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Pie maker Shut Your Pie Hole plans to set up shop in Georgetown, marking the return of the Connecticut-Copperthite Pie Company to the city where it’s got nearly 125 years of history.
Mike Copperthite, 56, great-great-grandson of Co Co Pie Co.’s founders Henry Clayton Copperthite and Johanna O’Neil, is heading the retail pie revival with the help of 13 family members.
Georgetown Patch reported that Shut Your Pie Hole debuted Saturday at Taste of Georgetown, selling over 800 slices of pie and donating all the proceeds to charity. Those 120 pies, though, are nothing compared to the 50,000 sold daily in Co Co Pie Co.’s early 20th century heyday.
Copperthite is finalizing a lease for a Georgetown flagship shop and won’t disclose its location until the deal is complete, but the pie maker has already begun limited catering and wholesale. At some point in the future, Copperthite envisions a mobile phone app where customers can place “smart orders” and pick the desserts up at pie wagons near Metro stops around the city.
As far as the shop’s cheeky name, Copperthite says, “old people hate it and young people love it. It’s whimsical.” Despite the fresh title, inspired in part by the District’s tendency to draw pundits and talking heads, the family is using artwork from 1909 to keep Co Co Pie Co.’s history part of the narrative.
According to the family, company founder Henry Copperthite learned baking trade skills working in delivery for a Connecticut baked goods company. It wasn’t until his 1870 honeymoon to D.C. that he and O’Neil discovered the seemingly perfect place to start a business of their own. Eventually, factory locations expanded from several in D.C. to others in Baltimore, throughout Virginia, Memphis, and Omaha—until the empire became part of the Ward Baking Company, now Hostess Brands.
Will the company’s original recipes have the same success as they did at the turn of the century? Copperthite isn’t worried. Competition, like Pie Sisters in Georgetown, doesn’t faze him, as he claims that Shut Your Pie Hole’s are “the second best pies you’ll ever have”—second only to those remembered from childhood. For the best of the second best, he recommends the blackberry pie.
“It’s about more than pie,” says Copperthite, “It’s a unique American story.” Curators at the Smithsonian Museum of American History seemingly agree: An original wagon from the Co Co Pie Co. can be found in the museum’s collection.
Photos via Mike Copperthite