Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023

Easy as pie

Area eatery sends pies to Ohio Senate

By Leslie Gartrell
Submitted Photo

Pullman Bay Restaurant made 60 pies for the Ohio Senate's opening session today, including numerous pecan pies.

CELINA - Ohio Senators today will be treated to 60 pies from Pullman Bay Restaurant to kick off the Senate's opening session.
Owner Mandi Bruce said Pullman Bay was asked to provide desserts after Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, reportedly sought to highlight mom-and-pop eateries from across District 12 to feed legislators for the day. The district includes Mercer, Allen and Shelby counties, as well as parts of Auglaize, Darke and Logan counties.
Bruce's son Kyle, 22, took up the mantle as lead pie baker to handle the massive order after Donna Andrews, head baker at the restaurant for 18 years, left on Dec. 23.
"My first week was preparing for that 60-pie order," he said Monday. "It was a little stressful, but I think I handled it."
Now, after three weeks of preparation and 10 hours of baking, Ohio senators will get to sample Pullman Bay's cherry, rhubarb, apple, black raspberry and pecan pies.
The Bruces said baking 60 pies under normal circumstances is no short feat, but baking 60 pies after the busy Christmas season and a new lead baker made the task more demanding.
"They called a couple months ago and inquired about pricing and our ability to do it, so we were semi-aware that it was going to happen," Mandi Bruce said. "It was different because we just finished a decent sized Christmas pie order, so we were kind of depleted. (Kyle) really had to step up, learn the ropes real fast."
Submitted Photo

Racks of Pullman Bay Pies wait to be transported to the Ohio Senate on Sunday.

Before taking up his new role in the kitchen, Kyle Bruce said he used to wash the windows at the family restaurant. Mandi Bruce took ownership of the restaurant from her father, Mike Wagner, in March 2022.
"Very, very few people get to come through and see the Pullman Bay pie making process," Kyle Bruce said. "So to be so involved in it… it's been an honor."
Mandi Bruce said she was tremendously thankful to the community for their continued support throughout the years and for making Pullman Bay's pies so loved.
"Just a colossal thank you to the community for supporting us the way they have. Without that, we wouldn't be known for our pies," she said. "That the state Senate would place an order here… thanks to the community, and thank you for trusting us since we've taken over."
Submitted Photo

A variety of pies were sent to the state senate, including rhubarb, apple, cherry, black raspberry and pecan.

Andrews previously shared some of her pie-making secrets in a 2021 Daily Standard article.
A basic pie crust calls for flour, cold water, salt and fat, whether that be butter, shortening or a mix of the two. Andrews at the time said she makes pie crust with shortening.
Pie dough is temperature-sensitive and needs to be kept cold before baking to prevent the fat inside from melting. One trick Andrews had suggested was using ice water in the dough as a way to keep it cold. She said the dough should feel like a fresh ball of playdough when finished.
Andrews had said she uses aluminum tins and porcelain pie dishes to bake the pies. She also had said she starts baking her pies at a high temperature and then reduces the temperature for the remainder of the baking time.
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