Many folks in the restaurant business come from other careers, but Debra Every may be the only former bond trader and opera singer to open a pie shop.
Every, who launched Me-Oh-My Pie Shop & Café in Red Hook in May, says she was singing in Stockholm with the Royal Opera one long-ago Thanksgiving when, desperately homesick, she decided to bake her own apple pie. “I couldn’t get it to work — the ingredients were just different there,” she says. And somehow, that failure stayed with her. So when she retired from singing to raise a family and grew “bored out of my mind,” she returned to baking.
She started as a pie and cookie wholesaler about three years ago working out of her Rhinebeck kitchen. Then the business took off. Her thin-crust chocolate chip cookies were voted “best dessert” at 2009’s Taste of Rhinebeck, so she opened the café.
Befitting her worldly past, she says her café is not your typical county pie shop. “I’m told it seems very European,” she says, with its mahogany counters and pendant lamps. Tables and couches seat up to 19 people to enjoy her top-line espresso accompanied by a slice of cranberry, sour cream pear, chocolate pecan, plum, banana cream, or coconut cream pie.
She uses local produce whenever possible — “I buy from the farm stands up the street,” she says — along with fresh butter, sugar, and cream. Her lunch menu includes quiches, pot pies, soups, sandwiches, and what she calls “bites”: small slices of freshly baked baguette with toppings like Angus beef and caramelized onions or grilled zucchini with goat cheese.
“I never thought I’d be starting my third career, at 57, in a new business, with no experience,” she says. But it may turn out to be her favorite career.
Me-Oh-My Pie Shop & Café. Firehouse Plaza. 7466 S. Broadway (Rte. 9), Red Hook. 845-835-8340. Open Wed.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Loafing around: Crumb’s fresh-baked babka is an eastern European treat
Tanner Townsend and Victor Lucio met as students in the Culinary Institute of America’s baking and pastry program several years ago. They spent the next few years in various parts of the country honing their baking chops, and then ended up together again at Babycakes Café in Poughkeepsie.
“After we’d been back in the area for three or four years, we both realized there were no traditional bakeries here that focused on handmade breads, cakes, and pastries,” Townsend says. So they found a vacant storefront on Main Street in Beacon, across from Hudson Beach Glass, renovated it to accommodate baking equipment and ovens, and launched Crumb this past August.
“We want to be the Hudson Valley’s full-service bakery, where everything is made on-site, from scratch, with real ingredients and no preservatives or additives,” Townsend says.
He and Lucio have focused on artisanal breads so far. “We already have regular customers coming in for their weekly loaf,” Townsend says. “The community got a sense of what we’re doing and the word spread quickly.”
Seasonal pies and cakes are being added for the holidays, he says, and eventually they will offer a full line of pastries, as well as soups, salads, quiches, and sandwiches.
He describes the café as “modern comfortable,” with table and window seats for 12 customers. Crumb also has a growing wholesale business, supplying goodies to several restaurants and organizations in the area, including the Vanderbilt and Roosevelt estates, Poppy’s in Beacon, and others.
“It’s been great,” Townsend says, “We have really been welcomed here. We feel like we are part of the community already.”
Crumb. 157 Main St., Beacon. 845-765-8080. Open Mon. & Thurs. 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; Fri. 7 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. (Closed Tues.-Wed.)