Kira O'Donnell, a former pastry specialist at such restaurants as Auberge du Soleil in the Napa Valley, Original Joe's in San Francisco and Chez Panisse in Berkeley, is opening The Real Pie Company in Sacramento.
As the name suggests, she primarily will turn out fresh, seasonal, butter-crust pies capitalizing principally on local produce from small family farms. But she also will make galettes, crostatas, cobblers, crisps and tarts, as well as some savory pastries like chicken pot pie.
She hopes to open The Real Pie Company, to be in a historic building at 12th and F in the Alkali Flat neighborhood, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but concedes that that timetable may not be realistic.
Why pies? "I have had a lifelong love affair with pies - there's just something special about them. And they make people happy," says O'Donnell, who for the past 10 years has been a food writer for Sacramento Magazine.
She learned her pastry skills on the job, starting at Auberge du Soleil while she was earning a degree in winemaking at UC Davis. Her experience at Chez Panisse, however, most influenced her pastry style. "The style of desserts I made there are exactly what I want to make at The Real Pie Company - seasonal, produce-focused, rustic, honest and made
with first-rate baking ingredients."