The most popular person at last year’s Thanksgiving party was the girl who brought a Rager Pie in hand. And she wasn’t the only one who turned up with a Pumpkin Pie or some kind of sweet dessert, but after sampling through everything, Rager was all anyone talked about.
What is Rager Pie? When did it open? How did she know about it? Is she friends with them? How can we get more?!
Along with everyone else who was lucky enough to snag a bite before it was devoured, I was hooked.
It was love at first bite
Since that first brief encounter, I never forgot about Rager Pie. Though I’ve seen and tasted more of their pies since Thanksgiving (thanks to fun community events like JUE 觉 Creative Market and Farm to Neighbors Organic Market), I had yet to visit their storefront on Fensiting Hutong (next to Zhang Mama, just west of Fangjia Hutong after crossing Andingmen).
Pie Master Wilson Hailey (L) & Barista/Ice Cream Genius Jeremy Wood (R)
LDS: What is your earliest pie memory?
WH: Thanksgiving. Chocolate Pecan Pie. 30+ family members. Pies are generally tied to holidays and gatherings and dinner parties, and thus emotionally nostalgic. I love that aspect of what I do.
LDS: Tell us about the best pie you’ve ever had.
WH: That’s hard to say. I recently visited my brother in Maine, and he made me a vegetarian version of my Frito Pie Pie. It was an awesome surprise, and that sentimental value so tied in with pies may make it the best I’ve had.
LDS: What inspired you to create Rager Pie?
WH: At first, it was friends pestering me into it since they couldn’t get their hands on affordable, quality, American pies during the holidays. But really, it started in earnest last September once I realised my old Rager Pie inbox was filled with requests from strangers, and that there may be something to this crazy concept.
LDS: What is your mission for Rager Pie?
WH: I suppose we should come up with an official Mission Statement. For me personally, I hope to not only bring more pies to the expats in Beijing and more pie awareness (my new favourite phrase) to the Chinese market, but also to create a space where people can walk in and feel comfortable enough to chat with strangers. That’s the main appeal of having such a small space — bringing people together, and over pies and coffee no less!
LDS: Where does the name Rager Pie come from? And your logo?
WH: Well. I used to live in your classic Beijing hutong bachelor pad — 2 stories, rooftop patio — which was aptly dubbed the Ragerhaus. That’s where this all started, and the name just stuck.
LDS: What sets your pies apart from other pies?
WH: We use whole wheat crust. It throws some people off because they expect the average flavourless fluffy nonsense. Whole wheat adds a texture and a depth of flavour that’s much more difficult to attain with your average pastry. We use vodka in all our crusts. One of those “tricks from grandma” that makes things a lot easier. We source local and organic when possible and feasible, although we refuse to use that as a selling point because it’s too misleading these days with all the marketing hype behind those words, and there’s no way for all our ingredients to be local or organic. Suffice it to say, we use the highest quality ingredients we can get our hands on. This is my business and my reputation at stake after all.
That Crust Though…
LDS: A lot of your crafty pie names sound like they come from inside jokes. Can you fill us in on the stories behind “Empie儿”, “NTKo Banana/Coconut Cream Pie and “Chicken is a Color” Pie?
WH: Empie儿 (Empire) was the name chosen from a whole slew of punny pie names (Your Pieness, Pie in the Sky, etc.). NTKo is a sophomoric joke. It stands for “Not That Kind of”. I’ll let you fill in the rest. Chicken is a Color is more embarrassing. “Red is a Color” was the filler text on a menu design I had purchased, so we used “Chicken is a Color” as a proxy name, but, unfortunately, had to go to print before we could decide on something better.
Rager Pie Contact Details:
- Address: West of Andingmen where Fangjia Hutong turns into Fensiting Hutong. Fensiting Hutong #10 (neighboring popular Zhang Mama Sichuan restaurant)
- Tel: + 86 18600031390
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.ragerpie.com
- Daily Hours: 7AM-9PM (but closed on Wednesdays!)
Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.