A little pie shop… and a different pie story –
by Chef Deb Traylor.
As we approach the final restoration and finish work at Ginger and Baker and sprint through the last weeks before we actually open, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the journey.
I believe it was around 2010 and I was washing dishes after catering an event at the Graham’s when Ginger casually mentioned that she’d always wanted to open a pie shop. I even recall thinking, “how fun, people really love pie,” but that was just a passing thought. Fast forward several years and once again the topic of pie came up, but this time Ginger spoke more in depth. She talked about how happy people were when she brought a pie or two to an event and that so many friends had touching pie memories that they wanted to share. She talked about how connections were made, hearts were soothed and celebrations occurred… often with a slice of pie.
Cranberry Gingersnap (left), Lemon Meringue Pie (front and center). All pies in this post were created by our head baker, Rachel Brickel.
We also discussed how universal pies can be and how pie is represented all over the world. Whether it’s sweet or savory empanadas in Latin America, flaky spinach spanakopita in Greece, hearty sausage-filled Easter pie in Italy, or curried Jamaican meat “patties,” everywhere you look, you can see pie. From Africa to the Middle East, South America to Scandinavia, almost every culture offers some sort of delicious filling between a layers of dough and wherever you go, those pies are a source of comfort and memories.
By this point, the wheels were turning and Ginger decided to turn her pie dreams into and actual pie story! Along the way I asked if she’d consider letting me put my hat in the running to help make her dream a reality. Luckily for me she said “yes!” To begin, this was her criteria; first, she wanted to be in Old Town Fort Collins; second, we were only going to sell pie – sliced or whole, sweet and savory, but just pie!; lastly, she wanted it to be fun. Pie can’t take itself too seriously, and nothing was out of bounds. Because if you think about it, anything can be turned into pie!!
(Over The) Moon Pie – Chocolate crisp rice cereal crust, chocolate ganache, chocolate pastry cream, homemade marshmallow fluff, chocolate drizzle.
We began looking for tiny little spaces all over Fort Collins, and it seemed that nothing was really going to work out. That was until Ginger and Jack found the former Feeder’s Supply building, a beautiful old grain mill with a century of history and community connection, located in a section of town that seemed almost forgotten. The building was on the historical registry and needed so much work to be restored; there were federal and local historic guidelines that we had to adhere to while meeting today’s safety and access standards. Often times the two were at odds. This building needed someone with vision who was not afraid of a challenge. Luckily, Ginger knew the right person who could take it on. Her husband, Jack Graham! We owe a lot to Jack for his helping create great spaces through design and construction so our dreams could expand.
Yep, the sweet little pie shop slowly began to become so much more. A new building was added and the pie story took on a few more “ingredients” – two restaurants, a market, coffee bar, teaching kitchen and event spaces on the top floor of the mill and the wine cellar below!
The Ginger and Baker pie story began simply enough, just as all pies do, but through a little attention, and a whole lotta love and collaboration, we’ve created something with even more possibility – and we can’t wait to share it with all of you. We are eternally grateful for those of you who’ve been with us since the beginning through the hard work, sighs and laughter. We also can’t wait to meet all of you new friends joining us in the next chapter of our pie story!
Classic Pumpkin Pie with Candied Pecans.