+ By Christine Fillat + Photos by Karen Davies
Dangerously Delicious Pies is a pie company with an enticing name and a cute logo: a pie with crossbones, much like a pirate flag. One wonders what makes these pies dangerous in their deliciousness and whether they are they truly dangerous and delicious.
In November 2020, Christopher and Kimberly Miller opened the Annapolis branch of Dangerously Delicious Pies at 212-214 West Street. Opening a pie shop in the midst of a worldwide pandemic took something more than courage. That something is what legends are made of. Maybe it springs forth from under the melodic missives of a six-string guitar—perhaps Dangerously Delicious Pies’ superpower is rock and roll.
The company’s originator, Rodney Henry, is a Baltimore pieman of Food Network and Food Network Star fame. The macho, tattooed rock and roller who sports a rakish porkpie hat has pie memories reaching back into his childhood, when he was about six years old, to a family reunion in Indiana. Everyone brought a pie. There were fruit pies, savory pies, pies covered in tea towels, pies in woven baskets. Not all of them were good; some were sublime. “What I do remember really distinctly,” recalls Henry, “is the fact that everybody was super passionate about their pie.” Young Henry had a lot of pie that day. He specifically remembers apple pie and Bob Andy Pie, a custard pie with a caramelized meringue on top. “I call it a white trash crème brûlée” he says.
Growing up, spending summers at his great-aunt and great-uncle’s farm in Minnesota, he reminisces about days spent working at the farm, fishing, and great, Norman Rockwell-esque dinners with lots of family, food, and, yes, pie. “My great-uncle Kern was a big Swedish dude . . .You know, you work hard, and then you eat hard . . . That’s where I sort of got hit with baking pies. And I never really thought about it for a long time . . . [And] it finally got to the point where I just started baking them for people. Mostly for dates, you know?”
He would show up at a potential girlfriend’s door with a freshly baked apple pie. “You always go with a pie that you’re super confident with,” says Henry. “Apple pie is a really good judge of somebody’s pie prowess. I’d go with that. I’d bust out blueberry pies, too, but mostly, my go-to was apple, back then.” Apparently, wooing with pie works, for girlfriends and music lovers.
Henry’s true love is rock and roll. For years, he toured with the Glenmont Popes, a Maryland-based band, singing originals and playing guitar. He’d take pies on gigs to give to friends and sell at the merch table. Eventually, pie became more lucrative than music. Now, the pie shop supports his rock and roll lifestyle. “The whole idea of pie was to take care of music, and it’s kind of working out that way,” he says. “Most of time, you get pie to share with people, and that’s the coolest thing. You get a pie, and usually it sparks up a conversation. You know, cake, you get a piece of cake, you eat it, it’s done. Pie is like, ‘Aw, you made a pie?!’ It’s, like, something real Americana about pie, you know? Folk and folklore.”
Henry shares his pie shop empire with other owners, such as the Millers, through licensing agreements. Christopher has worked in the music management business, managing bands and clubs for over 20 years. Most recently, he was chief financial officer for IMP, the Washington DC-based independent concert promotion and production company. When the commute between home in Centreville and DC became a drudge, the siren song of Dangerously Delicious Pies lured him. Christopher approached Kimberly with what she calls a harebrained idea to open a pie shop in Annapolis.
Kimberly knew what Christopher was in for. Her family owned McConnel’s Fun Food, a fast-food restaurant on the beach route in Denton. She worked there every summer, from eighth grade through college. Her full-time job at the Maryland General Assembly keeps her occupied most of the time, and she understood that a pie shop would require full-time devotion.
Christopher trained with Henry extensively for many hours, and perfected the crust. “Once you get the crust down, you can do so much with the pie,” he says. “I think that’s a testament to our menu, between the sweet pies and the savory pies. We have a pretty wide array of offerings, even though we’re just pie, and we’re always looking to add some creativity and think outside of the box, too.”
There’s a certain amount of joy to owning a pie shop, much like a rock and roll show. “A rock and roll show, you would work, from load in to load out. You build the whole day getting ready. You open doors, and when the headliner goes on, the look on the masses’ faces is a rush,” says Christopher. “When you work hard, you’re here at 6 a.m. and you’re baking pies, and the crew’s getting ready. You open doors, and someone has a slice of pie, and you see the smile on their face, it’s the same rush. There’s nothing better than that. That’s worth everything.”
The Millers are looking forward to the day when their pie shop can offer a full dining experience, with an expanded menu of more than pie. They want to host more open mic and trivia nights. Avid fans of the Premier league—the English Football League System—they’d like to share that interest with the public. And for the Fourth of July, “We’re going to make it a tradition here in Annapolis, we’re going to have an annual pie eating contest,” promises Miller.
Are they dangerous? They’re definitely delicious. See for yourself. No, don’t just see. Taste for yourself, and you can decide just how rock and roll Dangerously Delicious Pies are. █
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