Great New Places to Eat 2018

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Kira O'Donnell Babich prepares the butter dough for her signature crust—used in pies like this peach variety—in a special room at the bakery set at a constant 62 degrees Fahrenheit. (Photos by Jeremy Sykes)

Real Pie Company

The smell of freshly baked pie lingers in Kira O’Donnell Babich’s fond memories of childhood trips to her grandparents’ farm in Humboldt County, where she would pick wild blackberries with her lumberjack grandfather, and her grandmother would then turn their bounty into the classic dessert.

“There’s just something about pie that makes people feel cozy and comforted,” says the local baker, who cut her teeth at Alice Waters’ famed Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse. Now, after a 10-year hiatus, she’s relaunching the Real Pie Company with her husband Fred Babich in its new home along the Broadway Corridor. At 3,400 square feet, the rustic space, with its warm, butter-yellow walls and reclaimed wood communal tables, more than triples the size of O’Donnell Babich’s original spot at the corner of 12th and F streets, which she opened in 2007 and closed just one year later to spend more time with her children. “Pie has been the one common thread through everything in my life and it feels so good now to do this full time [again],” she says.

Real Pie Company's pear galette with fruit poached in gewürztraminer and zinfandel wines, which baker-owner Kira O'Donnell Babich plans to offer in the fall.

Real Pie Company’s menu features 10 to 12 scratch-made baked goods—think tarts, cakes, galettes and, yes, pies (available whole or by the slice)—and savory items like chicken pot pie or ham and vegetable quiche that rotate seasonally and feature farm-fresh ingredients from local purveyors like Twin Peaks Orchards and Full Belly Farm. Our favorites include the jumbleberry pie—a sweet, zingy blend of blackberries, cherries, wild blueberries and raspberries resting between O’Donnell Babich’s signature, flaky butter crust—and the decadent butterscotch banana cream pie, piled high with clouds of whipped cream.

And just in time for warmer weather, the bakery will soon serve up pie shakes—half slices of pie blended with Gunther’s vanilla, buttermilk, cinnamon or caramel ice cream—making deciding where to go for dessert this summer as easy as, well, you know. —Tori Masucci Cummins

2425 24th St. 916-838-4007.

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