Savory pies are trending in Chicago restaurants

That’s right, pie for dinner.

Photograph: Erica Gannett
Hoosier Momma Pie Co. Pork Apple Sage savory pie.

It was born out of desperation. At last year’s Green City winter farmers’ market, Paula Haney, chef-owner of Hoosier Mama, ran out of things to sell. “We looked around and we were like, ‘You know, we have pork!’ ” Haney says. So began the pork-apple-sage “supper pie,” with browned pork breakfast sausage from C&D Family Farms in Knox, Indiana, baked with caramelized onions, potatoes, apples, mustard, crème fraîche, sage and parsley in the same famously flaky crust Haney uses for her sweet pies. “It’s a convenience food, but you don’t feel like you’re eating something developed in a lab,” Haney says of the appeal of the savory pies, whose flavors are developed by Hoosier Mama’s Allison Stout. But Haney also attributes the popularity to an overall resurgence in artisan meats, reflected in new butcher shops like the Butcher & Larder, where the beef for her beef-and-stout pie comes from. Joining Haney this spring are three newcomers to the pie scene: Darius Williams has opened Uptown Pie Company inside his shop the Cupcake Gallery, and his menu is a mix of sweet (key lime) and savory (creamy chicken and artichoke). Meanwhile, a strange coincidence is bringing two savory-pie companies to Bridgeport, where Art Jackson and Chelsea Kalberloh-Jackson plan to open Pleasant House Bakery this week. For Jackson (the chef at Bijan’s Bistro), the concept traces back to his grandmother: “For decades,” Kalberloh-Jackson recalls, “she told him, ‘If you ever open a restaurant, you should sell pies!’ ” The shop’s specialties are savory “Royal Pies”—steak and home-brewed ale; seasonal vegetables like leek-and-mushroom—and Cornish pasties (pronounced “pass-tees”), empanada-like hand pies whose classic filling is skirt steak with turnips or rutabaga. Just a few blocks from the bakery is the home base for Jay Sebastian and Carrie Clark’s Bridgeport Pasty Company, which will sell small savory pies filled with chard and béchamel, curried chicken and more from a food truck they hope will hit the streets in May.

Bridgeport Pasty
Hoosier Mama Pie Company
1618½ W Chicago Ave, 312-243-4846
Pleasant House Bakery
964 W 31st St, 773-523-7437
Uptown Pie Company
1319 W Wilson Ave, 773-334-5450