you can, too, on Pi Day and every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Key Lime Pie at Fish N Beer
3510 Larimer Street
At Fish N Beer in RiNo, the key lime pie comes topped with a sugar-dusted cloud of Italian meringue so light it threatens to float away from the plate. A good two fingers of airy meringue rest atop tart key lime curd in a graham cracker crust. While a slice appears hefty, it's actually so ethereal you could down more than one without hesitation. The pie comes at the end of chef Antonio Herrera Ramirez's new spring menu, which just launched after a fire closed the restaurant for four months. But follow our lead and get dessert first to live out your sweet-tart key lime dreams, then go for some grilled oysters.
Pork and Green Chile Hand Pies at Hinman's Bakery
4850 East 39th Avenue
Something about a warm, savory pastry just seems right on a chilly spring day. At Hinman's Bakery, the umami-rich hand pies pop out of the oven at about 11 a.m. in an array of flavors such as chicken portabella mushroom, ham with Swiss cheese and, in true Colorado fashion, pork green chile. This one proves smoky and rich, meaty and filled with the comforting Southwestern flavors that locals crave. The wholesale bakery isn't really for hanging out at, so order a pile in advance and then hole up for the weekend and indulge.
Rhubarb Ice Box Pie at Arcana
909 Walnut Street, Boulder
Ice box pie is a classic Southern dessert made in the summer when the days are hot and folks don't want to crank up the oven and bake. The chilly treat is built from cold ingredients and kept in the fridge, or, way back when, in an ice box. Expect it to be cool, no matter the time of year. At Arcana in Boulder, sous-chef Luke Miller has taken the traditional lemon ice box pie and replaced with a spring favorite, rhubarb. Not only that, but it's a vinegar pie, so the sugar in the filling is balanced with sharp acidity, all encased in a buttery Ritz Cracker crust. Each slice gets topped with slices of macerated rhubarb and whipped crème fraîche.
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Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies at Smok
3330 Brighton Boulevard
Two ingredients that scream spring are the oft-combined strawberries and rhubarb. At Bill Espiricueta's RiNo barbecue joint, Smok, inside the Source Hotel + Market Hall, the chef builds his strawberry rhubarb dessert as a hand pie. Each half-moon treat comes glazed in sugar and proves perfect for eating on the go, or as a small bite after indulging in mounds of tasty meat. This sweet-tart dessert will be available through the spring, but on Pi Day, you can get one for just $3.14.
The Stout at the Pasty Republic4166 Tennyson Street
Matt Cherry bought the Pasty Republic in Berkeley at the end of 2016, and since then, he's pushed to bring the British-style pasty (which rhymes with nasty, not hasty) into the mainstream. Yes, there's plenty of steak, potato and rutabaga, but also chicken, lamb, carrots, cheese and other tasty ingredients. One favorite is the Stout, a hearty half-moon stuffed with beef, gorgonzola and onions. It comes out piping hot and big enough for a full meal. Just be careful with this one (and the others); hot juices spew out as you bite in, so you may be better off breaking with handheld tradition and eating your pasty with a knife and fork.