After a year spent selling pies on the weekends at Findlay Market, the founders of O Pie O knew they were ready to chase their dream and open a pie bakery. As the team continued to grow, brothers-in-law Lou Ginocchio and Ian Sobeck began brainstorming a brick-and-mortar shop. The pair built on the reputation they earned from Findlay Market and opened O Pie O in Walnut Hills in 2015.
Now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the team is serving up pie in a new location, designed specifically for today’s dining climate. On August 28, O Pie O opened its second shop in Over-the-Rhine at 32 East 13th Street, near the corner of 13th and Walnut.
“2020 calls for a new form of hospitality, centered around convenience and trust,” Ginocchio said in a statement. “At O Pie O, comfort is our guide. From our menu rooted in childhood classics and grown-up riffs, to our new OTR store’s design as a hot bakery with grab-and-go and take-and-bake goods, we show how much care goes into each item our guests enjoy. After all, what’s more comforting right now than pie?”
The team began designing the grab-and-go hot bakery concept before the pandemic started. When COVID-19 came to Cincinnati, they had to close their dining room at the Walnut Hills location, which allowed them to test out the grab-and-go concept.
“It showed us that [grab-and-go] was a viable business model, when people are not going out as much and certainly not dining in as much, and are looking for safer alternatives,” Ginocchio says.
At the new storefront, visitors can expect a streamlined experience with grab-and-go and take-and-bake pies and baked goods. Regulars of O Pie O will see many old favorites, including hand pies, pot pies, Honey Vinegar Pie, and seasonal fruit pies.
A variety of galettes, popovers, biscuits, and gluten-free baked goods will be exclusive to the OTR location. Salads and beverages will also be available in a grab-and-go cooler, and a selection of doughs and pot pies can be found in the take-and-bake freezer.
Keeping with the design of the Walnut Hills location, the new store has a warm and cozy feel of a pie shop. Dark wood shelves, white brick, and black accents contrast with natural lighting showcasing the baked goods. Visitors can also admire the wrap-around display counter’s tiled front, which mimics a lattice pie crust.
The OTR shop allows for more seating than Walnut Hills, with 20 indoor seats and 20 outdoor seats in a shaded courtyard. While indoor seating is not yet available, O Pie O plans to open outdoor seating within the coming weeks. “[The patio is] large enough that we feel we can provide a safe environment for people to enjoy,” Ginocchio says.
As the pandemic continues, Ginocchio says he is proudly continuing to employ his team members, some of whom may not be eligible for social benefits or unemployment. Furthermore, O Pie O has been drafting a pandemic policy that outlines their goals during COVID-19.
“Opening an independent restaurant during a pandemic is a unique challenge and an opportunity,” Ginocchio said in a statement. “I am so proud of our team and grateful to our Walnut Hills customers whose support has given us confidence to open in Over-the-Rhine as a carryout and grab-and-go bakery. It is rather extraordinary to be able to open our doors with a menu and service model in which we can not only survive a pandemic, but also potentially thrive.”