The smell of sweet cinnamon-sugar-coated apples and buttery crust fills the hot air, and oven smoke rises to the ceiling making itself known in the beams of light cutting through the room.
Just like grandma’s kitchen.
It’s difficult to find anything that makes your heart melt and your belly warm quite like a slice of grandma’s pie. But you just might get lucky and find it tucked away in the neighborhood of Berry Hill.
In a sweet one story pale blue house with big windows and black shutters on Columbine Place, The Loving Pie Company is serving up made-to-order pies, savory or sweet.
You’re greeted upon entry by electric teal wainscoting with a stainless steel countertop and employees donned in bright bow-ties. A cake stand displays a heart box filled with an assortment of miniature pies.
Menus stand on a small painted shelf to the right of the entrance. A chalkboard listing specialty lattes hangs above it.
The walls from the original house floorpan remain, separating the shop into three separate seating areas. Each room painted a different color. Yellow, red, blue. The colors are warm and inviting. Framed baking measurements hang on the wall.
Valentine’s Day decorations dangle from the ceiling and a banner stretches across the window in the back room. Dark wooden chairs with red leather seats fill the room surrounding each small square table edged in chrome.
Patty Loveless’ “I Just Wanna Be Loved By You” trills in the background.
There are no doors to the kitchen so you can catch a glimpse of mixing bowls and dough-filled pie dishes.
It’s easy to feel at home.
The shop opened its doors in October 2012 by way of owner and chef Suzanne Loving.
“I’m more of a pie person than a cake person. There’s something nostalgic about it, something comforting, and you don’t need a special occasion. You can have pie everyday,” Loving said. “Cake is so celebratory. You get cake for your birthday or cake for anniversaries or retirement parties, but pie you don’t need a reason. You can have it everyday if you want to; we’re certainly not going to question your judgment if you want pie everyday.”
Loving gained an interest in cooking when she first moved to Nashville from Portsmouth, Va. and started working at Williams-Sonoma as a product demonstrator. Working with the tools and learning about different cooking techniques inspired her to attend culinary school.
She spent two years at the Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville where she earned her degree and grew a love for baking and pastries.
Working towards opening the sweet and savory shop, Loving worked her way up from cook to general manager at Diana’s Sweet Shoppe and later became the executive chef and food services director at Brentwood Baptist Church.
Being a big fan of pie, she noticed that it was a niche that hadn’t been filled in Nashville. So entirely on her own, with no loans and cash only, Loving opened Nashville’s first pie place.
Part of her vision was that The Loving Pie Co. would be a full service restaurant with table service and menu options. A place where you can sit down and have coffee, lunch, dinner or dessert.
Enter savory pies.
“I wanted this to be an experience; I wanted this to be a destination,” Loving said.
She wanted it to be a pie place.
Some of her lunch or dinner options include veggie pot pie, shepherd’s pie and even a mac-and-cheese pie.
The Loving Pie Co. also offers an array of options for both the dessert pie lover and the coffee lover including red velvet chess pie, chocolate pecan pie, apple pie and a variety of espresso drinks. With vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, the pie company caters to everyone.
Mary Elizabeth Latch, an employee of the shop since October of last year, said most customers are interested in their more unusual menu items like the coconut custard pie.
“Why not? That’s a question we ask ourselves a lot. Red velvet chess pie? Why not? We’re going to keep going and making up fun stuff,” Loving said. “We have a bacon latte. Why not? We like to have fun and that kind of shows through our product and our service.”
The coconut custard pie is Loving’s go-to, but the red velvet chess became one of her top sellers.
A deep burgundy and topped with a swirl of whipped cream and chocolate shavings, the smooth red velvet chess pie melts in your mouth. The flaky crust tastes wonderfully buttery and balances out the super sweet of the filling. With its perfect chess pie texture, not too firm and not too thin, this twist on a southern classic is a success.
The recipes are all her own.
Except for one.
Dating back almost 100 years, Loving uses the chocolate chip pie recipe from one of her friends’ great grandmother, tweaked a little of course.
Now open for a year and a half, the small blue house has attracted a number of regular pie eaters, some that go everyday and others who prefer their pie on specific days of the week.
That’s some dessert dedication.
“When some of our regular customers bring their parents and grandparents, that’s a huge compliment. I mean, bringing your grandma to eat pie? That’s huge. I can’t even explain how much we appreciate stuff like that,” Loving said.
The Loving Pie Co. is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. It shouldn’t take much convincing to give it a try.
“Cool people come here, cool people work here, and it’s pie and coffee,” Latch said.