The Pie Hole – one of the newest additions on Ninth Street occupying a corner space in the bottom floor of the Solis apartment building – hopes to satisfy both sweet and savory cravings for the crust-centered delight year-round.
“We offer a variety to suit every palate,” says vice president and owner Surelyne Lee, who owns the shop with her husband and Pie Hole Durham president, Young Lee. To immerse yourself in the full experience, start with a custom-blended, fair-trade drip coffee or an espresso drink paired with a breakfast hand pie. There are sweet options like guava cheese or strawberry lavender (a personal favorite), but if you prefer savory, try the bacon hash or chorizo, or go straight for a quiche. For dessert, order a custom coffee cocktail, like a Horchata Latte with a shot of Bacardi, and a slice of Mexican Chocolate pie, which is made with Callebaut chocolate that is infused with pasilla chiles, cinnamon, espresso and orange, and then is topped with homemade espresso whipped cream. Other customer favorites include Mom’s Apple Crumble, Salted Caramel Pecan and the classic Key Lime Pie. Again, if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, the potpies are a filling meal, stuffed with either chicken and cornbread, mac and cheese, a veggie chili or shepherd’s pie ingredients.
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“Because freshness is crucial to us and because we don’t use preservatives, if a customer needs a whole pie, we request a 48-hour notice,” Surelyne says. The Pie Hole also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner catering for events.
“We use quality ingredients,” Surelyne says. “From the Granny Smith apples in Mom’s Apple Pie to the pure, grade-A maple syrup that we use in the Maple Custard Pie. You won’t find commercially made fillings in a tub or bag anywhere in our kitchen.” The bakers – including Chef Chris Herbert – also make and roll out the butter crust by hand. “We deliberately put [in] a window so that customers can see into the kitchen and see how we prepare everything,” Surelyne adds. “Some pies also take time to produce. Our Cereal Killer, Mexican Chocolate and our Earl Grey Tea pies require over 24 hours to make the filling since we infuse the flavors into [them].”
The intent to create a great product is also reflected in the build-out of the space, with beautiful woodwork handcrafted by Bull City Designs – the reclaimed wood on the walls came from an old tobacco barn in Wilson – Pie Hole logo signs created by McCorkle Signs and the mural on the back wall painted by Fisher Graphic Arts Inc. Durham-based Net Friends provides IT support and Jacobs Glass custom-fabricated the glass work at the counters. “We love the community where we chose to set [these] roots, … [and] wanted to keep as much of our support in the local community as well,” Surelyne says, adding, “Young and I wanted to create a space that is welcoming to everyone … from the college students studying, to the families with children, to adults looking for a place to gather. Our vision was a diverse mix where everyone would feel comfortable.”
Pie … need we say more? OK, well, it’s a locally owned pie shop franchise specializing in sweet and savory pies – the classics plus a few experimental options and seasonal offerings; specialty coffee drinks, like nitro cold brew coffee, as well as wine, beer and cocktails; muffins, hand pies, quiches and salads. “We have a mixed green salad with housemade buttermilk ranch or balsamic vinaigrette, Asian ginger slaw, southwestern corn and black bean salad, and a citrus kale and quinoa salad,” Surelyne says. “The salads are made in-house [with] my personal recipes.”
Because the menu changes seasonally and is even subject to change daily – everything is made from scratch, and they bake just enough for the day’s sales – you can’t always guarantee your favorite will be available. Best to check Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on the menu, as well as any upcoming events.
About $2 to $8
Photography by Briana Brough