(Photos courtesy A la Mode Pies)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The West Seattle Junction’s pieshoplessness will soon be over: A la Mode Pies is expanding this way.
Proprietor Chris Porter just signed the lease for a prime spot in Junction 47, facing SW Alaska just east of California.
A la Mode will be the first pie shop in The Junction since Shoofly closed almost two years ago.
It will be the second café/bakery for A la Mode Pies, joining the Phinney location.
We talked with Porter by phone to get the scoop on what the café will be like.
Pie, of course – “15 varieties, available by slice and whole pies – also petite pies, Pie Babies, LolliPies” – special types of mini-pies that are exclusive to A la Mode – “homemade quiche every morning, savory products down the line …” Some gluten-free offerings. And ice cream, too – a new, exclusive-to-A la Mode brand. (Here’s A la Mode’s current menu.)
The West Seattle café will be about twice the size of A la Mode Pies’ Phinney location, around 2,000 square feet – see the layout in this PDF.
“There’ll be counter seats along the front window, a large bar inside that people can sit at … this is really designed to be a community meeting place” as well as a “dessert experience.”
And yes, everything will be baked on site. “We’re designing it in a way that really celebrates what we do best, which is pie, so the actual process of making pie is part of the design – (customers) will be able to see bakers making pies in front of them. … All our pies are made the same day they’re (served and/or) delivered. … Come September, which is when we’re opening, that whole block is going to smell like apple pie.”
It’s an experience for your senses beyond taste and smell, Porter notes: “Pie is nostalgic, reminds us of our childhood. Everyone has a rich history where pie has touched them in some way.”
But this isn’t going to be just a homey little café. It’ll have a kick. Porter is planning late hours – likely (though it’s not finalized) 8 am until “at least 11 pm or midnight … because I’m also going after a liquor license, for beer, and wine, and boozy milkshakes. … We do pie shakes, essentially a couple scoops of ice cream and half a slice of pie, all kind of blended together. We’re going to add liquor to them and take it one step further.”
Going even further than that – Porter will not just be happy to serve you, he’ll be happy to teach you how to make your own pies. He’s been doing that weekly at the Phinney location. While customers’ pies are baking, they get to taste three varieties, and “they leave with pie they made, a pint of ice cream, a cookbook, and a very full stomach.”
Porter is a former journalist who grew up in Seattle and describes himself as “one of those scrappy home cooks that just had a big idea … the fact that I’ve been able to pull it off to this degree is exciting, and lucky. I’m thrilled to be able to come to West Seattle.” A la Mode Pies started as a delivery business before Porter opened his Phinney café in 2011 (which baked 1,000 pies last Thanksgiving season, by the way).
Again, he’s expecting to be open in The Junction in September.
SIDE NOTE: Jason Miller, broker for the Junction 47 spaces, says they’re fully leased. What’s on the way includes, as previously reported, Kizuki Ramen and The Lodge Sports Grille; Starbucks and Bishop’s Barbershop have already opened. More updates ahead!
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