Many families have a tradition or two. In a quick survey of our team members we’ve discovered that traditions are often quite different: one person’s family celebrates the holidays with tacos and homemade guacamole, another will have crepes for breakfast and a third will begin a holiday morning with a family horseback ride.
In the case of Matt Heffner in Los Angeles, his family is all about pie—they’ll bring pie to any holiday celebration or backyard barbecue. When he was a child, he and his mother always had the “someday” dream of opening a cafe to serve their family’s go-to dessert. That dream became a reality a couple of years ago with the opening of The Pie Hole in the Los Angeles Arts District.
To open the cafe, Matt teamed up with Sean Brennan, a veteran in the food and service industry. Visiting their shop is about more than just getting your sugar fix—it’s an experience. “With something as important and American as pie, we had to focus on community, ” Sean told us.
The cafe serves as a meeting place; we spotted at least a couple of tables during our visit filled with plates of pie and mugs of coffee along with notebooks and laptops. Upon moving into their space in the Arts District, they worked to establish relationships with neighboring businesses and residents in the apartments nearby. They wanted their neighbors to feel like they were family.
The kitchen at the shop is run by pastry chef Beth Kellerhals. She whips up a daily assortment of pies, both meat and sweet. The menu changes daily, so it’s best to visit early in the day to make sure you’ll be able to nab a slice of her current favorite flavor, Earl Grey Tea.
What’s so great about baking pie for Beth? She can really do anything with it! A pie can contain any combination of flavors and textures. A few notable favorites at the shop are the Mexican Chocolate with a graham cracker crust and dark chocolate filling, and the Maple Custard with a gooey center and slightly brûléed top.
In the buzzing Arts District neighborhood, The Pie Hole has become the go-to place for a sweet treat, either to be enjoyed in the sunny cafe space or taken home to be part of a new tradition.
Photos by Collin Hughes