Mike Johnson, chef-owner of Sugarfire Smoke House, will showcase his esteemed pastry chef, Carolyn Downs, at Sugarfire Pie, set to open two doors down from the Olivette location this October.
Downs has been baking desserts for Johnson for more than 15 years. She began working as Johnson's pastry chef at the former Cafe Mira, then Cyrano's and Boogaloo. It was at Cyrano's two years ago that Johnson and Downs decided they wanted to open a “barbecue and pie place.”
Sugarfire Smoke House now boasts three locations in the St. Louis area, and Downs is the pastry master behind their decadent desserts. She specializes in pie, but not just any pie. What Sugarfire customers know her best for is her “crack pie,” reminiscent of a sugar pie but with brown sugar instead of white for a better caramelization and richer flavor. Downs is also behind Sugarfire's smoked chocolate chip cookies, where the sea salt is smoked for a burst of savory flavor in the otherwise sweet cookie.
Sugarfire Pie will ensure that Downs has the space to not only create desserts for Sugarfire Smoke House, but to get creative in the kitchen and sell what she does best out of her own space. Her pies will come in all flavors, including seasonal releases as well as unique creations like triple-layer pie - “I can stack any three pies,” says Downs – gooey butter pies, pies baked inside a cake, hand pies, whoopie pies, and pop tarts, to name a few.
The future home of Sugarfire Pie will take the place of the L'Ecole Culinare Academy lunch spot. When Johnson saw it was available and even came with a hood system already in place, he jumped on it. The pair will transform the small space into a 1950's-style bakery where pies are viewed fresh on the racks and customers can watch Downs do her thing behind the counter in her open kitchen.
In addition to pie, the new space will have soft serve custard with a wide variety of toppings, including more unique toppings to match Sugarfire's unique takes on barbecue. In fact, Downs suggests buying a slice of pie, then crumbling it on top of your soft serve.
According to Johnson, Sugarfire Pie will open to the public mid-October and will serve not only whole pies but pies by the slice, individual desserts, and the aforementioned soft serve.
“I've always done [Johnson's] desserts, and our original idea was simple and straightforward,” says Downs. “I started [my career] baking pies so it's neat to come back to what I started doing.”
Sugarfire Pie, 9200 Olive Blvd., Olivette, 314.997.2301, facebook/com/sugarfirepiestl
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