Happy Pi(e) Day to all you Brunch with Bearees! For the non-nerds, pi day is called so because March 14, or 3-14, are the first three digits of a special mathematical number called pi (π). As I recall from sixth grade pre-algebra class, there’s a whole long backstory involving a Greek guy named Archimedes and a bunch of polygons (and possibly a secret society?), but the main concept is that pi is the number of times the diameter of a circle fits into its circumference. The fraction produces a number that has endless decimal places (3.141592653589793…etc. etc.) and now people around the world celebrate its existence on March 14 by reciting strings of nonsensical numbers and eating pie!
Pie as a concept generally falls into the “unsafe” category of foods, as many bakeries like to use lots and lots of butter, as well as other dairy products in the crusts. Luckily for the Brunch with Bear team, the new pie shop on Delancey, Petee’s Pie Company, offers a vegan (read: dairy free) selection along with its regular menu! (And if you’re one of our gluten-free pals, they do that too!) I first heard about Petee’s Pie Company last fall and ever since then, we have been eager to support Petee’s Pie Company and bring Bear along for the ride. When a not-that-awful morning in February arose, we jumped at the chance!
Petee’s Pie Company is located at 61 Delancey, just off the corner of the Delancey and the west side of Allen. It’s just a little more than a hop, skip, and a jump from the Delancey Street station on the F train, the Essex Street station on the M, J, and Z trains, the Bowery station on the J or Z train, and the Grand Street station on the B or D trains.
Petee’s Pie Company is tiny in real estate, but cavernous in its appearance. The sign outside declares, “We made you a pie,” and the personal touch is evident in the operation. The bakery is directly behind the counter, and there is little but a register and a glass case of pies separating customers from the process of pie-making itself.
Music plays while the staff sings along, and one of the bakers changed most of the words to reflect her love for pie. The whole vibe is like dropping in on a friend’s kitchen while she prepares for Thanksgiving; while the pies make your nose tingle with cinnamon and anticipation, you also feel a little jealous that your apartment could never be that Instagram-able.
The shop has a darling little driftwood ledge-counter hybrid where we enjoyed our slice, and they also display their pies and recent press proudly on the front counter. Though Petee’s boasts a selection of hot and cold beverages, the bakers were also happy to provide us with glasses of refreshing tap water, which helped us eat our pie at an accelerated rate. Probably the coolest part of the counter set-up was the iPad cash register, which allowed us to swipe and sign in a manner befitting the minimalist atmosphere. At six dollars a slice, Petee’s Pie Company is definitely on the more expensive end of snack foods, but our slice was enormous, filling, and even lovingly warmed for us by the baker herself!
The morning that we dropped by, the vegan pie selection was a Hudson Valley apple pie, an old favorite. When I was younger, I had apple pie instead of birthday cake most years because it was always easier to find an allergy-safe pie than it was to find an allergy-safe cake. Petee’s version is worth having every year instead of cake, regardless of allergies or not. The crust is thick and flaky, and just a tad saltier than I might expect. I used to hate the crusts of pies as a kid, but I found myself scraping up all the crumbs at Petee’s. On the inside, layers and layers of freshly sliced apples with a cinnamon-toast sweetness complemented the slightly salty crust with a richness not unlike the salty-sweet haze of kettle corn, which we could eat all day long.
Imagine Archimedes, in wonder of his own discovery, this strange phenomenon of geometry that has been the key to so much of modern architecture and engineering. Every warm slice of Pi Day pie should evoke that same wonder and delight, if only as a tribute to our ancient Greek friend. If you’re searching for that feeling of discovery, the epiphany that accompanies the emergence of a mathematical truth, we encourage you to indulge in a slice at Petee’s Pie Co. and you will not be disappointed.
Petee’s Pie Company is a precious gem among the piles of cubic zirconia that peppers the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The location is convenient for a day exploring SoHo, visiting the Tenement Museum, or bumming around Chinatown or Little Italy for the day. In addition, the bakers’ friendly understanding of food allergies and their exuberant love for pie made us feel comfortable, welcome, and fully taken care of, a rare experience at any bakery. Bear especially loved their font choice, and the way one of the bakers cooed over his beret—that Bear, always getting all the attention—and insists that we return again in the very near future!