Starting off a pop-up in the course of the pandemic? Easy as (Edith’s) pie! – J.

Mike Raskin never imagined he’d be a chef, and thus beginning a pie corporation also did not determine into his future programs. But inquire the Berkeley native about his culinary recollections, and the appreciation for pie serves as a by line. It also presents hints as to how he arrived to start out Edith’s Pie, a well known pop-up that he intends to convert into a brick-and-mortar store when he has almost everything in location.

Named following Raskin’s mother, Berkeley’s Edie Hoffman, Edith’s Pie just lately marked its year anniversary, launching at the commencing of the pandemic. “My mom makes actually extraordinary pies,” he noted. (Hoffman was director of human resources and administration at the S.F.-primarily based Jewish Community Federation from 2000 to 2003.)

Just lately enthusiasts have been capable to choose up seasonal pies at the Alice Collective in downtown Oakland on Saturday mornings, and at Grand Espresso in San Francisco’s Mission District on Friday afternoons. Shortly, they’ll also be available at Albany’s Picnic Rotisserie.

Raskin has been marketing about 100 pies per week. Like most pop-ups, Edith’s Pies lists the week’s types on Instagram early in the 7 days they are readily available for preorder until finally they market out online, with some 50 percent pies and slices out there for walk-ups. Normal offerings incorporate a savory pie, these kinds of as a vegetable quiche — “because I really like the plan of pie for breakfast, but you can’t often have pie for breakfast,” Raskin said — two or three seasonal fruit pies and a custard pie in a salted graham cracker crust, these as mango enthusiasm fruit meringue or strawberry crucial lime pie with macerated strawberries. Not long ago, Raskin added frozen hand pies, this kind of as spinach and goat cheese and spiced lamb and day.

Edith’s Pie associates Mike Raskin (correct) and Jeffrey Wright. (Photograph/Senny Mau)

It appears necessary that a Bay Place pie enterprise will have to resource its fruits and veggies from area farms, and Edith’s does (apart from for the much more tropical fruit like bananas and mangos.)

The week we tried the pies, we sampled a combined stone fruit pie, an apricot blackberry pie and caramel banana product pie. Fruit fillings are densely packed and not extremely sweetened. Although the entire pie is excellent, the crusts are worthy of exclusive point out. Some of the fruit pies are topped with large crystals of demerara sugar, offering a sparkly sheen, and the custard pies’ graham cracker crusts are saltier than most, by layout.

When Raskin was a center-schooler growing up in Berkeley, he participated in the Edible Schoolyard system developed by Alice Waters. Right after attending UC Santa Cruz, in which he examined financial inequality and labor justice, he briefly labored in union arranging in advance of heading back to cafe work, which he had done in school.

I love the strategy of pie for breakfast, but you can’t generally have pie for breakfast.

Raskin said his paternal grandmother’s seders and other relatives gatherings in Detroit were “the most mind-boggling whirlwind of cooking and food items.” As a chef — he’s labored as a butcher in Chicago and opened a restaurant in Baja, California, amongst other ventures — he’s generally been partial to serving dishes household-design, something that comes mostly from his memories of those foods, he stated. They’d implore his grandmother to sit down at the table laden with foods, wherever she’d sit for a next in advance of insisting they essential an additional incredibly hot vegetable and returning to the kitchen area.

“She was an incredible cook dinner. She and her friends at her temple wrote a cookbook with each other of their household recipes,” he stated. He was deeply offended when, yrs later, he learned that the flavor of her popular brisket recipe arrived from very little additional than onion powder, garlic powder, ketchup and soy sauce. “I grew up imagining it was this exceptionally advanced, all-working day method.”

But all over his daily life, there often seemed to be pie. All through his time in Chicago, he learned that “getting pie in the Midwest was completely a factor.” On Fridays he’d typically go out of his way to get a specific of three mini slices of pie on his way to work.

Again in the Bay Location, in November 2019 he and his husband or wife made 20 pies to market at Thanksgiving. From that week on, he commenced experimenting with pie, building a single new recipe every single 7 days.

a pie with red filling and impeccable lattice crust on top
Strawberry rhubarb pie from Edith’s Pie. (Image/Adahlia Cole)

And then the pandemic happened. By sheer luck, his condominium had two ovens, and he held his 1st pie pop-up in late April 2020. Due to the fact comfort and ease food grew to become this kind of a hallmark of the pandemic, it was fortuitous timing.

In normal, he mentioned, his pie philosophy isn’t significantly unique from numerous of the Bay Area’s cooks when it comes to food stuff as a total: “We’re surrounded by amazing produce, and I have often believed in ‘let the substances do the work,’ and pie is a great medium for that,” he claimed. “It’s a typical, basic food stuff that, when completed suitable, is substantially a lot more than the sum of its sections.”

Though Raskin started out Edith’s Pie himself, he now has a lover. Jeffrey Wright is a hospitality experienced who will work as a guide for modest food enterprises, supporting them to extend.

“We’re on the exact website page about what we want to see in the hospitality entire world and the way we want to operate a enterprise,” stated Wright.

They’d each like to see the sector consider much better care of its personnel in “not abusing people’s labor or their time, and prioritizing people-forward practices, like creating our eventual rewards to middle mental health, for example,” stated Raskin. “We want to be section of the alter in how the hospitality sector treats its workers.”

A edition of this post initially appeared on Berkeleyside Nosh. Used by permission.