Fullerton: Pies on the Rise on Chicago Dessert Scene
By Audrey Leon, Ally Clark and Britni Day
The Red Line Project
Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Of all the pastries to become in vogue this year, it's an old, familiar dessert that is poised to knock cupcakes off their public pedestal -- pies.
The flaky, sweet treat earned the top spot in “Good Housekeeping” magazine’s “Top 10 Food Trends of 2011” and it is even replacing the traditional cake at some weddings. Every media outlet from the New York Times to TV news magazine “Nightline” has declared that pie is making its comeback.
“We used to brainstorm names and daydream about a bakery,” said Dana Kruger, a pastry chef at Sweety Pies Bakery in Skokie.
The Kruger family opened Sweety Pies Bakery, 8042 Lincoln Ave., in late 2007. It was a dream that took many years to realize as Kruger’s mother Arden, a nurse, baked in her spare time. Soon after Kruger attended the French Pastry School of Chicago, the family was ready to open its own store.
“It’s nice to make things that we love,” Kruger said. “We get to make things the way we would for ourselves.”
While patrons can find cakes, cookies and other pastries available in the shop, pies are the house specialty.
“We have definitely (seen an increase),” Kruger said. “We’ve been selling a lot more pies.”
A recent Los Angeles Times article cited a NPD Group study that discovered Americans ate 722 million servings of pie in 2010, a steady increase from 2009.
It certainly hasn’t hurt that three of Sweety Pies’ signature pies – Chocolate Cashmere, Raspberry Pie Supreme and a chocolate pecan creation called Crocodile pie – were featured on local television show “Chicago’s Best.”
“That (TV program) really boosted people’s interest in our pies,” Kruger said.
Even with the increased profile, Sweety Pies still manages to be selective about its special orders, Kruger said.
“We’re doing a wedding this summer with vegan wedding pies,” she said. “Sometimes people want to switch it up.”
“We are definitely seeing people be more creative at weddings,” Kruger said.
Map: Locations of some of Chicago's pie shops and bakeries.
View Pies Pies Pies!!! in a larger map