For Leslie Coale-Mossman and Darcy Schein, what started as a simple playdate has evolved into Pie Junkie—Oklahoma City’s only self-contained pie shop and the newest retail venture in the city’s thriving Plaza District.
The pair met when their oldest daughters were in a Mother’s Day Out program together. “We started having playdates and Darcy ended up moving about a block away,” Leslie explains. “Our husbands worked a lot, so our playdates often turned into dinner. We realized that we were both pretty good cooks and other friends soon starting asking us to cook for their events. It started to grow and that’s when we realized that we could really do this.”
It Started with One Pie
After getting the necessary licenses, Leslie and Darcy began catering small events out of the certified kitchen at a local church. Soon, they were asked to make a dessert for S&B Burger Joint on NW 59th and May. “Basically, we decided to make a pie and see what happened,” Leslie explains. “It started with one pie. Then it was two pies. Then, it turned into delivering pies a few times a week.”
When S&B expanded with a new location and needed more pies, Leslie and Darcy decided to abandon their other catering efforts and focus exclusively on pie. Operating under the name of Pie Junkie, they quickly established a strong wholesale business in the Oklahoma City metro. In addition to providing an exclusive pie to S&B called the “Hot Mess.” they also began baking a signature Italian Cream pie for Pizza 23 and providing pies for other local eateries including The Paramount OKC and Coffee Slingers.
Three years later, they began discussing the possibility of opening their own storefront. “We really took our time, we are not quick decision makers. We had built our name recognition. It was the right time,” Leslie explains. “It was just time to put on our big girl pants and launch out there in our own space.”
Moving to the Plaza
When looking for a location for their new storefront, the pair sought a retail space with a large kitchen space and a small dining area. The perfect location was found in the Plaza District, a commercial district with an artistic flair located inside the neighborhood on NW 16th between Classen and Penn. “The Plaza District has transformed in the last few years,” Darcy says. “We have spent time here eating in the restaurants and shopping in the stores. It is such a wonderful neighborhood and the neighbors have been so welcoming.”
Both Darcy and Leslie are thrilled to be part of the new energy and renewal taking place in the Plaza District. “Everyone is committed to the Plaza and to local business. We understand that collective success means individual success,” Leslie continues. “Everyone can just be who they are down here. There are artists and retailers and we’re the moms who have a pie shop. We are who we are. We just welcome people to come in and have a slice.”
Setting up shop in the Plaza District was a quick process. Only five months after signing the lease, the two opened the doors of Pie Junkie on May 10, 2013. “We opened our doors during the monthly Live on the Plaza event,” Darcy recollects. “In our first night, we sold over 700 items and had a line out the door.”
Since then, Darcy estimates that they produce approximately 275 pies each week. “Lots of people who work in the Plaza come by and take a slice of pie back to the office,” she says. “On Saturdays, we see lots of people stopping in to have a slice of pie and just enjoy time with their families. We love looking out in the dining room and seeing folks just talking and enjoying themselves.”
Pies for Every Taste
On any given day, visitors to Pie Junkie can find a wide array of signature pies, cream pies, nut pies and fruit pies. The menu includes Macadamia Key Lime, Almond Joy, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Orange Pecan, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie, Peach Blueberry and Lemon Cream—and the pies available for purchase change daily. “People can’t get enough of our Strawberry Rhubarb,” Darcy adds. “It’s been very popular.” Darcy’s favorite is the “Drunken Turtle,” a baked fudge pie topped with chopped pecans and salted bourbon caramel. Or, leave off the bourbon caramel and enjoy it as the “Sober Turtle” instead.
Full-sized pies serve about eight people and are $18 each. Individual slices are $4 each. The store offers a “HappyPi” hour Tuesday–Friday from 5:00–6:00pm, where individual slices are $3.14. All pies are available for special order with 48 hours notice by calling the store or emailing email@example.com. “We offer 20 different types of pies and can make what you want with just a call,” Leslie adds. In addition to their dessert pies, the store offers savory pies including several flavors of quiche and “take and bake” pot pies.
Balancing Baking and Babies
Darcy and Leslie collectively have four children, who are basically growing up together. “Our kids are the same age and have always been together,” Darcy explains. “We kind of operate as one combined family. Even their extracurricular activities are coordinated!”
The two are very forthcoming about the challenges of operating a successful business, opening a new storefront and raising children simultaneously. “It’s not perfect and it probably won’t ever be,” Leslie admits. “Our husbands have been great about stepping up during our first few weeks and our kids are excited about the new store. Our ultimate goal is to be able to work our schedules around our kids. I wake up every day trying to figure out the best way to find the balance between work and being a mom. Every day is a new day and we just continue to do the best we can.”
The Future of Pie Junkie
With their first month under their belt, the pair are focusing on perfecting their store, their menu and providing exactly what their customers want. “We are both kind of perfectionists,” Leslie jokes. “We aren’t hasty decision makers, so it will probably take us the next five years to figure out where we want to be in five years.” But regardless of how their culinary endeavors expand, they are certain that their story will continue to revolve around pie, family and staying local.
“Pie is just very Oklahoma,” Leslie explains. “Everyone has a pie story and a favorite pie they love. I can’t even imagine not making pies now. It is just part of who we are.”
1711 NW 16th Street, OKC
Why did you choose the name “Pie Junkie”?
“We were trying to think of something that captured what we are doing, and we wanted something fun and memorable. We love the idea of pie junkies being out there, people who just love good pie.”
What do your customers say most often?
“Most people comment on the unique concept behind our store. There isn’t another pie shop in town.”
Anyone who hangs around your store might hear some special Pie Junkie vocabulary. What does “wongly” mean?
“Wongly is one of Darcy’s favorite culinary terms. It means the pie is still shaky, needs to set up and go back in the oven for a bit longer.”
Brooke Barnett is the Assistant Editor and Online Content Manager at MetroFamily Magazine.