Photos and Words by Alix Hines
Clearly Marie Antoinette had never tried a scrumptious sliver of Proper Pie when she said, “Let them eat cake.” Proper Pie is located in a quaint area of Church Hill, [2505 E. Broad St.], just down the street from the historic St. John’s Church.
When I entered Proper Pie, the excitement of pie lining what I call “the pie tower” in the front of the shop, overwhelmed me as I stared at the menu trying to pick a pie. I made it to the register, still undecided, but the cashier gave me a recommendation for my first of three pies. I quickly started and began working my way through the vast array of pies.
Proper Pie offers both savory and sweet pies, and I suggest having both. I started with a savory pie: steak, mushroom and blue cheese after a recommendation from the cashier.
The savory steak, mushroom and blue cheese pie was similar to the taste of beef stew. I know you must be wondering, ‘What about that weird blue cheese?’ Well, I’m not a fan of blue cheese and didn’t taste even a hint in my pie. The crust was browned to perfection and one bite of this savory pie is enough to have you hooked. I will certainly return for another!
If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, Proper Pie has a few vegetarian options as well. The “Pie-dentification chart” will help you choose between vegetarian/vegan, white meat or red meat options. This will help any first timers because the selection was overwhelming at first.
As we ate, the line began to grow, wrapping around to the door of the shop. By that point we were ready to move onto sweet pie. The line was helpful because we ran into a cute couple who knew a lot about Proper Pie. Every pie we inquired about they told us what they thought of each slice. These two were no doubt frequent customers because they could critique nearly every pie we were considering.
I tried the Treacle Tart pie first, which is apparently Harry Potter’s favorite according to a Proper Pie employee. I didn’t get it at first, but if you’re a Harry Potter super-fan you’ll know that Hagrid makes treacle fudge in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. As for the pie, at first bite, it tasted somewhat like a fruitcake. It wasn’t bad, probably not my first pick, but the flavor grew on me. The texture was similar to the filling of a pecan pie. The part that threw me off from the beginning was the strong citrus flavor. Treacle tart pie consists of butter, citrus and golden syrup. The waitress described it as, “eating sunshine.”
The second pie, with an interesting name no doubt, Shoofly, I bought for my roommate to try. I’ll admit that the sweet, welcoming smell of cinnamon seduced me into trying a tiny bite. It was delicious rich molasses, brown sugar, ginger and cinnamon. The waitress said this pie is also known as a “wet-bottom” because the crust of the pie often barely visible because it is buried under large amounts of filling.
Proper Pie is the go to place in Richmond if you want any type of pie. There’s limited seating but everything can be ordered to-go. Due to the popular demand for Proper pies there is a pie limit of six savory pies and 4 sweet slices per person. Their Facebook page is great for seeing which pies will be available each day.
Proper Pie is definitely a long walk from campus, so you’ll probably want to catch a ride with a friend or take the bus. It is, however, a short 9-minute drive down Broad Street.